Volunteers help charity house succeed

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    At Hangman’s House of Horrors the volunteers have a large role in the planning and production of the haunted house.They play a part in everything from the theme to the sets, said Aryn Young, a 2002 TCU graduate and production assistant for La-De-Da Productions, the theatrical production company that sponsors Hangman’s.

    According to www.hangmans.com, “It takes more than 1,000 volunteers to bring this house to life!”

    In a creative meeting in late spring, the volunteers selected the “Final Cut” movie theme as well as the overall direction of the house, Young said.

    The volunteers selected the movies that would be represented, designed the sets and began constructing them in early summer.

    “This year’s theme lent itself to quite a bit of creativity, and we have awesome artistic directors,” Young said. “We’ve been getting rave reviews on our sets and props. Some patrons even go through twice just to make sure they didn’t miss anything.”

    Hangman’s is the top charity-benefiting haunted house in the world, and the volunteers vote each year on the organizations the fundraising will benefit, Young said.

    This year’s group selected the American Cancer Society, a Wish with Wings, the Humane Society of North Texas, Lone Star Film Society and Women’s Haven of Tarrant County.

    “We tried to create a broad range so that the community was getting an even amount of support,” Young said of the selection.

    The volunteer’s work has paid off, as Hangman’s has donated more than $1.3 million to local charities since it opened its doors in 1989, Young said.

    The houses are filled with about 100 actors each night, Young said.

    Also on the volunteer list are “Monster Parents,” who check on the actors, bring them water or arrange bathroom breaks, Young said.

    Aaron White, 22, who is in his second year volunteering at Hangman’s, said he enjoys the acting because it releases tension.

    “You work all week, and then come here,” White said.

    Young said there are about 10 to 20 permanent actors that work every night, and other groups rotate to fill the other nights.

    Fred Patterson, 43, is in his eleventh year with Hangman’s and is one of the permanent actors. Patterson plays the role of Paul in “Hillbillies of the Corn,” an additional attraction on the property.

    Patterson said he comes back year after year because he enjoys being a part of a worthy cause.