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Building a Halloween tradition

For area teens, haunted houses are a seasonal favorite. But attending one of the larger local attractions sometimes comes with a bigger price tag. Haunted houses can get expensive, particularly if you're looking to go to more than one. Sometimes they also can be hot and overcrowded. You essentially have two options: Spend the money or don't.

However, a Clarence youth group from Our Lady of Peace Church decided to build their own haunted house. And so began a tradition of fear and frivolity.

This is the fifth consecutive year the house has been built. Preparation usually begins in mid- to late August, with construction starting in early September.

Each year features different contraptions built entirely by members of the youth group. Some old favorites include an electric chair, a fully operational guillotine, an elevator and a bridge with a person inside of it.

Under the supervision of Kristy Wind, it's an experience for all who are involved. However, it's not all fun and games; multiple hours of construction are needed to make the house a success.

"The kids are in charge of the project from start to finish. They design the house, build the set, decorate it and staff it," Wind says. "It is wholly theirs and they do an amazing job, considering some of our members are as young as 11 years old."

This year, the house takes on a new persona, playing on fear of the dark. In contrast to past years, the house will be silent the entire time (with a few surprises, of course). Only one group is allowed in at a time, eliminating the overcrowded, rushed feeling one might find at a larger house.

Though it may not seem like it, this haunted house is an attraction for the entire family. Younger children and those who are a bit wary can choose different levels of scariness.

"We try to accommodate people of all ages," Wind says, "so no one has to miss out on the Halloween experience."

This Saturday, the youth group hosts an event, from 3:30 to 6 p.m., in the parking lot of the church called Trunk-O' Treating. Similar to the Halloween tradition we all know and love, Trunk O' Treating is simply trick-or-treating, but instead of going from house to house, the kids go from car to car. The event will feature a bake sale, Halloween-themed games and a costume contest at 4:30 p.m.

Admission to the house is $3. All profits from the haunted house go to the Our Lady of Peace youth group. Haunted house hours are 7 to 9 p.m. Friday; 3:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Sunday is reserved for local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. If your troop wants to reserve a spot, email Kristy Wind at The church is located at 10950 Main St. in Clarence.


Danielle Grimm is a junior at Clarence High School.