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Hazel Park

October 3, 2012

Hazel Park opens ‘House of Fear’ to brave souls

Haunted house benefits animal shelter, Promise Zone

By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer

HAZEL PARK — With Halloween on the horizon, the pole barn next to the Recreation Center has once again transformed into the House of Fear.

The haunt starts outside in a cemetery and then weaves its way through 10 rooms and numerous hallways. Expect a morgue, coffins and all manner of ghoulish surprises.

The house is not appropriate for small children.

It’s a self-paced haunt, with several people admitted at a time. The house has become a tradition in Hazel Park, held nearly every year since 2005.

The architect of the experience is Tom Jones, the city’s DPW foreman. He and a core group of friends have been busy assembling the set and all of the scares therein.

“It’s a thing where once you’ve actually scared somebody, there’s a rush you really enjoy in a creepy sort of way,” Jones said with a laugh. “It’s been great — people just love it. They compare it to some of the larger haunts and tell us that some of the scares are better than the more expensive places.”

The whole event is operated by volunteers. Some of the rooms are black-lit or filled with fog and flashing strobe-lights. Jones said they play with people’s expectations.

“With the right placement of the surprises, you can be like a magician, throwing people one way when they expect it from another,” he said.

For Jones, crafting a self-contained world is something he loves creatively. It’s also nostalgic: When he was a child, his friend’s family would transform their home into a “spook house” each Halloween.

“You put a lot of heart into it,” Jones said. “This year, we started working in July to get ready for October. Granted, I work full time and handle other events, so it’s sort of an evening thing. With the Harvest Festival, it’s been quite busy in the city of Hazel Park, but it’s all for a good cause.”

Admission is $10 per person, helping pay for the next year’s House of Fear. A portion of the proceeds go to the Hazel Park Promise Zone, helping provide college scholarships to all graduating seniors at Hazel Park High School. Another portion goes to the city animal shelter, which is always in need of money for food and supplies.

City Manager Ed Klobucher is a fan of the House of Fear.

“I’ve already had a preview this year, and it’s going to be scarier than ever,” Klobucher said. “It’s an extremely well-done haunted house with a very reasonable price. I would encourage everyone to visit.”

Jones is looking forward to people’s reactions.

“People have literally peed themselves,” Jones said. “The way you know it is because they’ll tell their friend, and you’ll hear it: ‘OK, I just peed myself.’ We pack a lot of scares into our pole barn!”

The House of Fear is located at 620 W. Woodward Heights. Doors open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 5-7, Oct. 13-14, Oct. 19-21, Oct. 26-28 and Oct. 31. Admission is $10 per person. For more information, call (248) 542-0340.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at akozlowski@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1104.