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The Big Kahuna of Fright
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Many of us set up Walk-throughs rather than exterior displays. We do externals, but the heart of our haunt is definitely the walk-through! the "Haunted House" itself. Different groups react in different manners, and each group is a unique experience. Some, not many, are reserved, quiet and cautious. But they still scream. Groups of girls tend to morph into a group hug as they move from room to room. Most are really appreciative of the show, but, over the years, I have had to cut the show short, 2 occasions, and say, "OK, Guys, that's enough," and ask them to leave. Some groups have actually stood outside the house and APPLAUDED after going through!
But two groups that we've had stick in my memory after over a decade.
The first were actually two groups of kids from a School for the Deaf. They came through with a teacher who translated the narrative of our host, Elvis Presley's ghost, into Sign Language. They of course couldn't hear the Soundtrack, but the reactions and the looks on those faces stay with me today. It was awesome.
the second memorable group also came through in two waves. It was a Samoan Mens Rugby Club, and they were all dressed in Drag! Not only that, but they went through the Haunt IN CHARACTER! Imagine a bunch of large (in some cases HUGE) transvestites, all shrieking falsetto! It was hilarious and everybody ended up laughing their asses off!

Anybody else have have any memorable guests?
 

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Super Moderator
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Many of us set up Walk-throughs rather than exterior displays. We do externals, but the heart of our haunt is definitely the walk-through! the "Haunted House" itself. Different groups react in different manners, and each group is a unique experience. Some, not many, are reserved, quiet and cautious. But they still scream. Groups of girls tend to morph into a group hug as they move from room to room. Most are really appreciative of the show, but, over the years, I have had to cut the show short, 2 occasions, and say, "OK, Guys, that's enough," and ask them to leave. Some groups have actually stood outside the house and APPLAUDED after going through!
But two groups that we've had stick in my memory after over a decade.
The first were actually two groups of kids from a School for the Deaf. They came through with a teacher who translated the narrative of our host, Elvis Presley's ghost, into Sign Language. They of course couldn't hear the Soundtrack, but the reactions and the looks on those faces stay with me today. It was awesome.
the second memorable group also came through in two waves. It was a Samoan Mens Rugby Club, and they were all dressed in Drag! Not only that, but they went through the Haunt IN CHARACTER! Imagine a bunch of large (in some cases HUGE) transvestites, all shrieking falsetto! It was hilarious and everybody ended up laughing their asses off!

Anybody else have have any memorable guests?
I know I've told this story before.

Our second year, 2005, really the first doing an actual HAUNT, not just me in the yard in costume (we moved in that first year in August, it's what I had time for), I met the girl that would change my haunting life.

I had the great big treat bowl set up in a tent at the time, with a dummy and a strobe. Simple. (looking back a little silly)



The rest of the yard was just a simple precursor to what was to come in later years.



Anyhow, I'm wandering the yard, we "only" had about 200 kids coming back then, so I had time to wander. And I was near the front of the yard when I heard a little voice behind me very sadly say, "oh, it's another house I can't go to." Taken by surprise, I broke character to go talk to this little girl (in a wheelchair) and her parents.

I offered to turn off the strobe, but she declined. "I don't want to ruin it for my sister." I was so touched I made her a promise right there that I would make sure the yard was BETTER in 2006, and SAFE. This spurned me to start researching on the web, asking around how to make such a thing safe for children who are effected. I was met with a lot of "don't bother" and "let the parents worry about that" attitudes from all over. (including epilepsy advocacy groups, surprisingly)

2006 marked a banner year. My first real serious build, first real proper walkthrough, first year epilepsy safe. Our numbers nearly doubled as well, and I was kept busy minding the bowl and watching kids. But, I heard an excited voice from down the street in all the commotion. "No, THAT one DOWN THERE!" Unheard answer from mom. "But he said he would FIX IT!" Unheard answer. "HE PROMISED!"

I met them at the driveway, beaming girl in a wheelchair asking if it was safe. I told her I keep my promises. Few kids have ever been that amazed. Her mom was brought to tears, the girl had been going ON and ON about it since I put up the countdown in early October, and they were terrified I would forget. She normally got so depressed in October, and another disappointment would be devastating.

2007, her school got wind, and brought 20+ kids over. All with special needs, none had ever been through anything resembling a haunt before. We SHUT DOWN and let them through, neighborhood kids MARVELING at this busload of kids in wheelchairs coming to my house. Many of the older kids waiting left their bags and became impromptu actors helping with labeled bags for each child's needs.

She died in 2008. But I like to think she still visits. The school comes over the night before for the pumpkin carving these days, and while I don't neccessarily NEED to keep the yard safe anymore, I still check with experts on what might be problems and fix them.
 

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Rutherford Manor Haunt
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Those are both great stories! UnOrthodOx good for you for taking the initiative to investigate the access needs of others.

Last season we had a family from England move into the neighborhood. They would pass by our house to walk their dog in the park behind us, during early October they began to monitor the progress of our set up. One afternoon the Mum came up to me and asked for permission to take pics so she could post them for her family back in England to see. I said no problem take as many as you want! Fast forward to Halloween she and her family came through the haunt and just could not believe someone would go to so much work for a holiday. They watched the kids in queue, and the growing lineup for quite a while; they left or so we thought. They had gone home to get their car, they picked up everyone they knew drove them to our house to go through the haunt. They made 7 unique trips that night to share the amazing haunted house in their neighborhood with their new Canadian friends. Every car load had a generous bag of Food Bank donations. And they would bring each car load over to us for introductions, each trip ended with big hugs from everyone! It was pretty cool and I we have gained 3-4 new volunteers for the 2015 season!
 
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