October 20, 2021

Chiller finds new house to haunt

Stock image/Metro Creative

Ghosts and ghouls will no longer haunt the Burch Building in Suggett Park in October. Instead, they’re bringing their scares to the Center for the Arts of Homer.

The center will host the Chiller Haunted House from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 25, 26 and 27 featuring a seance room and a screening of the 1922 horror classic “Nosferatu,” accompanied by a live score performed by The Magnetic Pull.

The haunted house has been located in Suggett Park in Cortlandville for several years, but had to find a new home this year because of codes issues, said Jim Coon, creator of the haunted house. In speaking with a code enforcement officers earlier this year, Coon was told to have a haunted house the facility needs a sprinkler system. The Burch Building does not.

The Center for the Arts does. Coon is a member of the community theater at the center. Ty Marshal, executive director of the center, said Coon’s need for a new location came up in discussion, leading to them making plans for the center to host Chiller.

“I’m really excited,” Marshal said. “The community that makes up the center has always talked about having a haunted house.”

The haunted house will not differ much from what people have come to expect at the Burch Building location. But with the full center available for the event, there will be a seance room — where people try to contact the dead — the showing of “Nosferatu” at 8 p.m. Oct. 25, and there will a live stage show on Saturday.

The stage show will run two to three times during the event, Coon said, so people have multiple chances of seeing it. A 10-foot statue of the Cardiff Giant will be on display, as well.

Usually there is a Chiller Haunted House kids night, but because of time restraints there won’t be one at the Center for the Arts. Instead, Coon said from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. will feature non-scary tours. No monsters. No scares.

Everything on display in the haunted house belongs to Coon. While many of the figures featured remain the same year to year, Coon said he spends about $700 to $1,000 each year creating the haunted house. He does have some sponsors that help.

“The dollar stores love me,” Coon said.

Time, however, does not. At the Burch Building, Coon would have a month to set up. But because of the center’s busy schedule, he’ll have about four days. Coon joked he’ll probably end up sleeping in the center to get everything done in time.

The point of doing the haunted house is to give people a fun time, Coon said.

Halloween has always been one of his favorite days of the year, but he didn’t always have the best Halloweens. Kids tended to cause trouble for him or other kids.

At 16 –– more than 30 years ago –– Coon decided to set up his own haunted house in his father’s one-car garage.

“I gave kids a place to go,” Coon said. “No threat. No trouble. No one stealing your candy.”

From there. his haunted house grew to what it’s become today.

Marshal said he’ll have to see what the community’s response is to having the haunted house at the center, but he hopes it will continue to be an annual thing.

“Come get scared, but you’ll never get hurt here,” Coon said.