Riverside ready for another Hillbilly Haunted House

Staff Writer

On Friday, student and staff volunteers from the Riverside School District will help Dale Hanson and Debbie Skewis welcome visitors to the “Hillbilly Haunted House” in Chattaroy for a fourth consecutive season.
Thrill seekers can park at Ray’s Automotive before being shuttled up to “Grandpa’s House.” Once they set foot on the homestead, they will have the opportunity to appreciate unique character performances and innovative set designs.
All of the profits from the two-weekend event will be donated to support student activities at Riverside High School and Riverside Middle School. Last year, Hanson and Skewis were able to donate $1,200.
“The show’s pathway is redesigned every year. We retire some rooms, invent new ones, and it gets bigger every year,” said Hanson, the senior custodian at RMS.
Skewis has been a bus driver with RSD for 13 years.
In 1991, Hanson was bitten by the “haunted house bug” when he volunteered as a set designer at the Seattle Fright Gallery for 10 years. In 2016 the couple purchased their first set of props from a local haunted house to start their own show in an authentic rural setting.
In order to coordinate the practice and construction schedules for their 20-30 volunteers, Hanson and Skewis rely on Anna Brougher, an RHS special education and math teacher.
“The most rewarding part is helping to establish a sense of community that spreads back into the schools,” Brougher said. “The students earn praise from the adults in the community as a result of their hard work, and they also develop connections with a positive peer group for emotional and academic support that extends beyond the life of the show.”
One cast member from the show’s first season, Alexis Gordley, remarked upon the manner in which participants “get to see relationships and friendships blossom while watching a community come together to entertain other people and make new memories.”
All RHS students are required to earn a minimum of 30 community service hours prior to graduation. However, many student volunteers earn up to 50 hours in a single season at the haunted house because they are so motivated to work on this project and collaborate with their peers.
Showtimes: Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26 from 6:30-10 p.m.; and Oct. 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Ray’s Automotive on the corner of Deer Park-Milan and Milan-Elk roads.
Cost: $5 donation per visitor is encouraged.
Ages: Children under age 8 should be accompanied by an adult chaperone.
For more information and announcements: search @thehillbillyhauntedhouse1 on Facebook.

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