By Emily Lawson
For The Herald Bulletin
ELWOOD — Freddy Kreuger and other scary villains have checked into the Elwood Sanitarium, a former nursing home turned into a haunted house.
The former Dickey nursing home has been for sale for more than six years. The building, rumored to be haunted (at least by Sanitarium organizers), has been undergoing major transformation since late July.
Around then, Community Long Term Care decided to provide horror film fanatics with a big treat: a spooky sanitarium.
The haunted house boasts various rooms dedicated to different horror films. Among them, “Friday the 13th,” “Halloween,” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.”
“The theme is popular horror movies. There have been a lot of them that have come out throughout the last ten years,” said Diana Smith, organizer and employee of Community Long Term Care, which is associated with Community Hospital.
“Some of the rooms are pretty intense. The haunted house itself has a PG-13 rating, so we don’t recommend little ones to attend,” said Smith.
Tanner Hutcheson, who plays Leather Face from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, said it’s not all about the movies. “We’ve got a 7-foot-tall werewolf in there. ... so that’s kind of creepy.”
Putting it all together hasn’t been an easy task.
“There are countless hours involved when you’re doing something like this, especially when it’s the first year,” Smith said, “The building is fairly large, so we’ve put a lot of time and energy into it and really focused on the safety aspect. Since it used to be a nursing home, things like the smoke detectors and the sprinklers were already in place, so that was pretty helpful.”
Kade Hoover, who plays a character from “Friday the 13th in one of the rooms, says support of the haunted house has been incredible. “Every [Community] Long Term Care facility is participating. Some have actual rooms, some are helping out with concessions... Everyone is involved.”
Hoover, whose wife also donated her time to help out with the project, wasn’t exaggerating.
“A variety of people from the community have come together to make this happen. Volunteers, not necessarily affiliated with Community Long Term Care, have lent a helping hand,” Smith said. “There are also some youth involved.”
The organizers don’t just have scaring in mind; the haunted house is also acting as a fundraiser.
“I originally thought of the idea as a way to raise money for our company,” Smith stated. “A lot of the other events in the area put on a haunted event like this each year as a fundraiser. A portion of the money will also be donated to the Frankton Fire Department.”
The Elwood Sanitarium is also acting as an advocate for Madison County. The attraction has teamed up with two other events within the county, in an attempt to attract more visitors to the area. Combination tickets are available for $15 and include admission to the Haunted Woods in Chesterfield and the Haunted Basement in Elwood, in addition to The Elwood Sanitarium.
“We’re really pushing the combination tickets,” Smith said. “When we decided to do this we wanted to be respectful of the other haunted houses and events in the county. So, we saw the combination tickets as a great way to pull more people into the community and not step on anybody’s feet.”
The attraction will be open through the rest of the month. It’s strictly a Friday and Saturday event, with the exception of being open Thursday, Oct. 29.
The Elwood Sanitarium
* Where: 1007 N. Ninth St., Elwood
* Shock value: PG-13
* When: 7-11 p.m. today, Saturday and Oct. 29. Devil’s Night, Friday Oct. 30, from 7 p.m. to midnight. Lights Out on Halloween Night, Oct. 31, from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
* Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children, and $5 for employees (with ID badge).
Former Elwood nursing home turned haunted house goes to the movies
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