Jeff LaBonte

Sunday night was ghoulish at 12 Reithel St. in more ways than one.

First, the good news.  About 200 visitors young and old attended the haunted house, set up in the Manning’s basement, according to homeowner Kristy Manning.  The idea, as we brought you last week, was the culmination of several years of expanding Halloween decor.  This year, 12 year old Nathan Johnson asked if he could do a community haunted basement, with admission being a non-perishable food item for the AYFS food pantry.

“He’s very community-minded,” said Nathan’s mother Kristy Manning last week.  “He has a big heart.”

Successful is an understatement, as the photo at left clearly shows.  In fact, the collections kept coming in even from people who missed the actual haunted house.   So much so, that the family has extended the collection through Wednesday, Nov. 5.  The Auburn Police Department even got into the act, with several officers providing a significant food donation of their own.

While the haunted house is done, people are still welcome to drive by and enjoy the outdoor display complete with lights, a graveyard, fog machine, and much more.

The haunted house tour itself was not a terribly long journey, but the time and effort put in was obvious.  A group of about 10 students assisted, serving as guides, actors and greeters along the way.  Some automated electronic devices added a bit of startle, even to those expecting something to jump out sooner or later.

 

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The bad news – sometime overnight, about a half dozen of the outdoor decorations were stolen from the Manning’s front yard.  More good news for the culprits- the Mannings are understanding and forgiving people.  They would just like the items returned to their proper place, no questions asked.

Such childish pranks are not uncommon, particularly around Halloween.  What the thief or thieves may not know is that Ms Manning handmade nearly all of the decorations.  The display has been growing for years, with many hours of hard work put into making it fun not just for the family, but for the community.

If anyone knows anything about these missing items, or perhaps sees them around town either encourage their return or call Auburn Police at (508) 832-7777.

Let’s hope those responsible have a grinch-like moment – or whatever the Halloween equivalent might be – and return these items unharmed so that others can enjoy and appreciate this community attraction in the week before Halloween.

Nathan Johnson poses with the haul of food items from Sunday night's haunted basement.  Photo courtesy Kristy Manning via Facebook

Nathan Johnson poses with the haul of food items from Sunday night’s haunted basement. Photo courtesy Kristy Manning via Facebook

APD manning

Detective Eric Dyson, Officer Daniel Dyson, Officer Keith Chipman, Officer Adam Gustafson and Officer Stephanie Segur pose with Nathan Johnson and his younger brother. Photo courtesy Auburn Police Association via Facebook.

 

 

One of the half dozen decorations stolen from the Manning's Halloween display. Photo courtesy Kristy Manning via Facebook.

One of the half dozen decorations stolen from the Manning’s Halloween display. Photo courtesy Kristy Manning via Facebook.