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Halloween fun house labor of love for Tadmor Shrine

10/10/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Members of the Tadmor Shrine get ready to take a group of children on the haunted hayride at the Tadmor Shrine’s Haunted House for Kids in Coventry.
Photo courtesy of Chris McMahan
COVENTRY — The Tadmor Shrine’s Haunted House for Kids lets little ones enjoy things that go bump in the night –– and day.

“We may startle people, but that’s probably the scariest thing in there,” said Chris McMahan, of Green, a member of the Tadmor Shrine who has worked on the haunted house since it began.

The special event takes place over three weekends, starting today, Oct. 11, at the Tadmor Shrine, 3000 Krebs Drive.

It was McMahan’s late father, Bud, who came up with the idea for the house and helped get it started in 2007. Bud, who was a member of the Shrine for about 20 years, died from cancer just before the second season was to take place, his son said.

“He always enjoyed haunted houses, and he always wanted to do something for kids,” McMahan said. “He made up the walls and the layouts and built them in his yard.”

Since his father’s death, McMahan, his brother and their families have been involved in helping to stage the annual event, which raises funds to help run the Shrine.

“All we’re trying to do is keep the doors open,” he said of the Tadmor Shrine, which is part of Shriners International and supports Shriners Hospitals for Children, a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care.

This year’s haunted house will feature new exhibits and some old favorites.

“There are some that are back from last year and some that aren’t,” McMahan said. “We’re always striving to do our best.”

Visitors this year can see the Flying Saucer Crash room; the Carnival room, featuring a life-sized, bubble-blowing, grinning gorilla that plays music; a swamp room, complete with a swamp monster; two creepy hallways; a glow-in-the-dark bubble room; and other attractions.

McMahan said the volunteers make sure that fun, not fright, is the main idea of the house.

“It’s nonscary,” he said. “If a kid gets scared, the actor is instructed to take their mask off and talk with them. And we let the kids, if they want, to go through as many times as they want.”

Those who attend also can enjoy a hayride through haunted woods. Refreshments also are available for purchase. Games, a storyteller and a shop where children can find trinkets ranging from 50 cents to $3 also are featured.

“It is really geared toward the kids,” McMahan said.

The Haunted House for Kids is $10 per person and takes place through Oct. 27 on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. For more information, go to www.hallowfun.org.

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