MARQUETTE HEIGHTS Ill. (WMBD) — After more than 40 years, one of the longest-running Halloween attractions in the state is officially canceled for this year.
Spook Hollow, the outdoor haunted house in Marquette Heights, will not be offered for the 2020 season.
Dale Hamm, president of the Marquette Heights Men’s club, said trying to accommodate social distancing guidelines with the number of people participating in the haunted house simply wasn’t realsitic.
“We had countless hours of research and looking into how we can open safely for not only our customers, but for our staff,” Hamm said. “Everything just kept on compiling and it just was not feasible or safe for us to open this year.”
Hamm said the haunted house runs for six night in October. He said during those nights, they usually have about 200 volunteers including actors, members of the makeup department and support staff along with thousands guests per night.
“Typically on our slowest nights, we’re looking at anywhere near 1,200-1,500 people a night,” Hamm said. “On our best nights, anywhere from 2,000-2,500 customers.”
He said they’d rather forego this season than try to put on a subpar experience for customers who’ve come to know and love what Spook Hollow offers.
“We weren’t willing to make Spook Hollow lower than what we’ve had before just for the restrictions because then the customer don’t get the experience that they want and that’s what it’s about,” hamm said.
Hamm said one of the biggest disappointments from canceling Spook Hollow this year is not being able to invest in the community.
He said all of the proceeds raised from the haunted house usually go to various organizations such as the city of Marquette Heights, the police department, the fire department, girl scouts, boys scouts, food pantries, etc.
“Generally we try to give back anywhere from $50,000-$100,000 a year,” Hamm said.
He said he’s hoping to offer a bigger and better Spook Hollow experience for the 2021 season and return to donating their normal amount of funds to the community in 2022.
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