Jaycees going back to roots
Jaycees Haunted House opened their annual haunted attraction the last weekend of Sept. and saw over 60 people in their first hour and a half of opening the doors. They’re working off traditional scares this season, bringing back ghouls like Freddie Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface and Michael Myers. Extra spooks, including a Jeepers Creepers scene, have also been added to the house.
Kenneth Scarberry has been a volunteer at the Portsmouth Area Jaycees for many seasons and is glad to see the haunted house returning to the more fundamental and original themes of haunted attractions.
“Opening weekend went fine. We did good numbers, better than last year, which is what we look for every year,” Scarberry said. ” We’re just going to build on top of that with future weekends.”
Scarberry and fellow volunteer and tour guide Selena Fuller believe that if something is broke you fix it and they believe that the house was broken last year. They gutted the second floor of the Jaycees building and completely rebuilt the floorplan for this year’s house. They also switched the entrance and exit, which was moved only last season from the alley entrance to a yard entrance. They’ve also added a few special effects such as fog, lasers and projections.
“We’re bringing back some of the old classics,” Scarberry said. “We have some Michael Myers and Leatherface. Everybody is scared of Michael Myers, Jason, Freddy, etc. They’ve been gone for a few years and we just want to bring them back. You don’t try to fix something if it isn’t broken. There have been a lot of screams and a few cries. There was even one, if I can use the word, urination. That is like our prize, if we can get somebody to do that.”
Scarberry said that he reads all of the comments that get posted to the haunted house’s Facebook page and he said a lot of people are giving it good reviews and saying it was better than last year’s haunt.
Jaycees is different from other local haunts, being that they give everything back to the community. Most haunted attractions keep profit they make to build onto the house every year, but Jaycees donate their profit and even discounts tickets if people bring canned food in for the Salvation Army.
“We do a lot for the area. All of the money we make is for the the kids at Christmas. Everything we do is to see the kids’ faces at Christmas, when they get the presents. I think we’re a pretty big influence in Portsmouth.”
Scarberry said the thing that his favorite part of this year’s attraction is a wall at the end of the haunt, which serves as a memorial to volunteers from Jaycees that have passed away in recent years.
“It’s like they’re still a part of the haunted house,” Scarberry said.
General admission for Jaycees is $6 and $5 if you bring in a canned food item. They are located at 2033 Gallia Street. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the entrance to the house is in the alley, while the line falls back into Gallia Street.
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