Next to quiet pastures and winding rural roads in the wooded land outside Rainier sits a tormented fever dream of a house.
The structure is engulfed in a tangle of glowing bones and shackles. Skeletons hang from the sill of the house and adorn the entrance like jewels.
On one side of the eave is a carnival ride born from a nightmare: a ferris wheel operated and ridden by skeletons. On the other side, a hooded figure of bones holds the reins of a horse without any skin.
During any other month this house, in its natural form, would fit right into the picturesque setting it’s located in, but not in October. In October it’s no longer a regular house. In October it’s Black Bone’s House of the Twisted and Bizarre.
Scott Sebring is the mastermind behind the Beaver Home’s Grange Haunted House, which has put on a haunted house for at least a decade, maybe two, he said.
Sebring was brought in to design the annual attraction in 2009, and has been transforming the grange into twisted scenes of a variety of themes ever since. He starts planning the design and construction at the start of September each year, he said. This year’s theme is the continuation of prior years’, but Sebring estimates that at least 2,500 hours of work have gone into the design and construction of Black Bone’s House of the Twisted and Bizarre.
With the help of his children and volunteers he transforms the grange from its usual form into a maze of terror using materials he’s amassed over the 10-plus years he has worked on the design.
“I’ve got a whole 'nother haunted house in my house,” he said. “I’m not kidding, I could change every bit of this out and bring it down and it would be a whole new haunted house.”
For the month that the grange is outfitted in spiderwebs and bones, Sebring camps on the grange property to keep an eye on the display, and sometimes chase away eager visitors coming to steal an early tour or swipe a skeleton.
A unique year
This year things at the haunted house are a little different.
Masks aren’t uncommon to see around Halloween, but this year at the grange they are mandatory, specifically cloth face masks. Groups will also be spaced out while they wait to enter the house, and a volunteer will be wiping down high-touch areas.
The haunted house has always had a strict “no touching” rule between the volunteer actors and the guests, but this year the two groups will be separated by sheets of plastic to reduce the chance of transmitting COVID-19.
“I want to make sure they’re as safe as I can get them,” Sebring said. He and Dawn Getzlaff, master of the grange, have a cleaning and safety plan in place to make sure both guests and volunteers are as safe as possible during the tours. Instead of offering games and a dining area in the basement for visitors after the tour, the grange will offer food to go.
All are welcome at the haunted house, which offers kids a toned-down version of the tour if they are afraid to enter. Sebring said he wants to make sure that the children get a chance to enjoy Halloween, especially this year when so many events have been cancelled or are no longer accessible.
“I try to do a lot for the little kids,” he said. “I like to scare the hell out of the teens and the adults, but the little kids should enjoy themselves.”
While a pandemic might be frightening enough for some people, Sebring wanted to bring back the frightening fun of his haunted house to the community and those who have endured setbacks over the year.
“In this day and age we need something to pick us up, help us, you know?” he said. “Get the bad things that are happening in the world right now out of our mind and get at least a few minutes of something that's cool and fun and something to ease that stress on the human life right now. I enjoy that.”
Black Bone’s House
6:30-9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays until Oct. 31
31105 Beaver Homes Road
$4 kids ages 6-10
$5 seniors and military with ID