Introduction: From 1989-2007, the Foxboro Jaycees Haunted House was the largest not-for-profit Haunt in New England, our biggest fundraiser, an extremely popular event attended by thousands of people, and my favorite Jaycee project. My Haunted House columns for 2002 and 2003 both used a “Question and Answer” format so there was a great degree of repetition between the two years. Therefore, this column (below) is a combination of the two with the duplication removed. Of course, this is an archive, so things like show times, dates, price, and out-of-date historical context, are removed. So why include this column here? I think it’s well worth a read because the Jaycees’ enthusiasm and dedication to our Haunted House – and helping the community – is readily apparent, as is my great love for the chapter and our Haunted House. I put a lot of passion into these columns, and the excitement of our annual boo-fest always shines through. Those were good times.
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by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter October 2002 and October 2003, taylored for each year.
For ten years I have been proud to count myself among the membership of the Foxboro Jaycees, and for the eleventh year I am taking part in our Haunted House. To say I’m obsessed is a bit of an understatement; I started the graphics for the web site in February, it’s all I’ve thought about for the last month, and even my mother says I’m “weirder than usual” this time of year.
The Foxboro Jaycees Haunted House is Foxboro’s ORIGINAL Haunted House, and we feature an indoor/outdoor walking guided tour (in groups of 10) set in an abandoned scout camp in the woods. Visit 13 sites and cabins filled with scenes from your worst nightmares. A live-action 25-minute show with more than 50 actors, ghosts and ghouls over a three-acre course. A most professional all-volunteer show in our 15th year. All Volunteer. All proceeds go back to the community. Only $9. Free parking. Concessions and facilities available. We’re easy to find. 100% of our profits directly benefit the community. We WILL scare you, make you laugh, and give you a great show, but… our Haunt is VERY scary and intense, and not recommended for kids under 10.
Q. Who are you?
A. We’re the Foxboro Jaycees. Don’t you read history?
Q. Why do the Jaycees have a Haunted House every October?
A. Our Haunted House is our largest fund-raiser of the year. As a not-for-profit community service organization, the Jaycees must raise the money necessary to fund all our projects. By visiting the Jaycee Haunted House, you help us make possible our multitude of community services, as well as scholarships, donations, and far more.
Q. Projects? Like what?
A. Well, the Haunted House, as well as our Founder’s Day concession/glow stick sales, Christmas tree sales, and so on, funds everything we do for the community such as the Serve food co-op, free summer concerts on the common, Senior Appreciation Day, National Family Night Out, sand for seniors, CYO basketball clinic, New Year’s first baby awards, Easter egg hunt, pancake breakfast to benefit Foxboro Youth Basketball, Founders Day activities, blood drives, teddy bear delivery to traumatized children, moving senior citizens in need of assistance, mothers / fathers day activities, as well as Christmas activities such as tree sales, Santa on the common, and refurbishing and setting up the nativity set, as well as nearly 100 other community development, individual development and membership projects.
Q. Is the Jaycee Haunted House Scary?
A. Of course it’s scary, hence the term, “Haunted House.” On previous journeys through our Haunted House, a rain forest official lost his head, literally. Long dead kings decapitated screaming victims. A camp chef served up eyeball soup and rat surprise. A captured extraterrestrial escaped Area 51. A jealous husband hanged Cassie, his cheating wife. The insane cannibal Colonel Lee Johnson broke out of jail to continue his murderous rampage. 130 angry Jaycees murdered an annoying bear. An evil mine god brought chaos through a mysterious element called Unobtainium. Aliens landed at Roswell and decapitated helpless abductees. The crypt of Edgar Allen Poe brought new meaning to terror. The Chateau de Vampris vampires fed their queen the blood of screaming victims. Pictures, tables and other objects came flying at us. Sometimes, even the walls seemed to be moving. We’ve had brushes with insane murderers, crazed camp counselors, raving corn farmers, ax-wielding mayors, bizarre counterparts of the New England Patriots, doctors wielding chain saws, serial killers, and even more terrifying encounters with supernatural beings like Dracula and the Devil himself. We’ve encountered ghosts in taverns, nautical museums, movie theatres, and a stagecoach. Even the most benign looking places hold unspeakable terrors. It is definitely too intense for kids under 10 – but we have another Haunted House for them.
Q. Do tell?
A. We offer a second Haunted House; our kid-friendly Mini-Haunt at the Walpole Mall! Our Mini-Haunted House is a less intense, less scary, kid-friendly version of our award-winning Haunted House in Foxboro. This Mini-Haunt is also created and staffed by the Foxboro Jaycees and is our way of helping the little ones celebrate Halloween without them being too scared (or traumatized). The Mini Haunt is a guided tour through an entire Haunted store, and is far more “cute” than scary.
Q. Two Haunted Houses. Sounds like a lot of work.
A. That’s more of an observation rather than a question, but yes, it’s a huge endeavor involving over two months work. The committee — led by the chairman — coordinate every aspect of our Haunted House: finances and budget, writing a script, supervising construction, obtaining the proper permits, finding and purchasing needed construction supplies and props, makeup, cleaning, painting, cleaning up the vampire cabin after a fresh kill, publicity, graphics, web design, manpower, concessions, landscaping, plumbing, electrical, ticket sales, and about a zillion other logistic concerns. Each committee member is responsible for a specific area of our Haunt, and several of these areas (for example, publicity) require sub-committees to get all the work done! Reading this roster, you can appreciate what a massive undertaking out Haunted House really is. We’re very proud of our committee and the impressive Haunted House they have produced.
Q. So who is the 2002 Haunted House chairman?
A. Derek House is this year’s Haunted House chairman, and he is the supervisor of every aspect of our Haunt. Derek, a Jaycee Senator, has been very active in the Jaycees chapters here in Foxboro and elsewhere and had done an excellent job coordinating our Haunt this year.
Q. So who is the 2003 Haunted House chairman?
A. This year we are fortunate to have David Fisler and Paul Lanza, two long-time Jaycees who have been closely involved in all aspects of most of our previous Haunted Houses. They and their committee coordinate every aspect of our Haunted House.
Q. Are all Jaycees vampires?
A. Not all, but the coolest guides and best room people are usually vampires.
Q. I see you guys at the camp in August. Do you really have to start so early?
A. Yes! We clean. We landscape. We have committee meetings. We began planning the scares for each cabin and walk by. We begin sawing. Hammering. Raking. Wiring. Cleaning. Painting. Refurbishing. We spend the summer creating our illusions. The script is written. Costumes are assembled and purchased. Concessions are readied. Speakers are wired. The atomic pile is recharged. Entire cabins are restructured. Hundreds of gallons of paint and dozens of panels of sheet rock, and countless stacks of lumber are used in construction. We dig out our props and begin incorporating them into our sets. We hide the bodies where they will never be found. We make new props. The electrical wiring needs are implemented. We rehearse. We advertise. We consume a lot of potato chips and soda… Must… sleep… now
Q. You’ve been doing this how long?
A. The Jaycees Haunted House started in October 1989, the same month as the meteor shower over Smallville, Kansas.
Q. How do I get to the Jaycee Haunted House – the scary one here in Foxboro?
We’re easy to find. We’re located at Camp Lincoln Hill Foxboro, 156 Oak Street. Take Mass Route 95 to Exit 8 (Mechanic Street Foxboro) and turn onto Oak Street at the blinking light, we are 1.5 miles on the left. You can get detailed directions on the Jaycees web site at www.foxborojaycees.org
Q. Do use strobe lights in your Haunt?
A. Yes — beware that we use strobe lights and fog machines in our Haunt. Our research has proven that only 1 in 9 people will go insane and burst into flames when exposed to these lights, so the odds are in your favor!
Q. How much is parking?
A. Our parking is free. Isn’t that nice of us? We thought it was really nice of us.
Q. Have any Jaycees guides ever been convicted of murdering unruly haunted house patrons?
A. Convicted? No.
Q. Is Pluto a planet?
Yes. Pluto was labeled a planet at the time of its discovery by the international astronomical union who has authority over such matters.
Q. Anything else?
A. One more thing. My first encounter with the Jaycees 10 years ago was at the haunted house – a decade later, I am proud to be counted among the membership of an organization that continues to do so much for Foxboro. Come see the Foxboro Jaycees haunted house this month. You won’t spend a lot of money and you’ll benefit your community, and the organization that daily exemplifies its creed that, “…service to humanity is the best work of life”