This time of year, is all about tricks and treats but a group of Saginaw Co. ghouls are doing good this Halloween season.
“We are a dysfunctional family, we're a little off kilter,” said Lisa Guyton, treasurer for the St. Charles Haunted House Association, which oversees Village of the Living Dead.
She’s been involved with the haunted nonprofit since their first year.
“I remember doing it as a sophomore in high school,” Guyton said, “I was screaming in the scene and getting the football players to their knees because they were so scared.”
They’re celebrating 33 years of terror but their mission is anything but scary. Back then, the St. Charles ambulance service needed funding help.
“I used to work for them, we bought a new ambulance and needed to supply it,” said Mark Fulton, Guyton’s brother and one of the co-founders.
Once the ambulance was up and running, they kept going. So far, they’ve raised close to $1 million for causes of all kinds including the park system, schools and the American Cancer Society.
The St. Charles Haunted House Association takes applications from nonprofits interested in receiving a grant.
“We were the only one in the county at that time, back then we would do 40 people a year in ten nights. Now we're at 10,000 [customers] a year,” Fulton said.
Volunteers help run the show, from selling tickets to acting in the haunted house.
“I would say most of the kids in the last 33 years have come through here and worked,” Fulton said.
If you ask about their secrets to success, they’ll say it’s that connection to the community, but also a commitment to keeping things fresh.
“Every year we change it,” Guyton said, “there's a really new feature that literally took my breath away when I went through it. I don’t get scared at haunted houses, I go ‘oooo look what's on the wall and look at this and hey, good scare!' but this took my breath away. It's kind of cool and it's the first thing you go through.”
You have four more chances to help scare up money for charities. Village of the Living Dead is open Oct. 26-28 and 31. For more information, please click here.
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