For all the fear and blood curdling screams induced by America Haunts attractions, the association of elite haunted houses showed that it too has a benevolent side.
The group that delivers fear-based entertainment to more than a million thrill-seekers each Halloween season announced that it is donating more than $500,000 in 2011 to nonprofits in the 20 U.S. markets where its operates. It also is already on track to hit the $750,000 mark in 2012 and the season has just begun.
“Just because our main job is to scare the pants off people doesn’t mean we don’t have a heart,” said America Haunts board member Nancy Jubie. “Creating family-oriented entertainment and giving back to our community just happen to be something we also enjoy doing. Consider us America Haunts with a heart.”
One of the more unique ways in giving back to the community comes from The 13th Gate in Baton Rouge, La. The haunt has been collecting blood weekly for The Blood Center of New Orleans for more than 13 years.
Throughout the entire Halloween season, portions of Full Moon Productions in Kansas City, Mo., and The Scarehouse in Pittsburgh function as nonprofits benefitting local charities. Full Moon makes “Halloween dreams come true” through its volunteer-based attractions The Chambers of Edgar Allen Poe and Macabre Cinema. Both attractions tax status is 501 3c and all proceeds benefit The Dream Factory of Greater Kansas City, making it a trick and treat for all involved. In addition to the variety of events that it hosts to raise money for local nonprofits, The Scarehouse recently launched the red velvet cake-flavored “Scarehouse Shake” (with gummy eyeball), from which proceeds will benefit Make Room for Kids.
Ticket giveaways are another popular initiative. Netherworld in Atlanta donates 3,500 tickets valued at $98,000 during its annual Charity Opening Weekend. Spookywoods in Kersey Valley, N.C., gives free tickets to blood donors and honor roll students. The Bates Motel in Philadelphia, Pa. also is very generous, providing 500 VIP passes to various charities worth $37,500. It also hosts events for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Cutting Edge in Fort Worth, and Headless Horseman and Haunted Hayrides in Ulster Park, N.Y. are staunch supporters of men and women in uniform. Cutting Edge gives away approximately 700 tickets annually to military, police and fire department personnel. In addition to local fire and police departments, Headless Horseman counts itself among regular supporters of the American Cancer Society Relay “Bark for Life,” among other events.
In Cincinnati, The Dent Schoolhouse hosts several parades in the community throughout the year. It also hosted the first-ever Dent In Diabetes walk to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The organization’s annual Boo Fest, geared toward younger children, also benefits the JDRF.
For more information on upcoming charitable events, and a directory of individual haunt and attraction websites, including opening dates, hours and ticket prices, go to www.AmericaHaunts.com.