Rifle couple continue to haunt their neighborhood
It began one All Hallows’ Eve 17 years ago, when David and Katie Hall purchased their home at the corner of Eighth Street and Dogwood Drive in Rifle.
The neighborhood nestled on Graham Mesa is a favorite of trick-or-treaters in the small western Garfield County city.
“We never had any aspiration of a haunted house, we had recently moved in and wanted to be a little different,” David Hall said.
David said the first year instead of answering the kids at the front door; they opened up their plastic lined garage, covered in glow in the dark paint and black lights.
They had a large bowl full of candy and hot chocolate to serve as trick-or-treaters filed through.
“Kids would just walk in and walk out; we were in costume. We did that for a couple of years and decided to bring it out to our backyard,” David said.
Once they expanded into the backyard the ideas began to flow for the Halls.
With the help of a friend and an air hose hiding just outside of the garage, the scaring of trick-or-treaters began.
“As soon as we did that, it was like a drug, people’s reactions were so funny,” David said.
From that point the Halls decided they had to go bigger the next year.
With the help of friends, neighbors, and the community the Hall’s spend countless hours building the maze through their backyard every October.
Like a spider weaving its web, slowly the Halls added new frights, growing bigger and more scary with each Halloween.
“All of our beautiful friends that help out and volunteer, all bring a bag of candy each,” Katie said. “The thing I love the most is just seeing all the community help, because nobody has to do it.”
Using shade awnings to cover scare rooms from the always-unpredictable Colorado weather means the house can be haunted rain, snow or shine.
What started with a couple awnings in their back yard has escalated to 15 covering the whole yard.
“I never ever thought it would take the whole yard, just with the elevation changes alone, but year after year it’s got to be better than the one before,” David said.
“I don’t want the kids to say, well that was the same as last year. That’s absolutely the worst thing we could ever hear.”
With the help of 20 loyal friends the Halls spent the final weekend before designing room in the maze and preparing for the pending weather.
This year the Halloween House will open 2-5 p.m. Thursday for a daytime walkthrough for the little children that might be too afraid to pass through at night.
After a two-hour break and with volunteers in place the scaring will begin around 7 p.m., and stay open until the last brave soul dares to make their way though the haunted house.
Up until three years ago the haunted house was only open Halloween for five hours.
With an average of nearly 1,000 visitors the Hall’s found that the demand has been too high and one night didn’t quench the Hall’s emotional investment in the event.
“Last year total we had about 1,500 between both nights,” Katie said.
The Halls estimate they spend between $1500-$2500 every year on setup, new animatronics, severed headed, creepy spider and more.
Even with the costs of putting the event on the Hall’s continue to have free admission for the haunted house only welcoming for donations.
Katie said they usually have decorations donated every year, and any money they are given goes to buying more scary decorations at after Halloween sales.
With this year’s second night landing on Friday, the Hall’s anticipate one of their largest turnouts yet.
“Everyone is so supporting, our neighbors are so amazing for putting up with the noise,” Katie said.
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