Fear is brewing in the basement of City Hall.
The annual Nightmare on Third Street Haunted House is back, and it keeps getting bigger.
“Every year we’ve been able to add a little bit to it,” said Lynn Diveley, records clerk for the Ottumwa Police Department. “When we started out the first year, everyone was pretty skeptical. They didn’t know if we’d really be able to pull it off and make money.”
School Resource Officer Mike Murphy, Diveley and a few others started the haunted house in 2003, and Officer Brandon Gravett got involved in 2007.
“When I was appointed to DARE [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] Officer, we were thinking of fundraising ideas and [Diveley] and some other individuals had done haunted houses in the past, and I thought that’d be a good idea,” Gravett said.
Diveley said that last year the committee was able to eliminate plastic divides separating the 23 rooms and painted the entire house black. Everything in the house is made from scratch, including the walls, which are now made from materials the committee finds and assembles.
“There’s an industry out there that makes all that stuff, but obviously we don’t have a budget for that,” Diveley said. “I’ve researched those things and found out how to build it ourself.”
For example, the claustrophobia room could cost around $1,500 if purchased through a company; the committee was able to build their own for $400.
All proceeds from the house go toward the local Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT) programs.
“This is our main fundraiser for the year,” said Gravett, who heads the DARE program. “We don’t have to do a lot of the little fundraising because of it.”
Last year, approximately 2,300 people went through the house, raising nearly $14,000 for the programs.
“The money raised is used to buy a variety of prizes for the students who may not have something,” Gravett said. “It’s also used to put on a graduation ceremony and a pizza party for the kids after they’ve graduated.”
Proceeds are also used to buy materials, videos and props needed during DARE activities and T-shirts and workbooks when necessary.
While Gravett didn’t want to give anything away, he said there are many “little scares” throughout and that there’s something for everybody.
An average of 35 volunteers help run the show every night and they’ll be implementing a new fear in this year’s house: clowns.
The clown room was painted with fluorescent paint and each clown was drawn by Diveley and then painted by her and the committee. Diveley said the haunted house is a great creative outlet.
“Most people fear something,” she said. “We try to find that fear for just about everybody. If anybody has some type of nightmare that really frightens them, we may touch on it down there.”
Depending on how fast you move — or how scared you are — it can take a person 10 to 20 minutes to get through the house.
And because it’s “pretty intense,” Diveley advises parents to think before bringing their children.
“Every child’s different, but for the very young children it may not be very appropriate.”
The committee has been working since January and hopes to put its final touches on the house this week.
“The ending is the most scary,” Diveley said. “I don’t want to give that away.”
DARE fundraiser continues to grow in production, popularity
Fear is brewing in the basement of City Hall.
- Local News
- Taylor Made Win DES MOINES — Albia knew it had a big problem going into the Class 2A Boys State Basketball Tournament. Six feet and 7 inches of a problem, to be precise. Did senior Taylor Feenstra used every bit of his 6-7 frame to rack up a 26-point, 20-rebound dou
- Snow found guilty OTTUMWA — Bobby Snow was found guilty of second-degree murder on Monday, only a couple hours after jurors received the case. Conviction required the state to prove Snow struck James McElroy and that McElroy died as a result in May 2011. Prosecutors a
- 'Eat, drink and be murdered' OTTUMWA — Eating a delicious dinner can be the highlight of any evening, but it will hopefully just be the start of a very entertaining night on Friday. Main Street Ottumwa’s second annual Murder Mystery dinner kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday in the Hotel
Preparing for the worst
OTTUMWA — A quick glance at the scene at Indian Hills North Campus this weekend may have looked like a horrible traffic accident. A bus was turned on its side and cars were crushed under semi trucks. But the sounds of laughter and instruction soon ca
- Finding out where real confidence comes from OTTUMWA — More than 160 women and girls poured into First Pentecostal Assembly of God Church on Saturday, ready to hear about confidence throughout the generations at the ninth annual Daughter of the King Conference. Four speakers were asked to speak
- Liberty student OK after struck by car OTTUMWA — A very scary and dangerous event took place Thursday morning at Liberty Elementary School when a student was struck by a moving vehicle, but thankfully no one was seriously injured in the accident. According to Dr. Davis Eidahl, Ottumwa Com
- Sustained warmup finally in forecast OTTUMWA — It looks like southeast Iowa is going to have a long-overdue warmup, and this time it should be sustained for more than a couple days. Forecasters say Sunday and Monday should both be well above normal. Highs Sunday will be around 52. Monda
- Ottumwans taking their small businesses global OTTUMWA — Usually people think of major industries as global businesses. Several Ottumwans are changing that point of view without ever leaving southeast Iowa. The Etsy website gives small, artsy, often home-based businesses a platform to sell their
- City goals and strategies outlined in meeting OTTUMWA — In order to sustain success in the future, the Ottumwa City Council has a lot of goals that need to be reached. At a city goal setting meeting on Thursday night, goals that the council want to reach in the next two years were outlined and i
- Almost ready OTTUMWA — Sending nearly half of Ottumwa's kids to Liberty Elementary School was just part of the plan for elementary attendance on the south side. On Monday, the school board will see the other part of the plan: reconstruction of Douma Elementary Sc
- More Local News Headlines