CLARKFIELD - Before several young visitors and their parents entered the haunted house Saturday at Clarkfield City Hall, Karen Barck had some words of advice to get over being scared.
"Have fun, get some candy, enjoy," Barck said. "No one is jumping out at you. Just get candy, that's the key."
It wasn't so frightening early in the evening, as the lights were on for younger children to trek through the maze of different scary scenes concocted by a trio of sisters and other volunteers.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Sharon Stevens stirs some “bile soup” for Carson and Isaiah Brusven Saturday during Clarkfield’s haunted house.
Some of the proceeds from the event went toward the Yellow Medicine County Relay for Life and the local food shelf.
Barck said her sister, Jeanine Satre, started the haunted house more than a decade ago. It originally was for the local Girl Scouts and now it's turned into a community event.
Barck, Satre and their sister, Laurie Laleman, come up with different ideas for the haunted house every year.
"It's a family affair really," Barck said.
The three, along with family and friends, spend the month of October, planning and building the maze for the haunted house.
"We were here every weekend this month," Barck said.
"We have to build walls with tarps and tubes," Laleman said.
It wasn't until the last week before Saturday that the sisters and others decorated the area with various creepy touches from a giant spider to bloody body bags to a witches' school.
"A lot of rummage sale finds," Barck said.
Bones and other items were used to create the witches' school.
"I've taught biology, so a lot of my old biology stuff goes in here," Barck said.
Laleman and Barck said they're sometimes crabby while doing all the prep work, but once the kids and adults come through on Saturday "it's fun the night of."
Kathy Kaupang and Nikki Melbostad were running the old western bar scene in the haunted house. Kaupang said she and her daughter came up with the idea after doing a mad scientist theme last year.
Dayna Johnson and her kids, Trevon and Tarah, were helping out at the haunted house for the first time, manning the "pirate room."
"It's been fun," Dayna Johnson said.
"It's always been fun and it's for a good cause," said Laurie Laleman's daughter, Heather Laleman. "I like decorating and coming dressed up and scaring people."
A voice from within the maze shouted "positions," as the volunteers scurried into their designated place in the haunted house.
Then the kids, along with their siblings, friends and parents, made their way through the haunted house.
"Ew, giant spider," Teagan Strand said as she eyed the big spider in one of the parts of the haunted house.
"It's cool," said Samuel Lanz.
Brothers Isaiah and Carson Brusven weren't too sure what to make of Sharon Stevens' "cafe" with such dishes as bile soup and blue blood stew.
"Aaah," Isaiah said as Stevens stirred the soup.
Barck estimates that about 100 to 150 kids come through the haunted house each year.
There used to be tour guides in the haunted house, the sisters said, but now, it's mostly self-guided.
"I like watching the kids when they're not afraid of Halloween," Laleman said.
But it's later in the evening that the sisters and volunteers look forward to the most.
"Later on is when we have the most fun," Satre said.