Backyard haunted house donations go to child with leukemia


Photo By John Bryant

"Biltmore Hauntings" is an on-going outdoor haunted house hosted by a group of friends and family in an effort to raise money for six-year-old-Hannah Oliver, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

  By Jennifer Lassiter
star staff
  jlassiter@starhq.com Constructed from scrap plywood, some old tarps, an old strobe light and a lot of creativity, kids from six different schools built a backyard haunted house to raise money for six-year-old Hannah Oliver, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
  The Happy Valley Elementary School student is the inspiration for a group of approximately 30 family members and friends who assembled a series of scary scenes designed to make you laugh and scare you "a little," according to Tina Heaton.
  Jim and Romona Fox volunteered the use of their land for the haunted house to be staged and Heaton is assisting with the organization of the haunted outdoor drama, "Biltmore Hauntings."
  "Since it's an outside haunted house we're asking people to call in advance, due to the possibility of rain," said Heaton.
  Tour guide and host, DJ Fox, 8, greets and leads guests through the haunted backyard maze starting at 116 Boogie Down Halloween.
  Dressed in costumes and whatever they could put together, kids are stationed all over the haunted grounds. On Headless Avenue, the "Head Chopper" is played by Amaris Fox, 9. Depicting a scared hopeless girl, Jessica Webb, 12, screams for mercy, but her demise is met with smiles and laughter from friends.
  Dressed in ghoulish gear and dancing shoes, John Cole, 9, dazzles guests with his fancy foot work and smiling face. "The Dancing Goblin" brings smiles and laughter during his performance.
  The youngsters also created a rendition of the Blockbuster hit movie, "Scream." Jessica Hill plays Drew Barrymore's role as the scream victim. Since the scenes are all outside, a call on the cell phone and a bench add just the right touch to make a living room scene. Adorned in an authentic scream mask, Jacenta Holtsclaw plays the killer.
  Three witches roam the grounds of the "Biltmore Hauntings." They even have a cat named Salem. Stormy Railey, 5, Krista Barnett, 10, and Jaimee Hooper, 10, cast spells and stir the witches brew for guests as they pass.
  Children form Happy Valley Elementary, Keenburg Elementary, Happy Valley Middle, T.A. Dugger, Elizabethton High and Unaka High have joined the community effort to raise money for a family in need.
  "The hours of time and work that these kids have put in is amazing," said Heaton. "They did it all. We only helped when they told us to put a nail in here or there. The rest, they did all on their own."
  Chainsaws, skeletons, psycho killers, zombies and more are waiting the arrival of all brave souls. Donations collected will be given to the Oliver family.
  Biltmore Hauntings will run until Halloween night, Oct. 31, from 7 to 11 p.m. at 133 Wilson Avenue in the Biltmore community. If you have questions about directions, please call (423) 542-8687 or (423) 543-2066.
  Contributions to Hannah Oliver and her family may be sent to: Hannah Brooke Oliver Fund, c/o Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 1900, Elizabethton, TN 37644, Attention: Mrs. Lola C. Bowers.