Auburn student Nathan Johnson takes Halloween almost as seriously as he takes helping others. Johnson, who turns 12 next month, is a 7th grader at Auburn Middle School. He and his mother, Kristy Manning, have been hard at work creating a ‘haunted basement’ in their Reithel St. home that they will open to the community on October 26.
Visitors won’t have any trouble finding the home – just look for the extensive outdoor display at 12 Reithel St. “We’ve been doing this for a few years” says Manning. “It keeps growing and growing. About 90% of the display I made from scratch” she adds. The price of admission is one non-perishable food item per person. All the food will go to the Auburn Youth and Family Services food pantry.
This is the first year the family has hosted the haunted basement. According to Manning, the idea to turn it into a food drive for AYFS was all Nathan’s. “He’s very community-minded. He has a big heart” says Manning. She adds that this past Easter, Nathan made Easter baskets for AYFS to distribute.
While the haunted house is designed to give visitors a good fright, Manning says it will be appropriate for all ages. There are about a dozen family and friends who will be “actors” for the haunted house. Visitors can tell the actor at the entrance if they have younger children who would prefer a more timid experience. “We’ll have the actors wave instead of scare, turn the scary sounds down, that kind of thing” she says. “But the younger ones will still have a fun Halloween experience. She recommends the “scary” walk for visitors 10 years and older.
Visitors should also note the event is “enter at your own risk.” There will be use of strobe lights and fog machines, and some areas will be dark.
For donations, Manning says AYFS is looking especially for non-perishables such as cereal, juice, low-sodium soups, and other heart-healthy canned items. She says 50 families a week visit the AYFS food pantry, but going into the holiday season that number can increase to 170.
Manning also mentions that there has been a Facebook page set up called Auburn Holiday Displays. Updates and any other information will also be posted there.
What: Haunted Basement
When: Sunday, October 26
Where: 12 Reithel St., Auburn
Admission: 1 non-perishable food item per person