While the kids are busy with costumes for Halloween, one Elmira adult is definitely having every bit as much fun. For the 12th year, DJ Carroll will be transforming his home into a haunted house for All Hallow’s Eve. And again this year he and his EDSS drama students will be putting a scare into visitors at the Great Pumpkin Party.
On the home front, this year’s theme is a zombie apocalypse, which means the front yard of 16 Sunset Place will be populated with the dead rising from the ground while military personnel guide attendees past the flesh-eating zombies and ghouls.
“All the guides at my house will be dressed in army gear and they will be helping guide the visitors through the zombie apocalypse making sure no one is attacked and bitten,” laughed Carroll. “The guides interact with the kids as the characters so that adds another dimension to the whole thing.”
Carroll is also supervising the haunted house planned for the Great Pumpkin Party to be held at EDSS today (Saturday). This year Carroll has left his co-op students Brett Schinkman and Christine Brown to set up and run the event.
“We are completely organizing the haunted house event and working as production assistants doing more of the backstage stuff, getting costumes ready, make up and fixing some sets and for the haunted house,” said Brown.
The two students will receive credits working alongside Carroll on the event and working this year’s school play.
“This is a great chance for me. I am usually acting and this lets me see more of the backstage workings,” said Schinkman.
The theme of this year’s Great Pumpkin Party haunted house will be a haunted Harry Potter.
“We are making it as if Hogwarts is haunted by some very scary monsters and our tour guides will be Hogwarts students and teachers trying to get rid of all the ghosts and ghouls,” explained Carroll.
The school’s haunted house will have characters that pop out and scare visitors rather than grabbing someone in the dark. It will be set up with different areas including a blacked out area where the kids will have to find their way through the darkness while another area will have a black light effect or even squeeze through small spaces.
“It is a mix of different scary things,” said Carroll.
The zombie apocalypse at Carroll’s house will be a little gorier, with blood, brains and flesh, but both haunted houses will have a safe version and a scary version.
A safe version for younger kids means the lights will be on and fun music like the theme to Ghostbusters will be played while the monsters dance while in the scary version the lights go down the scary music is pumped up and it’s no holds barred.
“We do get people who won’t go in. We get people who will chicken out halfway through, and we have people that just loved it and go totally for it and might even go in two or three times,” said Carroll.
Staging two haunted houses in the span of a week is a lot of work, said Carroll, and it has been easier having two students take over the one at the school.
Halloween has been Carroll’s favourite time of year since his own trick-or-treating days.
“For me it is the dress up: I love dress up. I am a theatre person, I love costumes, dressing up and acting,” said Carroll. “I have noticed that for the last several years Halloween has changed. People have stopped having fun. I think it is a great night, where people get to dress up in a costume and good out and have fun.”
Carroll said he appreciates the student volunteers that come out for the events.
“I have close to 60 teenagers giving up their Friday and Saturday to come put on a community event, and at my house I will have another 15 teenagers giving up their Monday night to come and entertain kids – it is just great to see.”
This year the Kin Club of Woolwich will be participating in the Great Pumpkin Party providing glow-in-the-dark bowling and a kid’s monster mash dance with skeletons.
The haunted house at EDSS will open at 2 p.m. and finishes at 4 p.m. with donations or canned food for the food bank are being accepted. On Halloween, Carroll’s zombies will be unearthing themselves at 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. and Carroll is holding another canned food drive.