BOO Scary!

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By Martin Steele

What’s worse than a bloody, demented clown on a tricycle?  How about more bloody, demented clowns with chain saws – real chainsaws!

Just ask any of the visitors who were brave enough to venture into the Hinton Haunted House last weekend.  Many of them can likely tell you.

Visitors to the Hinton family’s house of spooky, gruesome frights will likely remember their trip for a long time.  

Dark corridors led visitors through a house of horrors containing several rooms, all with frights waiting. Adding to the effects were strange lights, lots of glow in the dark paint, and plenty of weird and eerie sound effects.

Unsuspecting visitors barely had the entry door shut behind them before the crazed clowns with the chain saws popped up to set the nerves on edge. Then it was on to a darken room of glowing masks – except they weren’t all masks.

After that, there were rooms of strange creatures – including a mantis-like monstrosity that was about ten-foot tall. More dark hallways led to room that closed-in on visitors as hideous figures hanging on the wall blew their breath on them.

All that was left to get the exit was just a room with the bizarre clown on the tricycle, a caged zombie woman and some poor disemboweled victim of shoddy medical work.

But, the zombie cage was very defective and the zombie was out, the medical victim was on the loose and those bloody clowns with the chains saws showed up again.  Usually, the whole bunch was surrounding the often hysterical visitors.

It was enough to make a person scream. And, they did – often.

The thrills provided by the Hinton family are only around a couple of days each year and this Halloween season’s event was Friday and Saturday.

The family has been staging the haunted house for 22 years, said family friend Pam Ellingsworth.  It started with a local couple, Patricia and Chuck Hinton, and although Chuck has passed on, the couples children and now grandchildren keep the tradition alive.

It’s just the family and a few close friends that erect the house on the foundation of an old vegetable packing shed. They plan the rooms, the action, do the lighting, makeup and generally create the whole thing.  Family members even run a small food concession for the event.


It’s not done for any profit, Ellingsworth said.  What money is collected from the two dollars per person admission is used for expenses such as event insurance.


“We just want the community to have fun,” she said. “We would like to do it for free, if we could.”


Typically, 400-500 people will go through the house each night.  They are treated to scenes that are sometimes movie-themed and likely planned months in advance. The family starts building the sets about late September to early October, Ellingsworth said. They usually complete things about a week before the event so they can test the setup.


For Friday’s night of fright, there was a line of people – for the most, not single file – about 60-foot-long waiting for the house to open.  An hour later, after a number of scream-filled exits from the house, the line was just as long.