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EVANSDALE — For haunted house enthusiasts, Halloween cannot come soon enough.

For them, “It’s like Christmas,” said Gary Hall, owner of Harris Haven Haunted Attraction in Evansdale.

Since March, Hall has been updating the set for his haunt’s 10th anniversary. This year he has teamed up with Joe and Vanessa Klein and Paul Lovisa of Cedar Rapids to create a monster of an attraction.

For one admission price, guests will enter the 5,000-square-foot Harris Haven haunt before finding their way through about 4,000 square feet of Ravenhurst Manor, built and designed by the Kleins and Lovisa, before ending up in an acre-sized corn maze.

“We want to give people more for their money,” Hall said.

Each attraction will have its own spooks and surprises for unsuspecting guests.

Hall, who had been contemplating closing his haunt for good after this year, was delighted to join the Kleins. The Kleins also were impressed with Hall’s haunted house.

“He (Hall) brought us up here to look at his haunted house and we were blown away,” said Vanessa Klein.

About 11 years ago, the Kleins began creating cemetery scenes in their yard during the Halloween season. They made the tombstones out of foam, using carving tools and paint to create a distressed, aged look. Three years ago they began a haunted house in their garage and were surprised when more than 700 people showed up to their first haunt.

“It kind of got out of hand after that and here we are,” Joe Klein said.

Vanessa Klein, who relishes in the intricate details, finds decorative treasures, such as old fireplaces, furniture and lanterns, at bargain and second-hand stores.

“That’s what I like about it. I like taking something that’s a piece of foam and turning it into something no one would ever expect,” Vanessa said.

The couple creates skeletons, life-size statues, skulls and most decorations by hand while Lovisa works with the special effects.

“It was our spare time, now it’s almost we work on this more than work,” Joe Klein said.

The couple also attends the TransWorld’s Halloween & Attraction show every year in St. Louis. They enjoy seeing what big-budget companies like Disney and Universal Studios are doing, then return home and build the props by hand with their own creative spin.

This year’s attraction will begin Sept. 29 and last 19 days. It is located at 3767 Lafayette Rd, Evansdale. Every thousandth person to pay admission will win $500.

“This year’s going to be a great year, I’m so glad they’re here, and this is just the start,” Hall said.


Copy Editor/Staff Writer

Staff Writer at the Courier

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