Scary amount of prep for haunted house opening

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Vicky Grace, left, from Auckland and her scary friend at Maree Foster's haunted house on Victoria Ave on Saturday. Photo / Christine McKay
Vicky Grace, left, from Auckland and her scary friend at Maree Foster's haunted house on Victoria Ave on Saturday. Photo / Christine McKay

The scary aspect of Halloween for Dannevirke's Maree Foster is the thought of all the work she and her team need to put in before her haunted house opens.

Maree, family and friends are dedicated to their unique fundraiser for the SPCA and this year three friends travelled from Auckland to help out.

"The putting up of all the decorations and settings is fabulous, the taking down, not so fantastic," said Vicky Grace from Auckland. This year Vicky brought two friends to help turn Maree's Victoria Ave home into something unique and just a little bit scary.

"I've known Maree since we were three so we've been through life together. She puts her heart and soul into this fundraiser and is an amazing women," Vicky said.

With 502 people through her doors in just five hours and 92 in the first half hour on Saturday afternoon, Maree was able to donate $300 to the Dannevirke SPCA.


"We received a massive pile of animal food, blankets, sheets and towels for the SPCA as well. It was an amazing day and night," Maree said.

The Dannevirke SPCA said they were overwhelmed by the hard work of Maree and her dedicated volunteers.

"Maree is passionate about preventing cruelty towards animals and her efforts see probably the biggest donation our little centre receives each year," animal welfare inspector Laura Phillips said.

And while it was a little scary in the haunted house, Maree said the most screams came from the adults, especially the men and a Dannevirke News reporter.
"I wouldn't be able to do all this without my helpers, including my 89-year-old dad, Bill Cave."

Mr Cave helps out every year and last Saturday he spent the afternoon sitting amongst the headstones, as the grave digger.

"He did a wonderful job and stayed for all the afternoon, but left before the evening session because he still works seven days a week," Maree said.

It took Maree and her helpers three and a half weeks to decorate her home for the fundraiser, with children leaving with a small gift, including scary iced cupcakes and skeleton sweets. But the task of getting all the decorations and props stored away in the Foster's garage was the scariest of all.

"They're coming back out the garage door to meet us, heavens only knows how we'll store all this," Maree said.

But the effort was worth it for the young and not so young visitors, including Jasmine Webber who admitted she was a little scared and preferred to stay outside and wait for her younger siblings to tour the haunted house.

"You don't know what to expect," she said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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