LINCOLN, Maine — Haunted Hill is back, and if Steve Clay and Amanda Woodard fulfill their dreams, the community event will be a nightmare for everybody else.
Work on the town-sponsored haunted house began at Ballard Hill Community Center on Monday with Woodard starting to hang the black cloth and other elements that made the house’s inaugural opening a success last year. The town’s events coordinator said about 20 percent of the preparation work is done.
The haunted house will run Saturdays in October starting Oct. 6 until Halloween on Oct. 31. Haunted Hill will also open on Friday, Oct. 21 before Halloween, Woodard said. It was open Fridays and Saturdays through October 2011, but organizers decided against that this year.
“Friday night is football night and our numbers last year were lower on Friday versus Saturday. This way it gives us a chance to get more volunteers,” Woodard said Monday.
Volunteers were an integral part of Haunted Hill and its success in 2011. The community event drew more than 1,000 people last year.
As conceived by Clay, the Town Council’s chairman, and executed by Woodard and several volunteers, Haunted Hill followed an axiom long held in horror movies during its first year: What is suggested is far more frightening than what is seen.
The designers used fog machines, music and loud noises, strobe lights, large swathes of black cloth hung over scaffolding and on some walls and as many as 30 actor-volunteers to alter the contours of the rooms and disorient and frighten the customers.
Several children cried, some adults were so frightened that they had to be escorted from the building, but nobody complained. Most people really seemed to enjoy it, Woodard and Clay have said.
With its creaking wooden floors and narrow staircases, large steam pipes and some scarred basement walls — all the things that make some town leaders want to sell or demolish it — the community center is the perfect place for the event.
The money earned last year should help make Haunted Hill better this year, Woodard said, though she declined to say exactly how it will be spent. Clay also declined to comment, saying he hadn’t yet started work on the community event.
Anyone interested in volunteering or contributing to Haunted Hill can call Woodard at 794-3372 or see her at the town office, she said. Woodard plans to prepare the building herself but encouraged volunteers, especially high schoolers, to contact her so she can begin organizing the event’s performers.