Check in to Aurelia's Halloween tradition
There's fun and fright again in Aurelia, as the Bates Motel checks visitors in for a fourth year this Halloween.
There was a preview for those close to the project last Saturday, with the spooky fun kicking off for the general public this Saturday, Oct. 19.
While the haunted house may remind people of the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Psycho," the name actually comes from a Dr. Bates who used to practice in the very same space of the downtown building.
Visitors will be greeted by a glowing neon sign proclaiming "Bates Motel" before climbing stairs to a hair-raising scary time.
Guests will "check in" in the motel lobby before receiving a room key to explore 15 rooms of fun and terror.
It's a new set up this year, with the Haunted Bates Motel and Funhouse. The first half of the tour includes a lighter side of spooky - such as Bones' Disco and a chef and his eyeball stew - while those with a stronger constitution can continue on the tour for the more scary side of things, including mad doctors, terrifying creatures and a screaming locomotive.
Denny and Pam Allen own the building, and decided to put the unused second story back into use as a haunted house four years ago. It is all volunteer help that puts the ghoulish touches on the house every year.
"There are 70 sick and deluded people in Aurelia," joked one volunteer.
The Bates Motel started as a makeshift maze of cardboard and black plastic, and has evolved into something more ghoulish over the years.
Upwards of 600 people will tour the house this year, with people coming from a 60-mile radius to check it out - from high school students making the loop of area haunted houses to families as far away as Minnesota wanting something scary to feast their eyes on.
"We have everyone from kids to those young at heart," said Pam Allen. "I know at least one person who was 83 and decided to come."
Reactions are as varied as the guests, from some high school students dropping flat on their backs in fright, while some of the older guests are more than delighted.
"Some visitors are disconcerted, while others go right back to the line," Allen said.
Also, plans are in the works for Aurelia's annual Harvest Hoopla on Saturday, Oct. 26. Along with the Bates Motel, there will be a variety of other activities going on in Aurelia.
There will be the Little Spooks House of Fun, sponsored by Friends of Aurelia, with activity stations at the Heritage Bank Basement and empty lot next to the bank. Admission is $3, and it is suggested for 5th graders on up.
There will be carnival rides, a yard decorating contest and a pumpkin recipe contest. For the pumpkin recipe contest, entries need to be at the Aurelia Library by 4 p.m. with winners announced at 5:30 p.m. There will be $10 prizes in categories including the most unusual, the best appetizer, the best main dish and the best dessert.
The Kiddy Parade will start at 5 p.m. starting at City Hall.
Bates Motel is open Saturday, Oct. 19, from 7-10 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 26, from 6-10 p.m.; and again on Halloween from 7-9 p.m.
There are 15 rooms of fun or fright. The lighter side of the Haunted Hotel is only $2. That with the spooky side is $4. The Bates Motel is sponsored by the Aurelia Commercial Club.
As the sign reads over the staircase for those leaving, "The Bates Motel thanks you. Come again if you dare."