ST. CLAIR SHORES — Working in haunted houses and a love of Halloween have prompted two friends to bring a new experience to the city this month — the St. Clair Shores Halloween Tour.
Inspired by a similar tour in Clinton Township, the free St. Clair Shores event is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Oct. 27.
“It’s going to be a self-guided tour where we will provide residences throughout the city” that are decorated for Halloween, said Jessica Krutell, a lifelong resident of the city who said that Halloween is more of a way of life for her.
Combined, she and resident Bill Mlinac have more than 25 years of working in the haunted house industry.
“It all started when I was in sixth grade. I built a haunted house in my parents’ garage, and I charged $1 to do it, and I had a line going down the street,” Mlinac said.
He now owns Deadland Haunted House, which was located in Warren but is now looking for a new location.
Krutell said that she and other neighbors on Erben Street have put on a large event the past few years and have had 500 trick-or-treaters come through, so she wanted to expand upon that with the tour.
“Seeing the same families come year after year and seeing how much it means to them to have that as a tradition is really important,” she said. “It’s a nice feeling to get to feel (like) you’ve become part of somebody’s tradition.”
The pair are accepting submissions from around the city via Facebook message or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 13, and the official list of about 10 houses will be released the weekend of Oct. 27.
Krutell’s house on Erben Street is doll-themed and will include live actors during the event. She is one of them, as she portrays her character “Mildred” the doll.
“We’re encouraging some of the other houses, if the owner can be home, to talk about (the decorations) if somebody has questions,” she said. “They’re encouraged to have actors out too.”
Mlinac’s home is “skeleton attack” themed. He said that he really enjoys “old-fashioned Halloween fun.”
“I love the old-school-style Halloween,” he said. “That’s what I love about this event. We’re trying to keep that spirit alive.”
Krutell said she wants to inspire others to get into the spirit of the season with the tour.
“For us, at least, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not just one season or one day. I’m out shopping, and my mom is out shopping, year-round,” she said. “We’re always collecting and always adding.”
The rain-or-shine event is not for trick-or-treating; it’s just a visual tour.
“It’s about more than the candy. It’s about the spirit and the fun,” Krutell said.
Whether a house is accepted for the official tour or not, Krutell said she’s happy to be seeing more Halloween decorations popping up around the city. She’s encouraging everyone to have any Halloween décor and lights ready by that night so that tourgoers will find Halloween spirit on nearly every street.
“We’ve been able to inspire and spark the Halloween spirit,” Krutell said. “It’s nice to see that they’ve been inspired to get out and get decorating.”
Learn more at the St. Clair Shores Halloween Tour Facebook event.