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Hesperia welcomes Halloween with scares, costumes
The chill of the October night air wasn't the only cause of shivers on Friday night, as the doors of the fourth annual Hesperia Haunted House were opened to the public.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Hesperia Explorer Post #505 hosted the house at 9393 Santa Fe Ave. East (the old police station), scaring people of all ages.
“Don’t hurt me,” said Ayden Barnes, 6, as he exited the house with his parents Richard and Monique, and brother Rider, 1. It was a phrase Ayden repeated during his walk through the house, Richard said.
“Wonderful, like Knott’s Berry Farm,” Paula Ortega said, with a fast beating heart, as she teased her group of friends for being scared.
Heather Perkins brought Tajena Maiden, 8, of Pasadena and Anthony Ricks, 16, of San Bernardino to go inside, but when Maiden saw, “a demon with a long saggy chin,” she refused to go in, leaving Ricks to go in alone.
Seeing Maiden’s fear, the teens hosting the house offered to tone it down a bit, Perkins said.
“[We] wanted to provide a safe and fun environment for families within the community,” said Deputy Lisa Guerra, an advisor of the Hesperia Explorer Post, of the Haunted House’s inception in 2008.
The Explorer program allows interested youths to see “what law enforcement is and [how to] become a law enforcement officer,” said Deputy John Clough, with events like the Haunted House providing funds for “competitions, uniforms and trips,” for the Explorers.
The Explorer Post includes Coordinator Sergeant Doug Hubbard, four Deputy Advisors — Lisa Guerra, Derek Stokes, John Clough and Chad Gomez — and 29 Explorers between the ages of 14-20 who participate in the planning and operation of the haunted house.
Last year, the bad economy effected businesses leaving the haunted house with, “no sponsors at all,” said Deputy Derek Stokes preventing it from being held in 2011. This year’s haunted house is bigger with a total of eight rooms to walk through, Guerra said.
Volunteers also include family members of deputies, Boy Scouts from Troop #450, Hesperia Citizens On Patrol and others, bringing more than 75 people to assist with the Haunted House and the other activities on Halloween.
“[It’s] fun to give back to the community,” said Curtis Bennington, 19, an Explorer who has volunteered at the haunted house since it began in 2008.
“[I] walk around and scare people,” said Jessalyn Stokes, 10, who will share her
11th birthday on Halloween as a volunteer inside the house while her father will volunteer where needed.
At 4 p.m. on Halloween, the haunted house will be open. There will also be several activities and treats available outside: DJ, carnival games, a fortune teller, face painting, a dunk tank, bounce house, cotton candy, popcorn, Out of This World BBQ, among others, and a costume contest.
Those interested in the costume contest at 7 p.m. should show up at 6:30 p.m. to check-in. Prizes will be given for scariest, funniest or most original costume in three categories: adult, teen and child, and best baby costume for babies, Guerra said.