If you’re a person who thrills to things that go bump in the night, here’s a group for you.
The Rocky Mountain Haunters is a Utah-based association for folks who like to create their own haunted homes and share them with others.
The organization has about 350 members and holds meetings throughout the year where Halloween lovers can get ideas for decorating and building their own props, says Robert Wolf of Springville, a manager for the group.
Wolf got involved a few years back when he discovered the group’s website while looking for information on how to make a talking skeleton head with a moving jaw.
Wolf stages a haunt at his Springville home and garage each year, complete with a 3-D maze and choreographed lights and music.
A software developer by day, Wolf says he enjoys the creative outlet of his home haunt. Visitors enjoy coming to such attractions because they are often more family-friendly, he says.
“Commercial haunts, for the most part, are gory — they have a high blood factor in them,” he says.
Also, the haunters enjoy building things themselves, be it singing skeletons or carved Styrofoam tombstones. As Wolf says, “I get to play Disney.”
LeAnna Reardon of Ogden, who used to run the commercial Lazarus Maze, did home haunts herself for years and is one of the founders of Rocky Mountain Haunters.
“It’s more than just going to Walmart and throwing a bunch of stuff in your yard; people are building year-round,” she says.
“Pretty soon, you don’t know where to stop because you have so much Halloween stuff” — in her case, not only at home but stacked in two storage facilities.
Home haunts, which may include walk-though or drive-by attractions, are not only popular in Utah but throughout the country, with groups active from California to Michigan, Wolf says. There are also email lists, forums and Facebook groups for those interested.
“There’s all kinds of things that feed the obsession,” he says.
The Rocky Mountain Haunters website (www.rockymountainhaunters.com) features a map to home haunts in the Top of Utah and elsewhere, although Wolf cautions that the listings may not always be current. More information about the group is available on the site or by emailing Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org.