Vail Valley kids haunt to help
Silas Lovgren and a bunch of his friends’ haunted house helps Masonic Lodge toy drive
EAGLE — A haunted house rarely makes so many people so happy for so long.
Twelve-year-old Silas Lovgren and his family and friends have run their haunted house for three years, taking donations and using the money to buy toys for the Eagle Masonic Lodge’s toy drive. Usually the kids drop them in one of the donation boxes around the area. This year they brought them to the Masonic Lodge and handed them over in person.
When they started, they had a small event and few expectations. They asked for a few donations and received a few.
Silas is a gifted communicator and found his way to Lowes, where he buttonholed the manager, said Eric Lovgren, Silas’ dad. Silas convinced the manager to sell him haunted house supplies for pennies on the dollar, and the haunted house grew.
They combine their Eby Creek neighborhood kids with animatronics and created a scary version, as well as a non-scary version for the smaller kids.
They do it the Friday night of Halloween week so they don’t interfere with trick-or-treating.
“This year we had a line out the door,” Eric said.
Lots of friends and neighbors – kids and adults – pitch in to help set up and break down.
“We like being the Halloween haunted house in our neighborhood. If there is a holiday we can get behind, this is it,” Eric said.
Century of service
Eagle’s Masonic Lodge, Castle Lodge No. 122 is more than 100 years old. That makes it Eagle County’s oldest civic/service organization, and its mission has not changed in the last century.
The Lodge’s annual Toy Store does not actually sell anything. The Masons collect Christmas toys and give them to families and children who need them — around 1,000 every year. They also take cash donations.
Jon Asper has taken the lead on the Masonic Lodge’s Toy Store for more years than anyone can remember, including him. People ask him for all sorts of things, mostly help. Coming up with that help seems to be one of his spiritual gifts.
“They don’t need charity. They just need a little help,” Asper said. “We find ways to raise money so we can give it away. We do all kinds of other things, too, and almost all of it’s geared toward helping people who need it.”
The Masons and Asper don’t ask a lot of questions about why people need help. Folks just do, and that’s enough, Asper said.
A few years ago the Masons added bicycles to their mix. They take used bikes in pretty good shape, repair them and tune them up, then give them away to kids who need them.
They do their bike sales and toy store every year, quietly, or as quietly as they can when they’re collecting tens of thousands of dollars worth of toys, food and cash.
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Eagle County Schools has released a draft document detailing how the school district intends to return in-person and hybrid instruction starting Aug. 18.