It all starts pretty small and then grows into a hauntingly great time that just begs to be used for the greater good. With similar beginnings-fun for the kids - both the haunted house in Lilburn and the haunted woods in Grayson have grown to benefit something much larger than a night of fun.
The Evenchick family is hosting a St. Jude’s event, Halloween from the Heart. What began as a small haunted house for adult friends changed over the years after getting married and beginning a family. After that, the event became all about the kids having fun with their friends. Collecting new decorations each year made the event bigger and better, drawing people from all around to experience a kid-friendly haunted night. “We moved from the house and into the garage,” says Michael Evenchick. “It kept growing from there and now we have a tarp that goes up with a pathway into the garage.” There are graveyards, bloody characters, skeletons and ghosts all around making the experience scary good fun. “We wanted to take things to a different level and decided to ask for donations to St. Jude,” says Michael.
Michael’s wife, Janine is every bit as excited for this new aspect of the annual project. “We begin in August with the decorations and they won’t get completely put away until November,” says Janine. “I love to watch Michael work on it-he does it to make people happy.” The couple has two children, Jessica and Matthew who are wholeheartedly into helping with the set up and enthusiastically describe where each character and item will be placed to pull off the final effects. The newest member of the family has recently arrived from Denmark as an exchange student and finds the whole idea very exciting. “I like it because we don’t have the same Halloween in Denmark,” says Marie. “I am very excited to see the final results.”
The Lilburn Haunting for a Good Cause will feature traditional Trick-or-Treating on Halloween Night. They will also host a Halloween Party and Fundraiser on Friday, November 1st from 7-10. NO Drop-offs, parents are expected to remain with their children. Admission is a voluntary donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. (Event #FKEP56516D14 at waystohelp.stjude.org) Location: 1647 Stony Creek Way, 30047.
If you are in Grayson on October 25th & 26th, drop by the Haunted Forest located in the Gates Mill Subdivision (1400 Gates Mill Drive-30045). Staffed by volunteers from St. Oliver’s Life Teen and Grayson UMC’s teens, the Haunted Forest promises a great experience for the youngest to the oldest Halloween enthusiasts. The younger child-friendly hours are from 6pm to dark and after 6…ENTER IF YOU DARE…but bring at least 2 canned goods per person for admission…
Hosted by the French and Acuff families, the Haunted Forest developed from a haunted house for the neighborhood kids into a decorated and haunted path through the woods. “Our kids are very involved in the whole process,” says Michael French. “It is a good opportunity for our youth to volunteer for a good cause.”
In this case, the efforts benefit the local food co-op. “Last year, without very much advertising, we collected 300 cans of food,” says Kay Acuff. “The people at the food bank were so excited and it warmed my heart to be able to deliver the food.” Kay says that it is her husband, Cory, and kids; Chris, Sydney and Joe plus Michael, Karen, Anthony, Taskar and Colin French who put in the hours and hard work that transform their property into the excitement of The Haunted Woods. This year is even bigger and better than before.
Laura Drake of the Southeast Gwinnett Food Co-op is overjoyed at the number of grassroots events that include the co-op in their plans. “There is no event too small to make a difference to us,” says Laura. “Even one can is one more than we had the minute before!” According to Laura, the 300 cans collected by The Haunted Woods last year fed three families of four for a week.
Enjoying a local event that combines some haunted fun and community service is a benefit to the county as a whole. It just goes to show you that every little penny counts when it comes to helping others. Combining those pennies brings about great change...