The Haunted Shack scares for charity

The Haunted Shack has over 60 actors to scare those who enter. Photo Courtesy of: The Haunted Shack If demonic clowns creepily greet your vehicle in a parking lot, you might normally lock the doors and call the police. But tonight this is all part of the fun at the 18th annual Haunted Shack.

The Haunted Shack is held in the Morgan Park Community Center yearly and continually has dialed up the scares for its fans to raise money for the Special Olympics and raise food and clothing for the food and coat drive. Last year they took in over 900 coats and over 2,000 pounds of food and are hoping to do even better this year.

“It was the scariest thing that ever happened to me,” said 11-year-old Cullen Tranah. “On a scale of 1-10 I would give it a nine, with a 10 being the end of the world.”

The event is run by Pat Stojevich who started putting on haunted displays 34 years ago.

“My first display was a ghost on a stick with an old tape deck,” Stojevich said.

He has come a long way since then. The Haunted Shack is now a production that takes a whole year of work to put on. They now use over 60 fully made up actors, an overlay of 18 channels of sound which can pump out 5000 watts of power, 30 cameras, and this year added new low voltage computerized lights and a high tech laser display.

“The technical end of it is awesome,” Stojevich said. “We haven’t touched what we can do with it.”

Most of the 60 actors are local students from around Duluth. The city of Duluth made this its fall program which helps keep the Morgan Park Community Center open extra hours for the kids to take acting, make-up, sound, and lighting classes -- all taught by Stojevich.

Behind the scenes, the make-up trailer is filled to the brim with ghouls, ghosts, zombies, and demons as the wait to take their turn at scaring those brave enough to enter.

“Scaring people is the best adrenaline rush in the world,” said 14-year-old Brianna Wolf of West Duluth. “Once they leave you can laugh at them.”

“I like when people fall on the floor,” said 10-year-old Shelby Smith from Morgan Park. “I just did it to some old people (thirty-year-olds).”

The fun doesn’t stop for actors once the Haunted Shack is closed for the night.

“The best part is walking home,” said Brittany Beasley, 13. “I can walk up to random people and scare the hell out of them.”

The final night for the Haunted Shack is Saturday, Oct. 29, and the finale is the show everyone waits all year for – “Scare of your life.”

From 8:00-11:00 p.m. tonight, visitors will be grabbed, backed into corners, and more than likely end up wet. It is not for the faint of heart.

“You will probably be separated from your group of friends,” Stojevich said.

Friday was scary enough for eight-year-old Dylan Lanthier as he stands near the exit with his mom, waiting for his friend and sister to emerge from the Haunted Shack, hopefully un-harmed.

After they successfully navigate the Shack the attention turns to Dylan. His mom, too scared to go into the Shack alone, begs Dylan to come with. “Maybe,” says Dylan. He will only go if his friend Cullen will come to. Dylan finally relents and puts on his brave face as he leads his mom into the front door.

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