Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Winfield’s haunted house scares up community spirit

Oct 30, 2017
Photo by: Grace King Children lined up for Winfield’s haunted house on Saturday, Oct. 28, for a kid-friendly version where there was no one to jump out from the shadows. However, some of the scarier things to be seen were the people standing in line.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


WINFIELD — As children lined up on Saturday, Oct. 28, for the less intense kid-friendly version of Winfield’s “Madness in the Machine Shed” haunted house, some of them were dressed in costumes scarier than what awaited them inside.

Mayor Chris Finnell is exceptionally proud of Winfield’s haunted house, which was open Oct. 20-21, and 27-28. He calls it a very 70s-style production, and says they get a lot of good reviews. For the past five years, Winfield has held their annual town Weiner Roast before the opening of the kid-friendly haunted house.

The Weiner Roast has been a tradition for at least 20 years. Formerly held near the baseball diamond in town, Finnell said they changed location to try to get more people at the haunted house and to create a bigger community event.

As Finnell talked about his memories of Weiner Roast, Janet Reynolds walked by, saying she could remember attending ever since she was a little girl.

Ken Eggenburg said that the Weiner Roast isn’t as good since they moved it to where the Haunted House is. When it was formerly over by the baseball diamond, Eggenburg enjoyed just walking instead of driving to the town event.

Although a haunted house isn’t really Eggenburg’s “thing,” he does enjoy the community aspect of bringing the haunted house and Weiner Roast together. “Get some free hot doggies,” he said. “It’s great roasting weiners.”

As children continued to line up for the haunted house after filling their stomachs with hot dogs and s’mores, a black and white clown, unrecognizable with his mask-covered face, walked into line behind.

“I’m not scared of you,” kids chanted. Marcy Kinneberg laughed and said, “They’re just trying to talk themselves out of being afraid.”

Strobe lights met the entrance of the haunted house and skeletons lined the walls, kicking off the fear and excitement.

Madness in the Machine Shed places the brave right in the middle of a scary movie. With loud noises and impaired vision, the makeshift pallet-walls seem to creep up from behind. To find your way, you have to plant your hands on either side of the walls to avoid making a wrong turn or running right into a pallet. During regular haunted house hours, volunteers hide within these walls, jumping from around corners and also helping to guide those who might get lost. When fully staffed, there are 30 volunteers within the haunted house.

In the kid-friendly version, however, nothing jumps out at you aside from the creatures within your imagination. On tables, bloodied corpses are displayed, haunted by the mad scientists that ruined them.

“This is way better than last year,” Konnor Kinneberg said while passing through a room where a bloodied body was lying on a medical examination table. “Oh steam, nice!” he said as the room filled with fake smoke. Turning a corner Konnor said, “I like that severed head.”

Not all the children were as enthusiastic. As Lianna Welsh walked out of the haunted house, with tears in her eyes, she said, “It was scary. I saw Pennywise,” referring to the clown from the newly-released movie “It.” “I’m scared of monsters now,” she said.

The collection of Halloween memorabilia that makes up Winfield’s haunted house was purchased from the former outdoor haunted house in Burlington. A lot of it has just accumulated over the years, Finnell said.

“It’s all low-budget,” he said.

Volunteer in the haunted house Ryan Kinneberg said that they get as much enjoyment out of scaring people as people get going through it getting scared. Each room is specially designed by volunteers, who get to choose their own theme, which Ryan said gives them more ownership and better incentive to show up.

“There’s a lot of freedom for volunteers and actors to decorate themselves,” Ryan said.

Finnell said that the cold and drizzle on Friday, Oct. 28, hurt their attendance, and the rain the weekend before was difficult to manage. “We’re doing the best we can,” he said.

The city is considering extending the roof on the barn for future years so the haunted house won’t be as impacted by bad weather and it would keep participants a little warmer while they waited in line.

Last year, they incorporated a corn maze at the end of the haunted house, but were unable to do so this year because the summer weather was too dry to plant.

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