By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 9/2008

There will not be a Jaycee haunted house in 2008.

While we were hoping to have one more season and make it an even 20 years, there simply isn’t enough manpower to make the project feasible. Also, times have changed, and all haunted houses have noticed marked drops in attendance over the years. People’s interest in events like amusement parks and haunted houses have waned.

You may know that in 1989, the Mansfield and Foxboro Jaycees embarked on a new, untested fund raiser – a haunted house. By 1992, the Foxboro Jaycees haunted house was an annual event for more than nine thousand visitors each year. Over the last 19 years, we have run our haunt in tunnels under an abandoned hospital on Payson Road, through the woods of Camp Lincoln Hill, and even at the Walpole Mall. In 2006 and 2007 we were delighted to partner with the Orpheum for the haunted theater. All proceeds — 100% — always went directly back into the community.

The closing of the haunted house means we must look to new fundraisers to support our community work.

The Foxboro Jaycees continue to be a dynamic, enthusiastic volunteer organization dedicated to enhancing quality of life through community development projects while growing the skills of our members and providing an opportunity to make lifelong friendships.

We are responsible for a multitude of Foxboro community service projects, such as Founders Day Activities, Literacy Challenge, Summer Concerts on the Common, Easter Egg Hunt, My Hero Essays, Sand for Seniors, Relay for Life, as well as Christmas activities such as Santa on the common, decorating the common with Christmas lights, and refurbishing and setting up the nativity set, and far more.

We built and maintain the Foxboro Common bandstand, the Booth Skating Park and the Payson Road Playground.

We donate money to over 30 different charities, needy individuals, athletes and human service organizations. We donate thousands of dollars each year to the Foxboro Discretionary Fund, Founders Day fireworks committee, Foxboro High School college bound seniors, South Foxboro Community Club and various sports leagues in Foxboro.

Around Foxboro, we are also actively involved helping other worthwhile causes.

We ask for your continued support for our new Ways & Means projects, which will allow us to continue to do our good work in Foxboro.

And we’d love to meet you. If you’re interested in learning more about us, you can visit our web site at

Interested in joining us? Anyone 18+ is welcome! Come to our meetings on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the South Foxboro Community Club at 8pm.

It’s very important to note that the Jaycees are just one of many community organizations that need your help. Volunteerism and memberships are down in all the fraternal organizations — and that’s a shame. The esteemed Foxboro Grange is no more because of declining membership. And every other organization, including the Jaycees, face a bleak future unless new people start stepping up to “pick up the torch.”

So if you have time, please consider talking to folks at the Knights of Columbus, or the Rotary, or any of the other groups in town. Offer to help at Camp Saint Augustine. Or your child’s school. Or the community farm stand. Help is needed for various Doolittle Home events. The Senior Center can always use more smiling volunteers. And the food pantry and discretionary fund always welcome helpers. Your church can always use volunteers. Even if you have only a little time, make the time to give back and be part of something bigger than yourself. It feels fantastic!

One final note about the haunted house. We sincerely thank the town of Foxboro for letting us use the Payson Road Auditorium and Camp Lincoln Hill. We thank our friends at the Walpole Mall for the store front for the Mini-haunt, and send a very special shout-out and thank you to our great friends at the Orpheum Foxboro for two amazing haunts in 2006 and 2007. Please check out the Orpheum’s impressive schedule and top-quality shows by CLICKING HERE

We thank the tens of thousands of patrons who visited our haunted house over 19 years, as well as the Jaycees and volunteers who performed night after night, built sets and assisted in the seemingly infinite tasks required to create and maintain our haunted house. We also thank the many businesses who donated building materials and our sponsors. All of you made a difference.

It was a privilege and thrill for us to perform for you. And your ticket paid for so many community services activities and scholarships and donations. Thank you.

We’ll all miss the haunted house, but there is still so much more to be done. You can help by supporting any community service group or volunteering your services to those who need it.

And please continue to come out and support the Jaycees at our many upcoming events.

Thank you!

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