In the spring of 2010 Todd Fedyshyn approached Bill Bartlow with an idea. Both were huge fans of Halloween and in years past had set up elaborate displays celebrating the holiday in their front yards. The proposal was to combine all their decorations and create an indoor haunted attraction at the Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) to be a fundraiser for the agency. STIC’s Executive Director, Maria Dibble, was convinced that it was a viable proposal and agreed to grant use of space in the facility’s basement for the project. “The Haunted Halls of Horror” was on its way to becoming a reality.
Resources were pooled and a planning committee of interested STIC employees was formed. All work would be on a voluntary basis at no cost to STIC. Over the next months scenes were set and populated with the creatures and props we had available. A synergy of lighting, soundtracks, fog, brainstorming, tickets, posters, publicity and “Scare-Actors” in makeup and costumes resulted in a surprisingly successful first season. With just over eight hundred visitors on a “make-do” budget we had created a fun Halloween attraction and raised funds for STIC’s mission.
Next came 2011. It was time to take what we had learned and expand. Maria agreed. STIC’s Board of Directors approved an operating budget for the fund raiser and we were back to work at the start of the year. This was serious. When a not for profit agency invests precious funds in your project you have to come through.
We started by coming through the walls in the basement to lay out a path to our feature attractions that would encompass over eight thousand square feet. STIC volunteers spent their weekends constructing a winding labyrinth more than triple the size of 2010’s haunt. More room meant more scenes and an opportunity to include a greater variety of Halloween themes.
Creepy creativity was unleashed and unsuspected talents transformed the halls to a new level of “Haunted”.
The word was out. STIC was getting it out with radio, press, media coverage. Event posters went up over Binghamton’s East side. Corporate sponsors partnered with STIC pledging donations, along with private businesses and individuals. STIC staff joined volunteers from the community, including Binghamton University and Broome Community College, to fill our “scare-actors” roster. The halls were opened with ghosts, goblins, were-wolves, witches, the dead and undead, clowns, and all manner of bone chilling alter egos. For eight nights we howled as over two thousand people came though our doors to see what was in STIC’s basement.
Our 2nd annual Haunted Halls of Horror had not only been a popular success, we had surpassed the board investment to return a significant contribution to fund STIC programs.
The Haunt 2012 and 2013 “We want all that and more”. That’s the plan. The third and fourth annual Haunted Halls of Horror were a huge successes. Turns out our thousands of visitors did too. We pushed the envelope and accomplished things we could have never dreamed of. But we are not finished yet.......Did someone say “FIRE?” Well sure people are attracted to it, and they will be engaged by the spectacle of dancing fire spinners. Again be displayed the intricate carved Jack "O" Lanterns of local artist Eric Carpenter in the reception area. It is also there where we premiered a movie trailer of the Haunted Halls followed by our animatronic rocking talking skeleton, “Buckey”, with instructions and warnings for our visitors. And did someone say ZOMBIES??? Let’s just say we purchased the contents of a haunted house in Ocean City NJ, and you have no idea what we have done with it.
Our indoor, weatherproof attraction stands in a dedicated space allowing us to work on it all year long. After Halloween we take a holiday break, but by January, we’re fully engaged in the planning and implementation of the coming Octobers’ Haunted Halls new designs, features and creatures. We appreciate your support of our fundraising effort and it is our goal to provide our visitors with a haunted attraction experience that meets and exceeds their expectations for Halloween thrills and fun.
Come and enjoy what we have created for you in this, our fifth year.