NEW HARBOR — Raised by a single mom, April Morrison and her older brother, Michael Morrison, didn’t have a lot of extras growing up, but they had a lot of fun. The youngest daughter and son of eight children, April and Michael loved to decorate their mother’s house in New Harbor every Halloween, putting all of their creativity and resources into handmade elaborate costumes and props.
“One year I said I wished for a dragon, and he actually built me one,” said April. From there, the two, who happen to be 10 years apart, always conspired together to make the next Halloween even bigger and spookier. “Usually my brother would dress up and scare the kids who came to Trick Or Treat,” she said, adding, he still did this well into his 20s. “As I got older, I was able to help him create more props,” she said.
For the last 14 years, the entire Morrison family has held a free “Scare-Fest” on Halloween weekend for kids and the community at their mother’s house. Michael still channels his inner kid every year by constructing a gigantic plywood castle facade along with a maze and spooky props to go with it. It takes the family as well as volunteers about a month to set up the full construction.
“The way we were raised, we didn’t have a lot of extra money, so that’s the main reason we keep this free for kids and families,” said April. “People tell us all of the time that we should charge admission, but that adds up for an entire family and becomes too expensive.”
Just last year the Morrisons decided to attach a theme to their annual event and came up with Twisted Fairy Tales.
This year, their theme is “Face Your Fears” and the haunted castle will feature classic phobias including spiders, staring dolls and clowns, among other willy nillys.
The Morrisons state: “All willing to confront phantoms and phobias will be rewarded with something sweet—unless you are afraid of sugar,in which case you will be chased with something sweet.”
“It’s funny, there are certain age groups where kids are a little more frightened of everything,” said April. “Some of the smallest kids are fascinated by all of the props, which is really surprising. Then there are teenagers who come, but sometimes won’t even get out of the car because they’ve psyched themselves out.”
The Haunted Castle’s Keep Scare-Fest will be open to the public on October 30, 31 and November 1 from 5-9 p.m. The address is 2634 Bristol Road (Route 130) in New Harbor, just past Reilly’s store. “Look to your left for the fog bank” the directions say. Find out more at their Facebook page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com