Elgin house set up to scare you out of your wits.
Byline: Elena Ferrarin firstname.lastname@example.org
An Elgin neighborhood has come together with volunteers of all ages to create its very own haunted house that is open to the public.
Brian Pinon and his wife, Christen Harvey, transformed their 2,000-square-foot garage originally a carriage house into a Haunted House on Douglas, which will have an "alien extravaganza" theme for Halloween.
It includes a maze of custom-built panels outfitted with an air compressor, elaborate lighting and fog mist. Aliens will hang from the ceiling and get examined at an autopsy table, and actors will do their best to scare the living daylights out of visitors.
Pinon and Harvey supplied much of the materials; Pinon designed the maze and Harvey worked on costumes. None of it would have been possible without the hours of labor put in by volunteers to build it and make it come to life with their acting, he said.
The couple hosted their first haunted house last year, when the theme was "hazardous waste" and about 800 kids came through simply based on word-of-mouth. It was such a success that they decided to make it a yearly tradition, Pinon said.
"Its been fun, even though it makes me anxious here and there," Pinon said of the pressure to do a good job.
K. Eric Larson, president of the North East Neighborhood Association of Elgin, said the project turned into a real community effort with volunteers of all ages.
"Its not easy to get kids involved in things. They could have said, Oh, it doesnt sound like fun," he said. "But it was very cross-generational. Everyone helped."
Pinon, who grew up in Detroit, said he and his wife have been throwing elaborate Halloween parties with "mini haunts" for about 12 years to entice his relatives to come visit. But contrary to what one might think, neither is a real fan of horror, he said.
"Oddly enough, I hate scary movies," he said with a laugh.
Haunted House on Douglas at 722 Douglas Ave. is open 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 4 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. There is a suggested donation of $1, with hot dogs and hot cider for sale. For more information visit the NENA Facebook page at facebook.com/NENAofElgin.