ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Visitors can expect goose bumps and chills down their spine as they are led through rooms revealing a Halloween mystery, created by the the eighth-grade students at Marion Middle School.
The eighth-graders are hosting a haunted house this weekend, but don’t be “scared” to give them money to tour it.
The class, which numbers about 45, is planning to use the money earned at the event to help pay for their class trip to St. Louis in the spring.
“We tell them they have to earn at least half their money by doing some kind of activity at school,” said Charlene Metcalf, inter-related teacher at MMS and one of the sponsors of the haunted house.
“Besides raising money, we’re hoping that they’re learning some sort of responsibility along the way and how to communicate with people,” she said.
The haunted house is scheduled for four days. The first two days were held last Friday and Saturday.
This weekend the house will be open from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on both Saturday, Oct. 26, and Sunday, Oct. 27, at 212 S. Coble, in Marion. The cost is $3 per person.
This is the fourth year the eighth-grade has put on a haunted house with the help of Metcalf and Todd Gordon, MMS principal and the originator of the idea for a haunted house as a money-raiser.
Metcalf said the haunted house has been a success from the beginning. At least 200 people a night have come through in the past.
During the first year, the event was held for two nights, but for the next three years it was open for three nights. Last year the profit ranged between $800 to $900.
“We’d like to top $1,000 this year if we could,” Metcalf said.
“Last year’s trip was about $110 per student.
“They need to learn that they have to earn their way there and there’s some people who have to earn all their money.
“There’s no other way they’re going to make it,” she said.
The students get credit for working at the haunted house.
They can decorate, bring tools and items for the event, participate in the video, or be involved with advertising with flyers and posters.
The eighth-graders also have the opportunity to help at other events to earn points. They can bring homemade food items or work at concession stands at football games, volleyball games and basketball games.
“They get credit for working, for bringing things, and we make those into points,” Metcalf said.
“So whatever profit we have, we divide that among the points. You get so many dollars per point and that goes toward the trip.”
Tim Richmond, owner of Marion Manufacturing and a parent of one of the eighth-grade students, owns the small two-bedroom house on Coble. Metcalf said Richmond plans to tear down the house after the event because he intends to expand his business.
Thrill seekers who enter the structure will experience a story that unfolds as they are led through the haunted house. First stop is the garage, to view a short video explaining the eerie events that took place in the home. The story line unravels to reveal the family was killed by an evil sister.
Brave visitors are led through a welcoming room as the guide begins the narrative. Guests then tour a sequence of rooms, including a mummy room, enmeshed in a maze of cobwebs; a coffin room, where a body is still kept unburied; a dark room, filled with bizarre sensations; and a kitchen where the deceased mother is still cooking-but just exactly what is she cooking?
Finally, the tour makes its way outside to the grave site, where the faint of heart must be wary and watch their step.
The students worked as a team to plan the event.
One of the tour guides, eighth-grader Ranell Schroeder, said, “It’s really fun decorating the house and coming up with ideas and it’s fun to scare people.”
Derek Vetter said, “I get to be with my friends and get to do something fun.”
Metcalf agrees with the students.
“We want it to be a fun experience, an entertaining experience and a money maker.”