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Havre's Haunted Hotel terrifies visitors

 

October 22, 2013

Lindsay Brown

Hannah Coon helps Mille Loftus with her hair Friday evening as they get into costume for the Havre Jaycees Haunted Hotel.

The haunted house above the Havre Eagles Club opened its doors Friday to give Havreites a scare they will remember.

T.J. Daulton, a haunted house chairperson and member of the Havre Jaycees, said he has been helping with the haunted house for eight or nine years but would guess that the haunted house has been happening for 15 to 16 years; maybe longer.

"We've done quite a bit of work over the years," Daulton said. "We've been working for the past two months this year. ... The maze is longer than it has been in past years, and there's a lot of new rooms."

Kaylee Gooch, a daughter of members in the Jaycees Club, said she has been helping out with the haunted house for six years. On the haunted house's opening night, 13 people were working the maze.

"The closer we get to Halloween, the more people will volunteer," Gooch said. "They'll get more of a turnout the closer it gets to Halloween."

The Havre Jaycees and the Havre High School Band have been helping each other make the haunted house since Oct. 1, Daulton said. The haunted house is never fully taken down; only the lights and expensive items are removed every year after Halloween is over. Daulton said he and fellow Jaycees are lucky to be able to keep the decorations up between seasons.

"We try to change it around to make it scarier," Daulton said. "We try to beat ourselves every new year."

Daulton said people will, on average, take between 5 to 15 minutes going through the haunted house, depending on how jumpy there are.

"A lot of people look down," Daulton said about the jumpier groups of people. "That works to our advantage. If they don't see us, they can't get scared right? It doesn't work out."

This year, the Jaycees decided to change the direction of the maze to keep annual visitors guessing.

The haunted house is open from 7 to 9 p.m. from Wednesday to Oct. 31. Daulton said their hours may be longer on the weekends and Halloween, depending on how much business they get.

Entry is $5 or $4 with a non-perishable food item. Food donations go to the Havre Food Bank and proceeds go to the Koats for Kids Program from the Havre Jaycees.

The Havre Jaycees also organize Toys for Tots and other children-based charities.

The haunted house is above the Eagles Club and the entry to the haunted house is on 1st Street, close to the 2nd Avenue intersection.

Daulton thanked the community for helping out, the Havre High School students for coming and helping out and the Havre Jaycees, "even though it's our project, I just want to say thank you."

The Havre High School band helped construct the haunted house and could be seen throughout the maze, terrifying people.

Bethany Ordiniza and Millie Loftus were just two of the HHS band members working. They were found eerily singing and screaming in a dimly-lit child's room people braving the haunted house had to walk through.

Band director David Johnke said the band kids take it upon themselves to put in effort at the haunted house as a fundraiser for the band.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to work the maze can pick up a waiver at the haunted house before it opens, from 6 to 7 p.m.

 

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