Choosing how to celebrate Halloween with tons of events throughout the region may be a challenge, but for those with a giving spirit that decision might be a little easier.
Several Halloween events held in Jamestown and the surrounding region have opted to donate a portion of proceeds to various community organizations such as the Jamestown Gateway Train Station, Chautauqua County Humane Society and the Make-A-Wish Western New York Foundation.
TERROR WITHIN THE WALLS
“The Haunting at the Mall,” a fundraising Halloween event presented by Scott Mekus, will take over the second floor of JCPenney at the Chautauqua Mall, 318 E. Fairmount Ave. in Lakewood from 7-11 p.m. through Thursday, Oct. 31.
P-J photos by Daniel Swanson
Terror Within The Walls, a haunted house attraction started in 2009 that has raised funds for a different charity each year, will benefit the Make-A-Wish Western New York Foundation. The haunted house, dubbed "Carnival Macabre," opened its doors to the public on Thursday.
Hosted at The Spire Theater, 317 E. Third St. in Jamestown, the event continues tonight, Wednesday and Thursday from 7-10 p.m., and Friday, Nov. 1, from 7-11 p.m.
According to LeAnne Samuelson, who founded and created the event with her husband, Randy, the event benefited the Make-A-Wish Western New York Foundation in its first year, and in previous years proceeds have been donated to Hospice Chautauqua County and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Western New York.
"I really enjoy working with (Make-A-Wish), and we're pretty passionate about helping children - we feel it's from the heart," Samuelson said. "It's nice as a community to give back, especially since we've granted wishes locally. It also builds awareness of the charity at an event that brings people together. So, it's fun to do, but they are also doing something for someone in our area."
The event has transformed the The Spire Theater into the nightmare that is "Carnival Macabre." This year's theme is based on the concept of a 1942 traveling carnival that left bodies in its wake.
"Every year the event is built from the ground up with the help of volunteers," Samuelson said. "We've spent a lot of time getting it ready, decorating and trying to make it a unique experience every year."
Tickets to the event are $5 per person, and $2.50 of the ticket price will be donated. Star magnets will be sold for $2 a piece, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated. For more information, visit www.terrorwithinthewalls.com or search for "Terror Within the Walls Haunted House" on Facebook.
HAUNTING AT THE MALL
"The Haunting at the Mall," an event presented by Scott Mekus, is taking over the second floor of JCPenney at the Chautauqua Mall, 318 E. Fairmount Ave. in Lakewood, for eight days of gore. The event, which began on Thursday, will continue each night from 7-11 p.m. through Thursday, Oct. 31. A portion of the proceeds from the program will be donated to the Chautauqua County Humane Society.
Mekus decided to raise funds for the Chautauqua County Humane Society because he and his dog, Lexy do the Mutt Strut group dog walk every Saturday at Bergman Park in Jamestown, as well as participate in the Walk 4 Paws. He planned and executed the project via his certified events planning business called "Eventz By Scott," which he has been running for the past two years and recently decided to go into full-time. He is excited for the opportunity to raise funds for the Chautauqua County Humane Society, as well as host his first major community event, he said.
"I grew up in Dunkirk, and we always had this awesome haunted house at St. John's Church," Mekus said. "Then I volunteered for the Dunkirk Recreation Commission, and I worked at a haunted house at the cow barns of the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds. So, I've had a passion for it from growing up, and I decided I wanted to run my own haunted house as well as give back to the community."
"The Haunting at the Mall" is not recommended for children under 12, but a family-friendly version will be held tonight from 3-6 p.m. for a $5 admission. Also held throughout the mall from 2-4 p.m. today will be a free trick-or-treat event.
Tickets are $8 presale and $10 at the door. For more information, search for "The Haunting at the Mall" on Facebook.
THE LAST BOARDING CALL
Area residents will have the opportunity to experience a public paranormal investigation of the Jamestown Gateway Train Station called "The Last Boarding Call" during a fundraiser tonight from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised during the event will benefit the Jamestown Gateway Train Station.
Crossroad Ghost, the paranormal investigation team hosting the event, is comprised of: Bill Canby, investigator and historian; Janice Franks, investigator and case manager; Cris Deuble, co-lead investigator and tech wizard; and Dennis Deuble, co-lead investigator.
"We did an investigation on Sept. 7 with just the team, and we collected a lot of evidence," Canby said. "We're going to present that evidence to the group that is coming. Plus, everybody who attends is going to be able to do an actual live, hands-on investigation with us using our equipment and tools - so you get to share in an actual live ghost hunt."
Portions of the event will be recorded, and following the completion of processing DVD copies will be made available for sale. After production costs are covered, the following DVD proceeds will also be donated to the Jamestown Gateway Train Station. The results will also be posted on www.crossroadghost.webs.com.
Canby, who is the administrator for the Facebook group "Classic Jamestown," decided to make the event a benefit for the Jamestown Gateway Train Station because he is passionate about history, he said.
"I just love the history of Jamestown, and I love trains," Canby said. "Lee Harkness and I have been friends for a long time, so it was a perfect match to generate some funds for the Jamestown Gateway Train Station and take care of my curiosity as far as the paranormal and history."
Tickets are $25, and are presale only to the first 60 customers. Attendees, who must be 18 or older, are asked to bring a flashlight. The Jamestown Gateway Train Station is located at 211-217 W. Second St. For more information, call 397-7934 or search for "The Last Boarding Call" on Facebook.
MORE SPOOKY FUNDRAISING
For those who would rather take a more physical approach to being scared, the "End Of Days Zombie Run" by Wake Up productions will be held today. Sign-in is set for 4-5 p.m. in front of Lincoln Elementary School, 301 Front St. in Jamestown, and the race will begin at dusk.
Attendees may opt to participate as a runner or as a zombie. Registration is $20 per runner, $10 per zombie and $10 for those under 15. The event will also raise funds for the Chautauqua County Humane Society. For more information, search for "2013 End of Days Zombie Run" on Facebook.
The former Ponderosa Steak House of the Warren Mall, 1666 Market St. in Warren, Pa., has been transformed into a haunted house by Craig Rodgers III.
Rodgers, a 15-year-old sophomore at Frewsburg High School, works at the Warren Arby's and decided to host a haunted house at the mall as a fundraiser for the youth group at Frewsburg Zion Lutheran Church.
The theme for the haunted house is "Meadowbrook Asylum," and is based on a post-Civil War asylum. The event will begin tonight from 6-9 p.m., and will continue Sunday from 2-5 p.m. Tickets are $2 for children 7-12, $4 for adults and $3 for seniors. Children under 6 are admitted for free, but caution is advised.
Sam's Club of West Ellicott will host a "Trick or Trunk" event on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. in the parking lot. The event will include trick-or-treating, games, a costume contest, a best decorated trunk contest, a bake sale and hot dog cookout. Parade lineup begins at 1 p.m.
The Explorers Post 125 from Hewes Educational Center will provide traffic control and safety for the event. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Salvation Army's Childrens Family Outreach program. Sam's Club is located at 720 Fairmount Ave. For more information, call Kelly Milliman at 483-1508 or search for "Trick or Trunk" on Facebook.
The Children's Safety Village also hosts an annual Halloween event, which began Oct. 11, and will continue from 8-11 p.m. tonight.
The "Town of Terror" transforms the various buildings at the The Children's Safety Village to terrifying haunted houses. The second annual "Town of Terror" invited area businesses and residents to compete for the cash prizes by creating a haunted house in the village.
Tickets will be available at the gate for $10. The Children's Safety Village is located at 2695 Route 394 in Ashville. For more information, call 499-8138, visit www.childrenssafetyvillage.com or www.facebook.com/childrenssafetyvillage.