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Popular Lakeville haunted house returns

October 26, 2011 - Oxford parents and kids looking for some Halloween fun this weekend don't have to drive all the way to downtown Pontiac to visit some pricey haunted house, heavy on gore and media hype.

For just $5 each, they can head over to Lakeville Elementary's Haunted House on Friday, Oct. 28 and receive a good, old-fashioned scare from 6 to 8:30 p.m., courtesy of the Parent School Council (PSC).

"You can't beat the price," said parent volunteer Lisa Kempner, who's been helping organize the ghoulish event for the last five years. "It's not overly gruesome . . . A perfect Halloween outing for the family."

Kempner indicated this year's haunted house "is loosely based on nightmares and fears."

"There will be the usual horror (movie) characters – Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers – as well as a twist on an old fairy tale and (an) Egyptian tomb room," she said. "The old fairy tale is (Little) Red Riding Hood, but in this scene, it is not the wolf that is the bad guy."

For younger kids who want to enjoy the haunted house, but not become too frightened, special "fairy godmothers" will be available to guide them through and keep them safe.

"When the actors see and hear the fairy godmothers, they know to not scare (the kids)," Kempner said. "It has worked out really well and we find that most of our students get to enjoy the haunted house this way."

For those visitors who want to be scared out of their wits, Lakeville PSC volunteers are working hard to keep the frights fresh.

"We try to change up the scares and the room scenes each year," Kempner said. "Ideally, students and parents alike will leave the haunted house thinking that it looked nothing like last year or the year before."

Kempner noted it takes "approximately 200 or so man-hours" just to set up the haunted house.

"This doesn't include the hours that the actors spend in it, clean up or the time spent on prep work (such as) making props," she explained. "With those numbers included, it goes up to around 400 or so man-hours."

All that work yields some truly spooktacular results.

"It ends up being a much more impressive event than you would typically expect from an elementary school haunted house," Kempner noted. "The first year I helped out with it, I was amazed. I honestly expected a few spiders, some cobwebs and an occasional monster jumping out and yelling 'Boo!' – not elaborate rooms and scenes that were thought out and really planned."

Around 40 middle school students and fifth-graders will put their acting abilities to use by portraying the haunted house's usual assortment of ghastly fiends, screaming victims and creepy inhabitants.

"We are lucky this year that there is no school that day, so we will have plenty of time to get the makeup and costumes just right," Kempner noted.

Lakeville Elementary's been putting on this event for at least eight years and it never fails to draw a sizeable crowd.

"I think the haunted house is such a popular attraction because it is a rarity in schools these days," Kempner said. "Last year, I was amazed to hear that there were some families from surrounding (school) districts that came to attend the event."

As always, all proceeds from the haunted house will benefit the Lakeville PSC.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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