Jason and Christina Stinson's Haunted Extravaganza is back for a second year, offering locals eight full nights of screaming good fun - all to help the homeless.
Jason Stinson, who knows first-hand what it's like to be homeless, is opening the doors of his backyard haunted house to anyone who brings either a canned food item or a gently used article of winter clothing.
"When I was growing up, I did some work feeding the homeless, and a few years ago, I was homeless myself for four months, living in my car, showering at a friend's house and wondering every day how I was going to eat that night," Stinson said.
Last October, with only two nights of operation, the couple was able to donate nine plastic tubs of canned food and five plastic tubs of good quality clothing, said Christina Stinson.
In addition to Friends In Service Helping, which is looking for canned tomato products and pasta, Christina said, Calvary Chapel of Carson City will receive donated food, and the Ron Wood Family Resource Center will benefit from clothing donations.
"We hope to run out of room to transport the donations this year," she said.
FISH Executive Director Jim Peckham said every little bit helps since his organization serves 1,500 people a month.
"Last year, we were feeding 60 people a day in our dining room, and our chef just told me this year we're feeding about 135, and they aren't just homeless people - there are a lot more families," Peckham said. "Ninety-five percent of our budget comes from the community, so any events (like the haunted house), we're very grateful for."
Christina said people who attended last year's haunted house won't even recognize it this year.
"We have 30 actors this year, and we started building in July with the help of our friend Stephanie Richards. We've put so much time and effort into it this year, it's insane."
Visitors will enter a witch's house with a new torture chamber, full maze, a posse of clowns and a funeral.
"We've upgraded the lighting and the sound. If adults send their kids through and then go through themselves, they'll have a completely different experience. We have some secrets that have us personalize the experience for each person. The structure stays the same, but within that structure, things will change," she said.
"I actually hate the haunted house. I'll get out there with a hammer and a paintbrush, but I won't go in it myself, because it scares me," she said.
Christina said she hopes there won't be any problems with the city this year.
In 2010, they were unable to operate one weekend of the two they'd planned because inspections were required by the city's building and fire inspectors before they were allowed to open the haunted house to the public.
"I've left messages, but no one has contacted me," she said, "but we took notes last year as to what and what not to do. We invited both the building and fire inspector out to make sure we have covered all the red tape that kept us closed last year."
The haunted house is at the corner of Broadleaf and Northgate, and will be open from 7-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights Oct. 14-29, and from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31.
Mustang Sally's from Cactus Jacks will cater free coffee and hot chocolate all eight nights.