As the clock neared 7 p.m. Thursday, screams and shouts could be heard from the The Haunted Lodge in downtown Moscow.
From the other side of the Eagles building came the sounds of a Bingo game, heard in the quiet lulls as The Haunted Lodge scare actors practiced their roles. They put final touches on their makeup and some searched for prosthetics, which were piled on a table in preparation for the night ahead.
The Haunted Lodge, organized by Eagles Lodge President Andrew Charles, is making its inaugural run at scaring the locals and raising money for local charities this Halloween season.
“So this concept came about because I love fall,” Charles said. “I love Halloween. I love everything spooky. And I grew up on horror movies, all those kind of frightful flicks.”
The Haunted Lodge opened Thursday and runs through Sunday. Tickets are $5 per person and with a donation of food for the Latah Food Bank or pet food for the Humane Society of the Palouse, the price drops to $3.
Revenues from the event will be reinvested in The Haunted Lodge for next year as well as help fund a charity pool that the Eagles will distribute to deserving nonprofits and community organizations.
The Haunted Lodge includes a variety of frights in a small space — from porcelain dolls to a spider hallway to a graveyard.
Mikyla Wood, who plans on being a scare actor on Sunday, was on hand opening night to get a feel for the event. She and friend Tyler Simonds were one of the first people to walk through The Haunted Lodge.
“I’ve volunteered at a haunted barn before, a few years ago,” Wood said. “We had a local haunted barn. It was a lot of fun.”
Wood added that she and Simonds did get spooked a few times during a walkthrough.
Charles was impressed with the quality of The Haunted Lodge and the enthusiasm of the volunteers who have made it a reality.
“The small crew that we’ve had just kind of blows me away,” Charles said. “An average haunt takes about $50,000 to start up. We’re working with a $500 budget and the blood sweat and tears and kindness of people’s hearts and donations from the crew. Right out of the gate.”
The response from the community has been great, Charles said, from the shares The Haunted Lodge received on social media posts to people who would message him asking how they could help. He hopes that next year it can be a bigger event with more of the community involved.
Nelson is the news clerk at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. You can reach her with feature story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: The Haunted Lodge
WHERE: Eagles Lodge, 123 N. Main St., Moscow
WHEN: 7 p.m. to midnight, tonight and Sunday
TICKETS: $5 or $3 with a food bank donation