A spooky tour combines scares with history for a successful fall fundraiser.
Story by Danielle Castonzo
To celebrate Halloween and raise funds for a local organization, the South Tahoe High School Key Club in South Lake Tahoe, California, turned a local historic site into a haunted house.
For Tahoe Terror, club members transformed the Baldwin Estate — one of three estates built between 1894 and 1930 — into a haunted walkway. Tour guides and Key Club students teamed up to lead guests through the decorated site, weaving true history with fictional frightening stories. During the walk, guests encountered scary maids, haunted butlers and forest creatures who crept out of the darkness.
Over three days, the club sold 549 tickets to the Haunted Walkway — a complete sellout.
“The best part of the event was how much fun our students had playing their parts in the Haunted Walkway,” says Key Club Advisor Melissa Berry. “They were the tour guides, as well as all of the actors and jump scares. They were excited each day to get into costume, get makeup done and begin the tours.”
Tahoe Terror was a joint project among South Tahoe High Key Club, South Tahoe High Thunderclap Club (the high school’s digital media arts club), and the Tahoe Heritage Foundation, which oversees the Baldwin Estate. The Thunderclap Club designed the audio and visual effects for the event to add to the spooky ambience.
Each guest paid $US 10 to enter the haunted historical site. The funds raised will be split between South Tahoe High School Key Club and the Tahoe Heritage Foundation. Key Club members will use their portion of the funds toward other school service projects, such as a Harry Potter rally and food drive, as well as their bulletin board and holiday programming.
Thanks to the event’s success, the Key Club hopes to host it again next year.
“After talking with many of the guests before and after they went on their tour, they were thrilled we were putting on the event because they want more things to do in our town,” Berry says, “and felt this was something fun for the whole family — or just to get people out of the house.”