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The line was already forming by 7 p.m. in front of our house on Hudson Avenue. This was the start of my second Haunted House. Since I was 7 years old, I had wanted to create a haunted house for the neighborhood, so when I was 12, my mom finally said yes. I convinced five friends to help me the first year and since it was after the Tubbs, Nuns and Atlas fires, we decided to turn it into a fundraiser and raised over $800, which we donated to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund.

After the success of the first haunted house I thought to myself, why not do it again? In late August, I started asking my group of friends if they were interested. Starting on Oct. 20 my friends and I met on Sunday afternoons to design and discuss our planned spooks and scares.

Returning for the second year were James Gott, Dominic Pestoni and Henrick Wrede, with Josh Johnson and Jackson Neal joining for the first time.

We decided that we wanted the haunted house longer and scarier. Making it scarier was easy, but longer meant the course had to be outside. After weeks of hard work and set up, we had the haunted house ready. All we could do now was wait and spread the news. One popular thing we did was hand out fliers so people would know where the haunted house was, and to bring donation money.

Local pianist Carolyn Long played creepy organ music on our keyboard for an hour and a half straight for the people waiting outside. The music could be heard up and down the street. It was connected to an amp facing out the window.

The entrance was through our Dutch gate into a dark spider web tunnel that led to the back yard. There was a candlelit path through a graveyard, passing a scary clown on a swing. Our breezeway was made into a House of Horrors with a prisoner dungeon scene made out of wooden pallets and blood-stained window curtains that had a scary jump-out scene.

At the end, there were five hanging grim reapers against the wall, but one of them was real and would jump out at you as you passed.

We ran the haunted house from 7 to 8:30, with a line outside the whole time, and raised over $600. The money will be donated to fire related relief programs.

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Ewan Oliver is a St. Helena resident.

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