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Lavin’s Flowerland spooks visitors for a good cause

By: Jennie Miller | Southfield Sun | Published October 20, 2011

 Lavin’s Flower Land has set up an elaborate and terrifying haunted house in its nine greenhouses for Halloween revelers to enjoy.

Lavin’s Flower Land has set up an elaborate and terrifying haunted house in its nine greenhouses for Halloween revelers to enjoy.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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SOUTHFIELD — It’s not for the faint of heart.

Those looking for a fright can head on over to Lavin’s Flower Land, 24620 W. Nine Mile, on Southfield’s southwest side. Nine greenhouses have been transformed into a terrifying trail open every weekend from 8 p.m. to midnight through Halloween.

“I’m pretty twisted,” laughed owner Sherry Lavin when describing some of the details of her haunted nursery. The Commerce Township resident said she’s well known by the neighborhood kids for the haunts she’s long created at her home every Halloween, and she’s excited to scare a new crop of fear-chasers. “It’s crazy scary — people cry, they (wet) their pants, they scream, and I high-five them and walk them out. You should experience it.”

The whole project is a community endeavor. It’s made possible through the work volunteers, and every penny of the profits goes to help children in need at Lutheran Child & Family Services in Oak Park.

“One hundred percent goes to the kids — we take nothing out,” Lavin said. “It’s all done by volunteers — we don’t pay any of the monsters. It’s 100 percent donated for the kids. It has turned out to be an incredible thing.”

Last year’s inaugural effort brought in $13,800 to purchase laptops for the children at LCFS, and Lavin said she’s already doubled those numbers this year.

“The community has really stepped up,” she said.

From college students to school teachers to church-goers and doctors at Providence Hospital, people have been coming out of the woodwork to donate props, don a mask or walk through the 20 minutes of haunted paths.

“It’s a good, healthy thing,” Lavin said. “It’s a great way to give back and get involved in the community, and we’re helping somebody.”

Shortly after opening her nursery in Southfield last year, Lavin learned of New Directions, a residential facility for children with cognitive impairments or psychological issues who have also been abused or neglected and have been removed from their homes.

“They’ve got a lot of things that are going hard for them, and we try to provide them as warm and nurturing an environment and still give them all the structure and services that will help them be successful,” said Dr. Stephen Nett, director of New Directions.

New Directions moved in right down the street from Lavin’s Flower Land in Farmington Hills, and as a welcome to the community, Lavin donated her landscaping expertise.

“She did a marvelous job in front here when we first moved in and she welcomed us to the neighborhood,” Nett said. “What she told me was that the community had been good to her in the first year, and she wanted to give back because she felt that the community had been an integral part of her success.

“She’s just a wonderful community partner, and it’s — the work we do can be really challenging emotionally, because we care for children who’ve been very, very hurt and are hurting, and when we have partners in the community who value this work and communicate that to us through supporting us, it’s uplifting to the kids and the staff and the whole organization. We’re extremely grateful to have someone who is as dedicated and as giving as she is.”

Lavin said it’s the least she can do when the community has been so receptive to her in the last year. And the children who live at New Directions deserve a second chance.

“These kids just need help,” she said. “All they need is love and a little bit of attention.”

“This is a very worthwhile cause,” Nett added. “These are the kids that are forgotten. … The families can’t deal with them or won’t or aren’t able. Their behavior is too difficult for a foster home situation, so they come to us, and we do as much as we can to help them belong in a way that helps them feel good about themselves and successful and begin to create their own future.”

Halloween is a time of year where people like to experience a scare and dabble in the macabre. Lavin is capitalizing on that interest and helping a good cause.

“It’s in the spirit of goodness, not in evil,” she said.

The haunted nursery is open 8 p.m. to midnight Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-31. For more information, call (248) 361-5945 or visit www.hauntednursery.com or www.lavinsflowerland.com.

 

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