When Craig LaBrie starts talking about the Haunted Hotel, his eyes light up.
For him, having the opportunity to offer this event is something he looks forward to each year.
One look at the detailed drawing of his plan for 2019 is proof of that.
This year marks the sixth time that the Francois Haunted Hotel is being offered by Celebrate Redwood Falls, and according to Craig and Cindy LaBrie, the planning for this year’s event steps up in August when more of the board members begin getting involved in the planning and development of what will be shared with the public.
Of course, for Craig, planning of the haunted hotel is going on all year long. After all, no two years are ever the same.
The Francois Haunted Hotel is being offered this year Oct. 25 and 26, as well as Halloween night (Oct. 31). The event held in downtown Redwood Falls takes place from 7-10 p.m.
Those who attend the event held at the site of the old Francois Hotel on the corner of Second and Washington streets will experience life in a hotel, as they walk into the hotel lobby, check in and then wait for their “room number” to be called.
The LaBries emphasized what make the local event different is that people are able to wait for their tour inside, rather than standing outside in the elements.
The story of the hotel is shared with visitors and then in small groups they begin the tour.
Cindy said there are a number of new things that have been added, but said people will have to come and see for themselves what they are.
A TV screen is set up in the lobby where those who are waiting their turn are able to watch others as they scream at those things that are scaring them. Yet, they never see in advance what is hiding in the dark.
Craig said technology is playing more and more of a role in haunted house events, and while that is also the case for the Francois Hotel the human element is still a big part of the experience.
“I think you get the best scare with people when they come within inches of you,” said Craig with a smile.
While the public is encouraged to come any time, Cindy said the wait is typically the shortest on Friday with Saturday a close second. The Halloween night event is by far the busiest.
There were 671 people who came through the Haunted Hotel last year, indicating that the event is well received. The guestbook also demonstrates that the audience for the hotel is widening, as more people from the region are coming.
Admission to the Francois Haunted Hotel is $10, and those who attend are also asked to bring a non-perishable item for the food shelf.
This event is not recommended for those under the age of 13.
“This is not a fun house,” said Craig. “We are going to try and scare you."
In addition to the Haunted Hotel, Monsters on Main Street is again being held this year. The family-friendly event is being held this coming Saturday (Oct. 26) from 2-5 p.m. This is the fourth year that Monsters on Main has been held.
During the event, there will be fun activities set up on Second Street, with support from local businesses and organizations. Additional support from local groups is being accepted. Those who would like to help are encouraged to contact Cindy at (425) 941-0917.
New this year is a costume parade, which is being held at 2:30 p.m. So, everyone is encouraged to come that day in their costume.
The Haunted Hotel is also going to be open Oct. 26, with no scare tours from 3-4 p.m. and low scare tours from 4-5 p.m. Donations of $1 are being accepted for the tours.
There were more than 550 people who attended the Monsters on Main event last year.
Volunteers are still sought to help out with these nights, as the LaBries said it typically takes 50 or more people to put on the event each night. Those who are interested in helping are encouraged to contact Laura Kohler at (507) 640-0209. One can also find out how to help by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LaBries expressed their appreciation to those who volunteer their time each year to make the Francois Haunted Hotel a success.
To learn more, visit Celebrate Redwood Falls on its Web site or on Facebook.