WAYNE LAKES — Wayne Lakes Council Member Doug Barger would love for the haunted house the community is putting on this weekend to become a yearly tradition.
“It’s definitely a draw,” Barger, who also owns Doug’s Arcade in Greenville, said of the event. “It brings people in, and it gives them something to do that’s not expensive.”
In fact, admission to the haunted house – actually a group of interconnected tents and “spiderweb tunnels” located near the community’s gazebo – will be free of charge, though Barger is asking for donations to help support the event on his company’s webpage.
“The more we can get, the bigger the show is going to be next year,” Barger said.
The attraction will include several animatronic figures, as well as volunteers dressed as witches and other beasties.
“We are going to rely on some actors,” said Barger, “but our main goal is to use animatronics, and to build or acquire a collection of them that we can add to each year.”
Barger also wants their haunted house to be a family-friendly event.
“My philosophy about Halloween is to be more spooky, as opposed to gory,” Barger said. “Gore just gives you a repulsive feeling, but no payoff. Whereas something that’s frightening and spooky – that’s much better. So that is our goal.”
Barger said the haunted house will have a more traditional Halloween feel, and has been very meticulously planned and thought-out.
“Our haunted house will be more organized, and you will understand each room as you go through it,” Barger said. “Just because you have something spooky, that doesn’t mean you have to be random in how you approach it.”
Barger has been a fan of Halloween for many years.
“I used to decorate our garage several years ago, when our kids were young,” Barger said. “I even had a Jacob’s Ladder – it was 15,000 volts of fun!”
Barger plans to take over the entirety of the small peninsula near the Wayne Lakes clubhouse next year. His dream is that eventually the community might do a week-long Halloween festival, similar to the Bradford Pumpkin Show and other such events.
“I have something much bigger planned for next year,” Barger said. “Even though our show this year will be relatively small, size is not everything, Quality and enjoyment are more important. I would like this to be the model of what we can do if we had the resources and funds for next year.”
Barger is also planning a number of other fall-themed activities throughout the weekend, though unlike the haunted house, these are limited to residents of Neve Township, Wayne Lakes, and Fort Jefferson. Residents will begin carving pumpkins and decorating the community’s clubhouse Friday night, followed by a party featuring free food and hayrides on Sunday.
“Three hay wagons will be taking the kids door to door to trick or treat,” Barger said. “It’s an old tradition that they stopped for some reason, but I restarted it again about five years ago.”
Ultimately, said Barger, the success of this year’s event will determine what they can do in the future.
“If this year goes well, I intend to start planning for next year as soon as we are done,” Barger said. “That is how you have a prepared and awesome Halloween.”
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