Haunted SHAC gets ready for a third year of scares

Courtney Fortin, Editor in Chief

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Last fall, Milford students Olivia Mobley and Sydney Stankovich found themselves tied to a wall, screaming for help, and banging metal pipes on the ground. No, they weren’t being held captive or tortured; they were just volunteering their Saturday night to help make horror come to life.“It was genuinely a good time,” reminisced Stankovich. “It didn’t even feel like we were volunteering.”

As October begins, horror lovers are turning on the scary movies and traveling to haunted houses to get their hearts racing, but the real nightmare is downtown Milford at the SHAC.

The Suzanne Haskew Art Center (SHAC) is part of the Village Fine Arts Association, an organization that has promoted arts in the Huron Valley community since 1992. The SHAC itself started up 5 years ago with its doors opening 3 ½ years ago by Andrea Perry, Director of Development.

After Perry’s grandmother, one of the founding members of the Village Fine Arts Association, passed away, the VFAA gave a grant to open up a community arts center. From there, the Suzanne Haskew Art Center was open in honor of her grandmother.

The non-profit association provides guest artists, workshops, and art competitions to the community throughout the year, but perhaps one of its most anticipated events occurs at the end of October: the Haunted SHAC.

The SHAC’s annual haunted house is put on to fundraise for the VFAA with the help of dedicated artists and committed volunteers. For the past two years, the Haunted SHAC has been the “Gallery of the Disturbed;” however, this year is bringing a change. The “Artists’ Asylum” will include frightening showcases in a haunted asylum style.

In order for the horror to take place, it’s essential for volunteers to help. Perry explained that the overall production revolves around 3-4 core men who put together the layout and plan the decorations. From there, volunteers of all ages come in and work on constructing different props and thinking of ways to scare their patrons. When it comes to actually putting on the show, volunteers can vary from actors, make-up artists, prop operators, security guards, hall monitors, and ticket takers.

Anyone is welcome, and encouraged, to volunteer. Helpers vary from 10-year-old little girls dressing up to scare people to 60-year-olds painting inside cages while people walk through the exhibit, providing  an atmosphere like no other. “I love the feeling,” exclaimed Perry. “It’s super cool the way that everyone comes together to put on something great.”

Since the SHAC is located right downtown, Milford High School students have taken it upon themselves to get involved. Last year, several National Honor Society members got to work behind the scenes to put on a spooky show.  

Stankovich had such a good time last fall that she plans on volunteering again this year. “Everyone should consider volunteering for at least one night,” explained Stankovich. “It’s about helping the community art in Milford while having a really good time.”

Students can get involved by signing up through the SHAC’s SignUpGenius for several different jobs or time slots. Beginning Oct. 21, the attraction is open the last two weekends of the month and available to all ages; the times to attend are Fridays and Saturdays from 7-11 p.m. and Sundays 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for those under 18; however, donations of at least $20 will guarantee a fast pass and social media recognition.

While the SHAC puts on a fun, haunted house for the community, it’s still about more than that. “At the end of the day we want to stay true to our mission,” said Perry. “We want the community to stay creative.”

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Haunted SHAC gets ready for a third year of scares