The stage of the Harmony Community Center gym was full of body parts, skeletons, lighting fixtures and other supplies needed to create the haunted halls and chambers of The Monster Bash: the Sequel, which opens this weekend in Harmony.  MELISSA VANDER PLAS/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
The stage of the Harmony Community Center gym was full of body parts, skeletons, lighting fixtures and other supplies needed to create the haunted halls and chambers of The Monster Bash: the Sequel, which opens this weekend in Harmony. MELISSA VANDER PLAS/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Proper sacrifices have been made, but alas, all manner of ghastly ghouls will still be invading the Harmony Community Center from Oct. 18 through Halloween on Oct. 31!

The Fillmore Central Music Department has put together another haunted house to follow-up last year's success. Titled Monster Bash: The Sequel, the fundraiser will help band and choir students pay for their trip and performance in Walt Disney World next summer.

The idea to have a haunted house as a fundraiser was first introduced to Fillmore Central bands director Lane Powell as he was mowing his lawn three summers ago. His neighbor and Halloween aficionado Jay Masters, had walked over and said, "I've got an idea." Upon hearing the proposal, Powell knew it would take a lot of time to prepare. However, he soon realized it would be a great opportunity focused on benefitting the students. Masters was willing to donate his expertise in all things Halloween and the project soon got underway.

The many facets of the fundraiser included business support solicitation, drawing up floor plans for the community center gym, purchasing and getting other donated materials, building the haunted house with parent and student involvement and much more. Last year's Monster Bash turned roughly $11,000 in profit, most of which credited the trip accounts of students who had worked on or in the house. A portion of the money was set aside for materials for this year's Bash.

Masters had been planning for "the sequel" ever since last Halloween. He began putting together ideas and drawing up floor plans last January and held a meeting with interested parent volunteers prior to the end of the school year to assign duties.

Over the summer, materials were acquired and some of the larger parts of the house were constructed. In an August issue of the News-Record and Republican-Leader, a list of needed supplies was published. Masters reported that following the article's publishing, more items were either donated or purchased from monetary donations.

Three more businesses joined the list of those who had donated $100 for the Monster Bash. A list of 90 businesses now graces the back of T-shirts promoting the event. The event also received a $500 grant from the Harmony Area Community Foundation.

Masters explained they hadn't set aside enough money from last year's profits and will be putting away a bit more this year for the third Monster Bash next fall.

He also added that materials will cost more during the first few years, but less so later on as Bash items get repurposed and reused.

In order to attract more people, this year's house will be all new and larger. Built in the community center gym, Masters estimated the house would take up almost 90 percent of the space. With a cemetery two to three times larger than last year's and 13 rooms, there will be no shortage of opportunities to get spooked.

Most of the House was constructed on Saturday, Oct. 12, as both parents and students in the music department began work at 8 a.m. Students who work or have parents who work in the construction or running of the Monster Bash will receive credit for their trip to Walt Disney World, based on how much is earned and how many hours they worked. With the trip costing each student $1,000, the fundraiser goes a long way toward helping students pay their way.

Besides the Monster Bash, students earn money from the Wake Up to the Band raffle and wreath/cookie dough sales. Powell noted that for many students, the fundraisers significantly help in making the payments and a few are even able to completely pay for their trip from fundraising alone.

Masters estimated that close to 100 students and parents will have been involved with the Monster Bash when the last scream fades.

"We are taking advantage of a lot of skill sets. Some don't work on the house, but want to work in it," Masters explained.

During the week running up to the House's opening, last minute details and changes will be made. Masters pointed out that the details are what make the Bash what it is. Meticulous planning is involved with the sound system, lighting and the rooms.

"It's not a black hole," he shared, adding that there is also very little blood and gore. "We're not after the shock value."

The haunted house begins with an entrance into a mausoleum and subsequent cemetery. Anyone who wishes to see the house must first cross into it. Once in the house, a detailed haunted living room will greet the people. Eleven more rooms follow.

Masters is still looking for some solid color sheets for use in the house.

Monstar Bash: The Sequel will run each night from Friday, Oct. 18, to Halloween, Oct. 31. The first night will be open from 4:30 to 10 p.m. and be less scary than normal. Also, the first half hour of each night will be less scary for young children and adults.

The opening Fright Night on Oct. 19 will run from 7 to 11 p.m. Hours for Sunday, Oct. 20, through Thursday, Oct. 24, will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Hours for Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26, will be 7 to 11 p.m. The hours from Sunday, Oct. 27, to Wednesday, Oct. 30, will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Halloween evening will see the house running from 7 to 10 p.m.

Admission is $8 per person with a $20 cap on families of five or larger. New this year is City Nights. People who live in the designated towns can receive $3 off admission and $2 off a T-shirt upon proof of ID. This year's city nights include Oct. 20: Mabel and Canton; Oct. 21: Cresco; Oct. 22: Decorah; Oct. 23: Caledonia; Oct. 24: Lanesboro; Oct. 27: Chatfield; Oct. 28: Spring Grove; Oct. 29: Spring Valley and Oct. 30: LeRoy.

Concessions will be run on Fridays and Saturdays and will be located near the entrance of the house. T-shirts will be sold for $15 each.

The entire house is wheelchair accessible this year.

"I think it's fantastic, just the way it draws people together," shared Powell on the event.

Masters called this year's house entertaining, creative and startling and has been touting that message over news media throughout the region.

"We heard nothing but rave reviews and people saying it was far more than they expected," said Masters about last year. He noted how the community has rallied around the event. "It's turning into something the school district can be proud of."