Spooky spots in the CR area

Christine Hilario, A&E Writer

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There is no better way to get into the Halloween spirit than having a good scare. Three Xavier students have found a way to do just that. When spooky season rolls around, juniors Sydney Peterson and Kaitlin Hotchkiss, along with senior Aleece Grafton host private haunted houses. 

For years, Peterson and Hotchkiss have been having haunted house parties together. 

“My family has always been really into Halloween and we are really close with Kaitlin and her family,” Peterson said. “She started having little haunted house birthday parties that I went to and my parents would act in them.”

Since   then,  the  parties have grown  into annual events with different haunted houses and two separate dates. 

These families spend months preparing the haunted houses to be the best they can be. 

“My parents and family friends start planning the theme in March,” Hotchkiss said. “It takes quite a few people who spend a lot of hours painting, building sets, finding costumes, etc.”

Although it may be a lot of work, Peterson and Hotchkiss have fun giving their close family and friends a good scare.

Grafton and her family have also been hosting their own haunted house parties.   

“We host two parties in October for close family and friends with around 40 to 60 guests each party and normally 30 people helping to host and act,” Grafton said. 

Grafton and her family come up with story lines and concepts throughout the year, leading up to the haunted house parties. Then, starting in June or July, they put in 10-20 hours a week working on the haunts until the parties in October. 

“The best part is when the party happens and I am in charge of doing the actors’ make up,” Grafton said. “We like to think of it as putting on a show or production.”

There are also plenty of good scares open to the public in the Cedar Rapids area or near by. Peterson recommends NeverMoor: The 5th Realm in Lindale Mall and Grafton’s favorite is Scream Acres in Atkins. Circle of Ash is also one that is well known in the area.  If one is looking for a good Halloween scare, check out one of the haunted houses nearby.