Haunted Shack turns 17, celebrates with weddingThe Haunted Shack in Morgan Park is now in its 17th season — and lead creeper Pat Stojevich promises “lots of big changes” for the 2010 edition.
Unbelievably, Haunted Shack mastermind Pat Stojevich has been rigging spooky displays for more than three decades.
“The very first display I did,” he told the Budgeteer, “was a ghost on a string that was lowered down manually when trick-or-treaters came to my parents’ house.
“The sound effects consisted of an old tape deck with one soundtrack on it that I made myself with the tape-recording feature.”
My, how times have changed. His pet project in Morgan Park is now in its 17th season — and Stojevich promises “lots of big changes” for the 2010 edition of the Haunted Shack.
“We are now 50 percent larger this year,” he beamed. “With the new added space, we are able to incorporate an actual footprint of a haunted shack into our maze.
“This year you will first enter into an actual mock-up of a haunted house, complete with a kitchen, dining room, living room and library.”
Also new this year: Benna Ford is sponsoring a “tunnel of terror,” which required five months of work to construct.
“It is a vortex tunnel that spins around you as you walk through it, causing you to feel like you are traveling through space,” Stojevich said. “This creation required a long planning and building process, but it is a very cool special effect that is new to the Twin Ports area.”
Despite all the new gadgets Stojevich has incorporated into the Morgan Park mainstay, there’s been a lot of talk — at least in these humble pages — about the first wedding at the Haunted Shack. On Oct. 30, former Duluthian (and contributing Budgeteer columnist) Bernadette “Bernie” Nordman will return to her homeland to marry her Montana beau, Roy Wahl.
And, yes, it will literally be at the Haunted Shack in Morgan Park.
“It has been interesting trying to coordinate everything over the phone and via e-mails, but it is going to be awesome, and our actors can’t wait,” said Stojevich, who was first approached by Nordman two years ago about the prospects of a Haunted Shack wedding.
But Stojevich didn’t let wedding logistics get in the way of his annual Haunted Shack preparations.
“Setup has gotten easier over the past years, but it has gotten longer,” he explained when asked if the Shack is on autopilot yet. “This year we started an extra two weeks earlier to do the added space and the additional soundtracks; the technical end has gone from two hours of setup to three or four days of running sound and light cords.”
Luckily, Stojevich doesn’t have to look much further than around his own house for some helping hands.
“Both my sons, Logan and Nathan, have been a big help this year,” he said. “Logan did the entire design layout and headed up the setup of the maze. At 15 years old, he is going to top the old man on his designs.
“Nathan, at the age of 12, has come up with a few awesome scenes and special effects.”
Stojevich’s younger son worked with the Shack’s construction director, Bryan Bjonskaas, to bring his designs to fruition.
“Nathan jumped right in to help cut and assemble the creations with Brian,” Stojevich added, “which are going to be a huge success this year.”
And, as if bringing the Shack to life weren’t enough, Stojevich is also still involved with Lake Superior Zoo’s annual Boo at the Zoo event (which is being held Oct. 9 and 16 this year).
“This will be our sixth year helping with the zoo’s fundraiser, and we are glad to be a big part of it,” said Stojevich, whose contributions include a “tamed-down” version of the Shack. “… It is a great time for those that are too scared to come to our regular show to see what the talented local kids in the community have done with decorating and building the Haunted Shack.”
NEWS TO USE
The Haunted Shack in Morgan Park is open this week from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Cost is $7. Save a dollar by bringing a canned good for the food shelf or receive two-for-one tickets by donating a jacket to the Northland Coat Drive. See www.hauntedshack.com.