| 03.19.2018

Fright for the whole family — Annual Haunted Palouse returns for its 12th year


Something wicked this way comes, back to the Palouse for its 12th incarnation.

The Haunted Palouse attraction began  in 2002 and has been a Halloween tradition put on by the small town of Palouse, Wash. ever since.

Running for a total of four days — Oct. 18-19, and 25-26 — just before the holiday, the spook show has been going strong for the past 12 years.

Event organizers Janet Barstow and Paula Echanove have been with the Haunted Palouse from the  beginning.

The Haunted Palouse started  to raise money for the water damaged Roy M. Chatters Newspaper and Printing Museum that Barstow curates.

“This museum was in operation and then there was a flood in ‘96 and it was closed down,” Barstow said. “So this Haunted Palouse started to get the museum going again.”

Since then, the museum has served as a venue for one of the attraction’s haunted houses.

After the success of the first Haunted Palouse, a tradition was born, and it has only grown since then.

The Haunted Palouse consists of two haunted houses and a haunted hay ride  with a group of workers designated to each part of the production.

Work on the attractions starts  late in September, starting with design meetings to decide what will go into the final product.

“We just sit around and brainstorm (and) throw out ideas, and then we do the yeah-buts or what-ifs and we pick them apart for safety and effectiveness,” Barstow said.

Once it‘s decided what is to be put into the attractions, volunteers from the  community get to work making the ideas.

“(The museum venue) we started the 28th of September,” Barstow said. “We need three full weekends to build.”

This year, the spectacle promises to be  better than ever.

“Almost everything’s new this year,” Echanove said. “If people have been here in the last couple of years, this is going to be totally different.”

With 12 years of experience, the funhouse tricks and scares have gotten  more complex.

“Honestly, over the years that we’ve done it, we have gotten so technical and mechanical.  It’s incredible,” Echanove said.

Since the attraction began, it has raised $312,363, all of which stays in the town of Palouse to be distributed among various community organizations.

Thirty-five percent of the money raised  goes to the Palouse Community Center, 10 percent to the chamber, and  5 percent goes  to the museum.  The remaining money is  split among the crew of volunteers, and this year, a new skate park for the town.

The Haunted Palouse raised $56,622 in 2011 alone, a record high for the project and  impressive  for  only running  four days out of the year.

Every year the volunteers cannot wait for October to come, Echanove said.

Jared Jonas can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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