Some say haunted house too gruesome
A dentist’s room with blood spraying everywhere and a Donner Party-themed deli – some called it creative, others called it downright disgusting.
This year’s Tahoe Truckee High School haunted house created a stir with a Truckee parent, who said the haunted house was too gory and disturbing.
“Witches, spooky music and dry ice are one thing,” said Truckee-parent Faith Yeider, who took her 7-year-old to the Truckee Community Center on Thursday to check out the student-run haunted house. “[The children] didn’t understand why the guy in the mask was beating a girl to death with a baseball bat. They were shocked.”
After Yeider left the haunted house, she started making phone calls to try and tone down the haunted house, which would be running its second, and final, time on Friday. She threatened to gather other concerned parents and picket in front of the community center if the high school students didn’t remove some of the blood and guts.
“Where was the guidance? Where were the adults in all this?” Yeider said.
After what Yeider calls “a little community action,” Truckee High Principal Mike Finney told the students to tone it down.
Truckee High Senior Brody Dwyer, who was in charge of the project, said the haunted house is not intended for children younger than 14. Dwyer has worked on the haunted house each year of high school. He said it provides an opportunity for students who usually aren’t involved in school activities to feel included.
He also said the student-led project was OK’d by supervising adults.
“The community approved the rooms,” he said.
Dwyer said parents with young children were told at the door that the haunted house might not be suitable. If parents still wanted to send their young ones through the haunted house, Dwyer offered to tell the actors in the house to tone it down before sending the children inside.
The high schoolers also created a “Not-so-Haunted House” for young children. It is usually themed after a Disney cartoon or storybook, said Truckee High leadership teacher Sasha Neumann.
“We leave it up to the parents,” Neumann said. “It’s a haunted house.”
When Yeider was asked if she was given the option of the “Not-so-Haunted House,” she said she was, but “it’s super-cheesy. It’s not even dark.”
“You want it dark. You want it spooky. My kids wanted to be scared,” she said.
After the students were told to change the haunted house on Friday afternoon, Yeider said “The kids really need to be commended. They need to be taught what’s acceptable. I think the kids need to be shown that what they’re doing is right.”
Dwyer said he planned on making minor changes and use less blood and violence. He also mandated that children younger than 14 have parent approval before entering the haunted house.
Although the changes to the haunted house were minor, Dwyer said he was disappointed.
“I think, from my personal view, we don’t do this to offend people,” he said. “A lot of hard work goes into this every year. We do this for the community.”
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