Janesville31.9°

Limits placed on haunted house scares

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Carla McCann
October 22, 2007
— No self-respecting haunted house would be caught dead without a crazed chainsaw killer lurking in a dark corner.

The Aqua Jays Fright Factory and the Janesville Jaycees Haunted House are no exceptions.


But each of the Janesville organizations has taken care not to go overboard in staging their Halloween nights of fright.


For Dave Williams, who designed the Aqua Jays spooky theater in the old CB&K warehouse on Hyatt Street, Halloween is a night of haunting, not gruesome encounters.


“There’s nothing here that is too gruesome,” said Williams, who also is co-chair of the haunted house. “We want volunteers to be haunters behind the scenes.”


The old warehouse, with its grated windows and winding stairways, is haunting by itself.


Across the city at the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds, the Jaycees have included a mad doctor room in their theater that includes the surprise awaking of a pretty young girl played by Emily Monaghan, 15, of Janesville.


At first, she is seen lying on a table. But when visitors turn their backs to see the doctor’s handiwork, the girl moves silently behind them.


Her presence didn’t fail to cause a scream or two.


“We don’t have any (spare) body parts or anything like that,” said Thomas Clayton, the Jaycees 2007 haunted house chairman. “It’s all theater. We try to keep it as family friendly as possible.”


Williams and Clayton, however, have different perspectives as to what does and doesn’t work in the business of haunted houses.


“A real maze doesn’t work,” Williams said. “We want them (groups) separated. The scenes are small and close.”


The Jaycees Haunted House relies on its dark partitioned maze to add a touch of the unknown to visitors’ adventures into the world of fright.


“We try to get them lost as much as we can,” Clayton said.


Perhaps they’ll end up in the spider hallway or the room that shows the revenge of chickens against KFC king Colonel Saunders.


Limits as to what is acceptable for family entertainment have been enforced at both locations.


At the Fright Factory, where Joel Williams monitors the presentation on video cameras in a concealed control room and infuses the scenes with haunting sounds and laughter, scary takes the shape of spooks standing and waiting to shout or suddenly appear in darkened halls or rooms.


“A sudden fright always works,” Dave Williams said.


One of the Sunday night Fright Factory visitors, 19-year-old Jamie Muniz of Janesville, said he thinks the house on the hill is appropriate for young children.


“It’s not to the point that they would have nightmares afterward,” Muniz said.


He didn’t even flinch when a monster, played by Dave Williams, jumped out of the fortune teller’s table inches from his face.


But Tiffany Chesebro, a 19-year-old Janesville girl, did.


“Yeah, I screamed a couple of times when someone came up behind me,” Chesebro said.


IF YOU GO

The Aqua Jays Fright Factory: 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, through Tuesday, Oct. 30. Old CB&K warehouse, 201 Hyatt St., Janesville. Tickets are $8.


Jaycees Haunted House: 7 to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, Oct. 19-31, with the exception of Halloween night, when the house will be open until midnight. At the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 1301 Craig Ave., Janesville. Enter off Memorial Drive. Cost is $7.


TRICK OR TREAT!

Below are trick or treat hours for area communities. Those who want visits from ghosts and goblins should leave on their porch lights.


Rock County


Town of Beloit: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


City of Beloit: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Children are invited to parade down Grand Avenue during the Beloit Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Oct. 27. Meet at Horace White Park on Grand Avenue at 9:45 a.m. The Downtown Beloit Association will provide maps and bags as well as storytelling, hayrides and live music.


Clinton: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Edgerton: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Evansville: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Footville: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Janesville: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Milton: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Orfordville: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Walworth County


Darien: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


City of Delavan: 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. Afterwards, children who want to march in the Goblin Walk parade should meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Delavan Post Office, 335 E. Walworth Ave. The parade walks through downtown to the American Legion Hall.


Town of Delavan: 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28. The town will host a free Halloween party with treats and kids’ games from 3 to 6 p.m. at Community Park, Highway 50, Delavan.


East Troy: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27


Elkhorn: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Fontana: 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Genoa City: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Lake Geneva: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28


Sharon: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Walworth: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Whitewater: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Williams Bay: 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Green County


Albany: 5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31


Brodhead: 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31



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