An old metal building that looks like it came straight out of Freddy Krueger’s back yard is the sight for what some call Tyler’s number one haunted house.
For 36 years now, the Tyler Jaycees haunted house has thrilled Halloween enthusiast for a good cause. The near month-long event raises money for programs such as the Easter egg hunt for the blind and various Christmas programs.
But don’t let the good cause fool you, because it’s here for one reason – to scare everyone.
The house itself has a number of rooms, each dedicated to a specific horror theme and are stocked with actors to bring the scene to life. Ranging from the movie Hostel to even touching on religious taboos, each is designed to bring back levels of childhood fear.
“I like helping my community, but I love (scaring people),” haunted house volunteer Johnathan Flores, a TJC sophomore graphic design major, said.
The actors that roam these rooms spend up to three months developing a character and planning just how to scare patrons. Sometimes it’s a throttling chainsaw in the face and other times it’s the old, unexpected scream directly in the ear. The fact is, these are veteran shockers using tested techniques.
One such actress is TJC sophomoreand education major Ryann LeVrier. To add realism to her performance, LeVrier says she thinks of tragedies in her family to provoke tears and gets extremely close to the patrons so they can see them.
For a few thrill seekers, the experience gets a little too real. It’s not uncommon to see someone running out of an exit on the side of the building every now and then while waiting in line.
Not everyone that visits the haunted house is the typical teenager looking to get scared. Newlywed Reason Dotson, who was still in her wedding dress, went through the maze.
“We were at the reception and I saw the Haunted House sign and I thought it would be fun,” Dotson said.
These actors and actresses have more responsibilities than just putting on a costume and scaring people. They also develop the theme of all the rooms and help design them.
“We put our heart and soul into this,” Tony Wright, Jaycees chair person said.
All of the workers are volunteers and most are high school students from various Tyler schools. Just to run the House for one night takes about 35 volunteers at one time.
Jaycees has been all alone in the business of haunting until recently. Terror Nights has come to Tyler and proclaimed itself the most terror filled haunt in the area.
Terror Nights is located at 816 E Oakwood St. and the Jaycees house is at 200 N Hill Ave. Both are in Tyler and end operation on Nov 1. Jaycees is open on Friday and Saturday and begin at 7 p.m. until everybody is gone. Terror Nights however is open at each weekend but occasionally during the week.