‘Haunted Manor’ creeps back to town for Halloween

Countryside, IL

CEP Youth Leadership, formerly Community Extension Project, has resurrected from the dead the “Haunted Manor” haunted house after a six year hiatus to put the scream back into Halloween.

Program operations director Cathy Pierson said the Haunted Manor had been a Halloween fixture in the area from 1993 to 2002. There were changes in the agency, and it was determined that CEP no longer had the resources to sponsor it.

“This past year one of our board members brought it up again and said let’s see what we can do,” Pierson said. “During that time, we had between 400 and 500 volunteers. Fortunately we have a lot of our alumni helping out this year.”

La Grange resident Jake Leininger, 26,  is an alumni of the school of screams and volunteered the entire 12-year run. He started when he was about 10.

“I kind of filled the places the bigger guys didn’t want to — like in the witches room, I would be in the cauldron,” he said.

Now Leininger has more of a behind the scenes role by actually creating the scenes.

“This year I built half the walls and put them up and drawed them,” he said. This is something I loved when I was growing up. It gave me a sense of pride to be a 10-year-old kid and make a full-grown man jump.”

Leininger said he has put about 100 hours into the project so far, starting with the planning months ago.

“It’s been six years since this house has been open and I can’t wait for it,” he said.
As for the residents of the house, some familiar faces will be greeting visitors.

“Freddy will be there,” Pierson said. “I’m sure Michael Meyers and Jason will also be there, and the character from ‘Saw.’”

Located at 40 S. Countryside Plaza, next to the Home Depot in Countryside, the haunted house will run from Oct. 16 to 31, from 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays, Wednesdays a Thursdays; and from 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The house will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Cost is $10.

A lights-on children’s matinee will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., Oct. 24 and Oct. 31, featuring friendlier characters and activities. The cost is $5.

A $1 off coupon will be available at various businesses and at www.hauntedmanorcepyl.com.

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