(Article and photo Copyright The Leader 2002)
'Fear of Shadows' grows
BY JOHN michael GOFF
CORNING | The sights and sounds of All Hollow's Eve will be even more ghoulish this year at the Kingsbury Cemetery's Fear of Shadows Haunted House.
With a makeshift graveyard of terrifying tombstones gracing the entrance of the cemetery to unpredictable creatures continually popping up, Keith Hoover's homemade creation has grabbed local attention.
Hoover, of 180 Kingsbury St., Corning, began his vision for a community haunted house three years ago. He has since seen his idea take up increasingly more time and become a charitable cause.
Last year, 275 local residents ventured past the cemetery gates, paying the price of one can of food. The large attendance equated to more than 300 cans of food being donated to the Corning Community Food Pantry at St. Patrick's Church.
Because of last year's success, Hoover said the fee for this year's haunted house will be two cans of food, also to be donated to the Corning Community Food Pantry.
Hoover said the reason for the admission hike is to raise even more food donations, which are needed more than last year.
"I doubled our admission to two cans of food because of the low food bank stock," Hoover said. "Every little bit helps, and this is my way of helping out the community and giving something back to the neighborhood."
Beginning in Hoover's front yard, this year's Fear of Shadows Haunted House features more homemade creations Hoover said he has worked on all year.
"I have a group of over 24 people helping me out with construction and with the actual operation," Hoover said. "I also have to give a lot of credit to my wife, who has had unbelievable tolerance."
Michael Rarrick, family friend and Hoover's co-worker at Corning Inc.'s Sullivan Park, said he feels the event is a declaration of Hoover's giving nature.
"All of the expenses come directly out of Keith's pocket and it would be real easy for him to charge admission to cover those expenses," Rarrick said. "I think it's great that he donates food to the Corning Food Pantry."
Rarich has also been assisting in providing scares during the Haunted House tours.
"The event is really enjoyable for the whole family," Rarrick said. "When small children are coming through, we know to tone it down, but we also know when to turn it up."
Hoover's son, Andrew, 6, said he doesn't think the haunted house is too scary for little children.
"I like to stand still when people are coming, and then I jump out at them and scare them," Andrew Hoover said.
Hoover said he has made a conscious effort to make the haunted house scary for people of all ages, while abstaining from using blood and guts.
"We have a few other surprises waiting for people this year," Hoover said. "I think I've done more to slow traffic on the street than the school zone sign has."