Perry Payne of the Lincoln Jaycees said on Tuesday night that the
group had tried to figure out how long they have been doing a
haunted house in Lincoln, and they couldn't exactly pin it down.
Most of the members remember haunted houses as far back as the early
1970s. With that much experience, they have become experts at
figuring out what will give you the willies and the chills.
tour of the house this year begins in a child's room, but that is as
much as you're going to get about that particular area of
creepiness. Moving down long, dark, narrow hallways, working through
intricate mazes and feeling the walls close in on you is just a
portion of the thrill that visitors will experience.
Payne said the Jaycee haunted houses are well known for their
mazes, and this year's offering will not disappoint returning
In addition to the mazes this year, there are several special
rooms with frightening special effects as well as live actors who
will make wish you were at home in your safe, warm bed.
And if you plan to go this year, be sure to wear your long pants,
or bring your kneepads, because there will be a point when you feel
like your only way out is to get on your hands and knees and crawl.
Also be on the alert. Payne said that rumor has it that a
particularly famous slasher intends to hide out in the haunted
house, perhaps looking for his next conquest.
Payne said the Jaycees begin early in the year thinking and
talking about what the haunted house will be. The group comes up
with its own ideas of themes, then develops them into a working
By early September they have a master plan and start working on
building the mazes and spook rooms. The club has about 20 members
and enlists the help of an additional 15 volunteers to get
everything put together and ready by opening night.
Once the construction is near completion, the house is inspected
by the Lincoln Fire Department to assure that it is safe. To assure
that anyone inside the house can get out easily, there are emergency
escape doors in nearly every section of the spook house.
The Jaycees rely on the proceeds from the haunted house to fund
other projects throughout the year. The organization typically does
three large community service events: the Senior Feast at
Thanksgiving time, Angel Tree at Christmas and the very popular
Jaycee Easter Egg Hunt in the spring.
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Payne said that because they want the funds to go toward community
service projects, they work out the details of the haunted house in
the most economical way possible. The house relies on volunteer
workers to get it put together, and they have several items that
have been donated by individuals and businesses and are modified to
become props in the house. They also have a collection of props from
over the years that they repurpose to fit the current theme.
The Lincoln Jaycees is a Junior Chamber organization open to
members between the ages of 18 and 40. The purpose of the
organization is to help build the skills needed to be successful in
business. The Jaycees are always looking for new membership. Anyone
who is interested in becoming a part of the organization can talk to
Shawn Eckert, president of the group, to Payne, or they can visit
the website at lincolnjaycees.com.
Payne said that while the haunted house activity is fun, it is
also a teaching activity.
Those who work on the planning and implementation of the haunted
house gain experience in planning a project and overseeing its
successful completion. They also gain experience working with public
relations and promotion.
Payne said members get to exercise and improve their leadership
skills through the house. The house is divided into sections, with
one or two members being fully responsible for a particular room or
maze. The members gain leadership skills by working with other
members and volunteers, leading the group through the process of
building the space.
The haunted house located at 325 S. Chicago Street in Lincoln, opens tonight at 7 and will close at 11. The
rest of the schedule for this year will be Oct. 12, 18, 19, 25, 26,
27, 30, 31, and Nov. 1 and 2. The nighttime "lights-off" events are
recommended for ages 12 and up. For the younger thrill-seekers,
there will be two "lights-on" matinees, on Oct. 19 and 26 from 5 to
To meet the financial needs of the organization's community
service events, Payne said they are hoping to have a minimum of
1,000 visitors this year.
If you've gone to the Jaycee Haunted House in the past, you're
sure to enjoy this one just as much, if not more than all the
previous houses. If you've never gone, be warned, it is a great
show, filled with twists, turns and stellar creepiness, but it is
not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for the creepy-crawlies at
every turn, and be careful whose hand you decide to hold on to!
[By NILA SMITH]