It all started at Band Camp. Yup. Let’s digress…
Every summer, for about 10 years, I chaperoned our High School’s pilgrimage to Band Camp, up in the San Bernardino mountains, close to Big Bear lake. All four of my daughters were in the band, as part of the Color Guard Squad, and it was great fun, campfires, hikes and bears, you know, the whole shebang. It was one of those days, sitting around the parents cabins with the other parents and the Band Director that this part of my story begins.
I was wearing a “Terry Haunt” T-shirt, the Band Director was just sort of staring into space when he got a gleam in his eye and yelled, “I have an epiphany!”
He looked at me and asked me about my Haunted House. Are you still doing it? No. Why not? Well, it just got too big. And told him all the pitfalls we experienced the last few years. He said what would it cost to do it big as a fundraiser?
I started to plan. I actually spent a month planning, in fact. I developed a plan where each wall panel would support the next, and planned out a 30,000 square foot maze. 2000 sheets of plywood. 12 fog machines. about 300 black lights. Etc. It was a monster. But where would we hold this event?
Come to find out, the school associated with a man that did after school activities for underprivileged youth and he had access to a huge theater/recreation center in the middle of a local park. It also happened to be about 50 feet away form the stadium where we would be hosting a Band Tournament two days before Halloween. It was perfect.
We got a ton of donations, lumber, and building supplies, the costs for the building materials were almost naught. I supplied all of the effects, sound and lighting. We went to work. We called all the band parents to help us start putting this together, and it went really fast. We had parents putting together plywood panels and painting them all across our football field and the school, then transporting all that to the site.
We then had a different team on site erecting the maze with the panels. Out of nowhere, a guy like myself that did home haunts for about 10 years called it quits and donated all of his costuming and props to the cause. It was a major undertaking, and we were all ready to go….. until the fires came.
We had some major fires break out close enough to our location that the band tournament was postponed until after Halloween. The thousands of potential guests that we were counting on were no longer participants. We then reached out to the community and did massive advertising to salvage the event, and ran it for a couple of weeks at might leading up to Halloween. This first attempt at a large scale attraction was a bust financially, as we spent a ton of money putting it together with little return due to the circumstances, but personally, it soared! We had about 100 actors, a huge and very scary large attraction, and were set up for the following year to perform with minimal expense. Here is a few photos setting up “NIGHTMARES”, our first large scale Haunt.
NEXT YEAR…. PSYCHOSIS