For a decade, the KTA Haunted House has offered up family-friendly frights, but this year it’s a nightmare.
The 10th annual haunted house returns next week with theme “The Nightmare Before …”
It is set to run from 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday at KTA Super Stores Puainako, 50 E. Puainako St. in Hilo.
The haunted house is free to enter, but donations of nonperishable food items will be accepted at the entrance.
A costume contest, open to all ages, begins at 6 p.m. on Halloween. Costumes must be homemade.
“It’ll definitely be spooky and creepy and fun,” said front end supervisor Tony Armstrong, chairman of KTA’s creativity committee, which leads the haunted house effort.
KTA’s first haunted house in 2010 “was an experiment,” he said.
Running the Creativity Committee “involved doing things that obviously were creative and benefited either our employees or our customers.”
At the start, the focus was more toward employees, “but over time the support for that started to wane.”
“In 2010, our committee said ‘let’s see if we can make a haunted house, because we knew that these walls go up every year for the Christmas trees and for fireworks, and it was just the matter of putting them up a few weeks earlier and we could build a haunted house.”
Armstrong said the first year drew nearly 2,600 people over two nights. The haunted house now draws between 6,000 and 8,000 people over four nights.
“Each year we would make more stuff to fill the space with different things,” Armstrong said.
It took about five years to make enough to fill the space, he said.
“Five years ago, we were actually able to have a theme, and so we’ve had a theme ever since.”
Armstrong didn’t want to give too much away about this year’s haunted house, which is made almost entirely of recycled materials, but said clues could be found in the signs hanging near the store’s entrance and on fliers for the event.
“Our haunted house, we don’t allow excessive gore or violence,” Armstrong said. “… So it’s not terrifying fright, although there’s creepy stuff in here, definitely. We’ll always have creepy, but we’ve balanced it with other things, too …”
That’s part of its attraction.
“I think our appeal is that it’s family-oriented, it’s not terrifying, but we’re still going to get you,” said Armstrong. It’s for “kids of any age and kids at heart.”
According to Armstrong, work on the haunted house begins in January.
Email Stephanie Salmons at email@example.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald