Mt. Sterling Haunted House expands its spook factor

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Video above: Visitors and ghouls dance in the street outside Mount Sterling Masonic Lodge 269’s Haunted House last year.

(Posted Oct. 18, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Mount Sterling’s Haunted House is back, and its keepers, the members of Masonic Lodge 269, have upped their ghoulish game.

One of 40 actors who populated last year’s Haunted House at the Mount Sterling Masonic Lodge prepares to scare. This year, 60 volunteers are helping to make the expanded event a success.

“We had over 3,000 people go through last year. It went really, really well. Being our first year, we had no idea what to expect. We were blown away,” said lodge member Tom Corbin.

This year’s creepiness is slated for 6-10 p.m. Oct. 29-30 and 1-4 p.m. Oct. 31. The lodge is located at 54 N. London St., Mount Sterling. The haunted house occupies the first floor of the building and is handicap-accessible. Admission is free, and visitors can go through the house as many times as they want or dare.

“We had several people go through multiple times last year because they said each time, they saw something new. I asked, ‘Was that because your eyes were closed?’”

Spurred on by their inaugural success, the lodge has expanded the attraction’s features inside and out. New this year, a funeral procession will make its way down London Street at 6 p.m. Oct. 29 to kick off the festivities. The lodge also will show horror movies after dark on an outdoor jumbo screen.

“Something else that’s new are antique cars and trucks that have special passengers and drivers in them. They’ll be parked on the street outside the building all three days,” Corbin said.

Once again, a DJ will spin Halloween and other music while ghouls and goblins–and a Madison County sheriff’s deputy–dance with visitors waiting in line.

“Deputy Kelly Sparks will be there the entire time, and she dances, too. She has just as good a time as the rest of them,” Corbin said.

In its debut last year, the Haunted House attracted more than 3,000 people. Organizers are hoping and preparing for an even bigger crowd this year.

Inside, the route through the building and many of the exhibits are new.

“We have a husband-and-wife mad workshop that’s full of power tools; I’ll let your mind go from there,” Corbin said about one of the new vignettes. “We also have a demon hallway–I’m saving the details on that so I don’t spoil the surprise. We have a shrinking hallway, like in ‘The Shining,” and we have a haunted cornfield inside.”

Once visitors survive the spooky gauntlet, they will exit the building into a haunted cemetery in the alley where they will be rewarded with candy.

Helping to pull off the whole Halloween kit and kaboodle is an expanded roster of volunteers–60, up from 42 last year. More people wanted to be involved, and the house has more exhibits, Corbin said of the boost.

“It takes a lot to do this,” he said. “Take the butcher, for example. We need three butchers to fill the time and to allow the actors to take breaks. We have to have redundancy at each station.”

Spooky lighting and props are all part of the frightful fun at the Masonic Lodge’s Haunted House. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Oct. 29-30 and 1-4 p.m. Oct. 31.

Cooks are part of the volunteer roster, too. Lodge members will be selling hotdogs, hot chocolate, soda, water, chips and baked goods for a small fee. For example, one of the meal deals is a hotdog, chips and soda for $2.

All ages are welcome to go through the haunted house. Organizers shuffle groups at the door, sending families with younger children through together when possible so the cast can adjust their scare factor accordingly. When the visitors are primarily adults, the cast dials up the fright.

New this year, the village is closing London Street in front of the Masonic Lodge during the haunted house weekend to help with pedestrian safety.

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