Amid graphs displaying functions and equations, a single, eerie poster demands attention from the corner of math teacher Erik Wyner’s classroom wall. “The Carnival is Coming” it announces in a dark, spooky font.
For the past 11 years, as Halloween creeps up, Scotts Valley High School students and staff prepare for the school’s annual haunted house and this year is no exception.
In fact, according to Lizzie Torrez, the second year ringleader of the haunted house, this year’s carnival-themed house is going to be “one for the books”.”
Premiering Thursday, Oct. 24, the haunted house will open its doors for three nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $8 with proceeds benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for the third consecutive year. Wyner, who has coordinated the haunted house at the high school since the original in 2003, said they expect about $7,000 in proceeds.
What began as a six-room, single-night International Baccalaureate project of then-sophomore Chris Mylrea, has since matured into a 21-room production that involves more than a quarter of the student body.
“It seems to be really good for team-building and bringing the school together,” Wyner said.
Many of the rooms’ scary themes will not be revealed until the haunted house opens next week.
“There are definitely a lot more entirely new concepts then we ever thought there would be,” Wyner said.
Volunteer positions range from zombie dancers to make-up artists, constructors and designers, all filled by students and their parents.
“A lot of new students or people who feel like they haven’t clicked yet, I hear from them later that Haunted House is what got them involved with the high school,” Wyner said.
For example, freshmen Annika Gustafson said she has anticipated being able to participate in the haunted house since she was in middle school.
People visit the haunted house from all over Scotts Valley, but its popularity isn’t bound to the city limits.
“People come from over the hill every year because they know it’s ‘the’ Scotts Valley Haunted House,” Wyner said.
The success is due in part to the students who have sacrificed countless hours to continue the tradition each year.
“One of the advantages we have over professional haunted houses is we have over 200 volunteers,” Wyner said “If we had to pay wages, we would charge over $100 per ticket. We can do what no one else can do.”
If you go:
What: Scotts Valley High School Haunted House
When: 7 to 10 p.m., Thursday Oct. 24- Saturday Oct. 26
Where: 555 Glenwood Drive, in Scotts Valley