PORT ANGELES — After eight years of scares and frights, Elks Naval Lodge No. 353 has canceled this year’s Fifth Floor haunted house due to a shortage of volunteers, according to an organizer.
Since 2008, the haunted house at 131 E. First St. had offered both child-friendly and adult-oriented Halloween season entertainment.
“It takes a lot of people to get it to fly,” said Sherrie Riggs, lodge secretary.
“It usually takes between 10 and 30 [volunteers], at least,” to operate the haunted house, she said.
That includes those who set up the haunted house and the actors needed to work in the haunted house “for three or four nights,” Riggs said.
“They have to be here for four to six hours … each night. It takes up a lot of time. When you have people that work 40-hour weeks and then have to volunteer 40 hours, they kind of run out of time and energy.”
Funds raised by admission to the haunted house benefited Elks college scholarships and the Elks National Foundation, Riggs said.
The scholarships are distributed at the end of each spring semester to graduating seniors at Port Angeles and Crescent high schools, she said.
Between $3,000 and $5,000 was raised each year through the haunted house, Riggs said.
Now, the Elks will need to seek funding through other means, she said.
“We are just going to have to find another fundraiser,” Riggs said.
The Elks Lodge will still hand out candy to costumed youngsters Oct. 31 during Downtown Trick-or-Treat!, she said.
“We figure we [will] go through about 4,000 pieces of candy with those downtown trick-or-treaters, so we are asking for donations, as much as we can get, this year,” Riggs said.
Candy can be dropped off at the Elks Lodge’s front office during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
Riggs said there is a possibility the haunted house could return in 2017 if there is enough public interest.
“That is our goal: to regroup and come back bigger and better next year,” she said.
“We will start planning in January instead of September so we know we can get it off the ground. We want this [the event] to happen again. It is there ready to go. It just needs people.”
For more information, call the lodge at 360-457-3355.
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@ peninsuladailynews.com.