Sunday, December 21, 2014

BY LISA MARIE DAHM

SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY

The sounds of screams will fill the air at three West Hawaii locations this Halloween.

Seaview Circle resident Timothy Ewing is brewing up another haunted house, this one bigger than ever and offering even more scares.

"The idea is to scare as many people as possible," Ewing said.

His annual haunted house, which he designs and fills with his own animatronic creations, is open to the public from dark until about 9 p.m. Halloween.

He collects nonperishable food items to donate to The Food Basket; the last two years, he has donated up to 200 pounds of food following the event.

Ewing's house offers two graveyards -- one in front and one in back -- shaking coffins and other spooky surprises. This year, he's recruiting about half a dozen "scarers," he said. He's got the costumes and will offer training the night before Halloween.

He said he'll show them "how to scare without being too scary. I don't do blood and gore. Most of it is just stuff that jumps out at you."

To volunteer, contact Ewing at 987-1750 or by email at time2dive@hawaii.rr.com.

Earl's Garage, in Waimea, will have its ninth annual "Fright Shop" behind Tutu's House in the Kamuela Business Center from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Halloween night. The haunted house is free to guests.

Katherine DuBose, Earl's Garage project leader, said students start on Fright Shop planning in July.

From mapping out the space to creating the mechanical inventions, she encourages the 7- to 18-year-olds to use their
imaginations and figure out ways to make the event thrilling, creative and scary enough for Halloween fun.

"They come up with these huge ideas," DuBose said. "They want the ghosts to be flying around the room. We bring it down to a doable thing."

Earl's Garage, created in 1999, helps students use their creativity and intelligence to explore how things work.

According to DuBose, Fright Shop is their opportunity to "showcase" and to share their inventions with the public.

Michelangelo McPeek, 14, of Honokaa High School said he likes working on Fright Shop because during Halloween, he gets to "scare people and express how I feel."

"Even though you made it and you've been through it and you know everything about it and every booby trap, when it's done and you have all the lights off, you still get scared yourself," McPeek said.

Parker School student Colin Klimt, 10, enjoys working on Fright Shop because he gets to "do things that are amazing."

"Fright Shop is the most fun thing because you get to do electronics, (and learn) how to make things (out of) wood," Klimt said. "You get to do lots of scary stuff."

DuBose recommends students under 8 have a parent preview Fright Shop first.

Another opportunity for spooky wanderings in Kona is a Haunted Attraction at the old Blockbuster location in the Kona Coast Shopping Center from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 through Oct. 31.

For a warehouse-sized scare, the Haunted Attraction will feature animatronics as well as live characters walking through and hiding behind corners for a blood-curdling scare.

According to Misti Manasas, owner of All Things Creative, this year's Haunted Attraction will be based on themes and characters from different horror movies, including visits from Jason from "Friday the 13th", Freddie Krueger from "Nightmare on Elm Street", Leatherface from "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", Michael Myers from "Halloween", Ghostface from "Scream" and the Grudge Girl.

Manasas said Kaleo Padilla, president of One Slap Entertainment, got the idea for a haunted house after visiting a friend's haunted house at the Neal Blaisdell center on Oahu.

"He just had this wild vision to start something different here on the Big Island," Manasas said. "We are fortunate to be able to continue it for the second year."

Manasas said before entering the Haunted Attraction, visitors are shown a 30-second preview. They can exit at any point going through the building if they are too frightened to continue. Manasas said about 2,000 people went through the attraction last year at the Keauhou Shopping Center and even a few adults were afraid.

The Haunted Attraction is $5 per visit; a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Kona Boxing Club, which gives students a place to learn "self-confidence and self-motivation" and for youth to learn how to discipline themselves and to stay healthy, Padilla said.

"It keeps them straight," Padilla said.

The group will also sponsor a youth dance on Oct. 29 in the Haunted Attraction parking lot from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., featuring D.J. Xtreme, D.J. Darren B., and other vendors and activities.

For more information on Earl's Garage, visit its website at earlsgarage.org.

Reporter Erin Miller contributed to this story

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