From pumpkin spice lattes to in-store candy displays to pop-up costume shops, the early signs of Halloween are everywhere. Chances are your children have already changed their minds several times about who they’re going as this year. You’d love to energize their pre-Halloween festivities with a visit to a Haunted House, but parents of younger children face a dilemma: most of those haunts are just too scary.
That’s why Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Hingham came up with a great alternative: The Not-So-Spooky Haunted House. Designed for preschoolers and early elementary school-aged children looking for minimal spooks and optimal entertainment, it’s the perfect Halloween treat for youngsters and their parents. It’s also the only Haunted House of its kind on Boston’s South Shore.
As Not-So-Spooky Haunted House designer Dan Fickes, a St. John’s parishioner, Hingham resident, and father of two girls puts it, “Our goal is to have children love their first haunted house. We do this with friendly ghosts, glowing fluorescent bubbles, and six rooms of child-inspired Halloween fun. Nothing is designed to frighten them. Our goal is for both children and parents to be smiling when they exit the haunt.”
In its fourth year of operation, the haunted house will feature the return of many popular displays including Freddy the Friendly Ghost, who greets visitors in his library and walks them through his little world. This includes his one-room school house, magical black light tunnel, and a haunted pet shop, all inspired by Fickes’ daughters Elise (11) and Kristi (10).
Of course, Fickes is introducing several new concepts for Halloween 2019. If your kids like mermaids, pirates, and treasure, they will love the new room entitled Hingham's Haunted Harbor. Freddy will introduce them to a room full of swashbuckling fun, with singing pumpkins and perhaps even some haunted fireworks from our own Button Island.
The haunt ends with all the children receiving a special pair of glasses (Spooky Specs), enabling them to see the fun in the Hallway of Holograms, before returning to the non-spirit world for donuts, apple cider, and crafts.
The Rev. Tim Schenck, rector of St. John’s, addressed why a church is hosting a Haunted House. “Some people have asked me why a church would be hosting a Halloween event. I mean, ghosts and goblins and spooky stuff...isn't that a little ‘un-Christian?’ And I tell them, ‘Not at all!’ The whole reason Halloween even exists is that All Saints' Day is November 1st. Christians mock death by dressing up in costumes the night before we remember all those who have come before us in the faith.”
In addition to the seasonal context, Father Schenck wants young children to simply be entertained. “This is a way to give younger kids a fun, engaging, not-too-scary Halloween experience in a safe environment. We look forward to opening our doors, dimming the lights, and welcoming the wider community to St. John's for some good, old-fashioned Halloween fun.”
The St. John’s Not-So-Spooky Haunted House will take place on October 18, 19, 25, and 26 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Saint John’s Church, 172 Main Street in Hingham. For more information, contact the parish at 781-749-1535. Admission is $5 per person or $20 for the entire family. For families with special needs only, the haunt will open early at 4:30 pm on Saturday, October 19. You may pay at the door or beat the lines and pre-purchase tickets online. All proceeds support the ministries of the church.