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Chills for a cause

Newhall man wants community to give to charity; he’ll provide the screams

Posted: October 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Adam Hatley rearranges body parts in the spider room of his haunted house in Newhall. Hatley has constructed the display- dubbed "Just Scream" this year - for the past three Halloweens. Photo by Dan Watson.

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Editor’s note: This is part four of The Signal’s five-part look at some of the spookiest, scariest, most creative or most elaborate Halloween displays to be found in the Santa Clarita Valley. The series will run once a day and end on Halloween.

The shack is an eerie and ramshackle sight.

The front is made up of warped slats, the paint peeled to a point that it’s almost nonexistent.

The windows and door cut crudely into the front contain not glass, but black material torn into ribbons that flutter faintly in the breeze.

A prominent sign hung above the doorway bears a simple message for all those who would dare enter the darkness beyond: “Just Scream.”

If Adam Hatley has his way, there will be plenty of screams to go around for those who visit his latest creepy creation in Newhall on Halloween night.

Display

This is the fourth year Hatley has crafted a haunted house, which is contained in a framed structure attached to the garage of his home at 23359 Eighth Street in Newhall.

It also just happens to be his most elaborate yet, he said Tuesday with more than a touch of pride.

“Every year it gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” he said.

Hatley said physical construction on the structure commenced in early October, but he began planning the display about a week before that, plotting out the twisting maze that venturers into his shack must go through.

After all the planning and construction comes the fun part: the set decorating.

This year Hatley crafted eight distinct areas offering a variety of scares and shocks, including the aptly named “Spider Room” and “Autopsy Room.”

His display will also contain about a dozen live actors, including Hatley’s children and other local students, who will hide themselves throughout the maze, ready to pounce at unsuspecting passersby.

“There are a lot of kids in the neighborhood who went through it when they were younger, and now that they’re older they want to be the ones doing the scaring,” Hatley said.

Though he acknowledges that a great deal of work goes into the display, he said it is well worth it when he sees the result.

“What I love about it is watching it go from nothing to that,” Hatley said, gesturing toward his work. “Yeah it’s only for two days and yes, I have to tear it all down and that takes a lot more work, but it’s worth the memories that it provides for everybody.”

Family ties

Hatley said when it comes to Halloween displays, he builds them just like mother used to make.

“My mom was big in doing stuff like this,” he said as he surveyed his own creation. “For every holiday she would do really elaborate stuff.

“So I always knew that, when I could, I wanted to build my own haunted house,” he said.

The familial inspiration to keep building bigger and grander displays doesn’t stop there.

“One of the best things about it is even though my kids are much older ... they still want me to do it,” he said, adding that one of the things he enjoys most about the display is spending quality time building it with his children. “So you can’t say ‘no’ to your kids.”

He also might not be able to say no to the community. Hatley estimated a crowd of several hundred turned out to view the display last year.

“Literally our jaws just dropped,” Hatley said when describing that crowd. “I was looking at my candy and thinking, ‘There’s no way I have enough candy for everyone here.’”

Cause

As the haunted house became more popular, Hatley said he saw an opportunity to help out his community. Food items go to the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry, and jackets and coats go to the homeless shelter.

Hatley said he has collected about 300 coats and jackets and will be collecting donations Thursday and Friday.
Though donations are encouraged, the display is free to all.

“One of the reasons why I do it is to generate memories because I remember my mom doing stuff like this for Halloween, and the memories I have are just priceless,” he said. “I haven’t forgotten one Halloween growing up.”

Lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
On Twitter
@LukeMMoney

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