Neighborhood haunted house scares up some oppositionThings will be a little less scary at 176th Street in Hammond Township this year. The Haunted House of Hammond, operated out of Tim Kraus’ family home, will not be held this year.
By: Laura Kruse, New Richmond News
Things will be a little less scary at 176th Street in Hammond Township this year.
The Haunted House of Hammond, operated out of Tim Kraus’ family home, will not be held this year.
On Oct. 2, Kraus said he received a phone call from the county letting him know that he would be fined if he hosted the haunted house this year. The county said Kraus’ property is zoned as a residential property but acts like a commercial property during the four weekends of the haunted house.
After finding that his only option was to move the Haunted House to a commercial location, Kraus set to work. On Friday night, he said there were three properties he was looking into. However, those last-minute options fell through.
The Haunted House of Hammond would have had its six-year anniversary this year. What started as a fund raiser for the local Girl Scouts turned into a year-round hobby for Kraus.
“I don’t hunt. I don’t fish. I Halloween,” Kraus said.
Kraus said he starts transforming his two-story garage during the first week of August. Set up continues until opening day.
This year, Kraus’ Web site for the event, www.hauntedhouseofhammond.com, racked up more than 1,500 hits. Other advertisements included posters all over the area.
When he’s not constructing the house, he’s purchasing new props, crafting up frights and attending Halloween conventions.
Kraus, a banker by trade, credits the Internet as his teacher in all things scary.
“The Internet is a great resource for learning how to build stuff,” he said. His wife, Kerrie, learned to do monster make-up by watching a professional at a convention.
“We learned through trial and error,” he added.
When all was said and done, Kraus’ family home was the scariest place in the area. It has been so scary, in fact, Kraus discouraged kids under sixth grade from participating.
With only some finishing touches left to do last week, Kraus’ haunted house was a little frightening already. Slamming doors and dark hallways gave the two-story garage a spooky feel, even with Kraus leading the way and the lights on.
New frights were up and ready to go this year. Money from area sponsors went to help fund a temporary shed outside his house for new spooks.
“We’re always trying to make it bigger and better,” Kraus said.
After entering the garage, the haunted house takes on a “haunted mansion” vibe, Kraus said.
Rooms have themes, like a library, a kitchen and kids’ rooms. Props and people would have been poised to pop out, and screams to pierce the air.
Along with the traditional frights, Kraus’ haunted house was full of motion sensors and pneumatic props. Volunteers watched the progression of groups through the house thanks to 24 night vision cameras. Depending on how far groups were, props were triggered.
Kraus said it typically took at least 25 people to staff the house. Volunteers were his family, friends and others interested in helping out.
Last year was the biggest year, he said. About 200 people stopped by each of the four weekends they ran it.
Net proceeds reached $3,500. All of it went to the Girl Scouts. Kraus took care of the approximately $7,000 cost to prepare and operate it.
This year, Kraus said they planned to raise the ticket price to $8 per person so there was more money for charity. He said they were thinking about starting a scholarship fund for theater students from area high schools.
Kraus said, “The Haunted House is just something I like to do.”