The Mansfield Haunted Hollows has become a town tradition over the past eight years.
This year will prove to be no exception to the frights, as over 100 Mansfield High School student volunteers have signed up to help out.
“Every night there’s at least 60 to 70 high school kids every night,” Haunted Hollows committee member Patricia Colbert said.
Originally, the event was started by then MHS students Ben Yeransian, Tyler Schmidt, Tate Shepard, and Lauren Pillsbury. They originally started the event in a barn in Shepard’s back yard, but in 2008 they were given permission by the Mansfield Board of Selectmen to move to their current location on 401 Oakland St. The move was suggested by current selectmen George Dentino.
“It started real small,” Colbert said.
This year, the group is focusing on a nightmare theme. Without giving anything away, Colbert said that each of the 11 scenes will be based on a common nightmare scenario. She added that this year will be very special, as Yeransian will be visiting from college to help out on certain scenes.
“They built the main structures,” Colbert said. “They did on this site for two years, and this will be our third year.”
And the work does not start in October, in fact it doesn’t even start in the Summer. Preparation work begins in the spring, and parents, students and volunteers work all through the months to bring the site to its proper spookability.
“It’s a lot of hours over the summer planning, writing the scripts; Janine [Rose, another committee member] oversees all the building… It’s a lot of work,” Colbert said.
All the work for students now counts as community service hours, because the work helps community organizations. Each youth leader, who volunteers during the spring and summer, can accumulate over 150 hours of service.
“You can get service hours for the National Honors Society or the Mansfield Confirmation program,” Colbert said.
In past years, all the proceeds went to the newly constructed Mansfield Animal Shelter. But this and last year, since the shelter was completed, the proceeds will be donated to other organizations in town.
Haunted Hollows donated half the proceeds to the Mansfield Animal Shelter at $4,000, and divided the remaining money to the West Side Benevolent Society with $2,600 and the Our Daily Bread Food Pantry at $1,300.
In total, the event has raised over $34,000 for the construction of the new animal shelter.
“Mansfield Haunted Hollows donated the largest single nonprofit donation [to the Mansfield Animal Shelter],” Colbert said. “It made a difference, which is nice.”
She said that amenities are not provided for the students, due to lack of funds, and she said the kids never complained.
“The kids, when they come on site, they love it,” she said. “
Colbert added that all supplies for the event are scavenged, with the exception of wooden pallets, which are donated by the adjoining company. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 104 also raises small funds
“Aside from that, we go by yard sales and go by trash and say that could be whatever we need it to be,” she said.
Colbert said the kids don’t leave when the last tickets are sold at 10 p.m. Colbert said
that the kids are on location until midnight most nights setting down and securing their supplies.
“The performances is what brings it all together but the summer work is demanding,” Colbert said. “It’s demanding on the kids, it’s demanding on us.
The performance is Oct. 19, 20, 26, 27, and Nov. 2 and 3 at 401 Oakland St. from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The last ticket is sold at 10pm. The cost is $10.00 per ticket.
Click here to see a gallery from last year's show.