Burnet County Santa’s Helpers turn to creepy friends for holiday help

OK, they don’t exactly look like elves, but these zombies are helping Santa by holding a haunted house 7:30-10:30 p.m. Oct. 24-25 at the Burnet County fairgrounds on Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet. The proceeds benefit the Burnet County Santa’s Helpers, an organization that makes sure children who might otherwise go without a gift at Christmas find something under their tree. Admission is $5 or a new toy donation. Courtesy photo


BURNET — Back in May, a group of Burnet County Santa’s Helpers gathered to start planning for a big event: a haunted house.

No, they didn’t get their holidays confused.

“Yeah, I know, it does seem a bit different, but it’s been a big hit,” said April Vaughan, one of the organizers. The Burnet County Santa’s Helpers Haunted House is Oct. 24-25 at the Burnet County fairgrounds, located on Houston Clinton Drive behind the Burnet airport off U.S. 281.

People can come by between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. both nights for a good scare and to support a great cause. Burnet County Santa’s Helpers raises money to purchase Christmas gifts for children who might otherwise go without. The haunted house is a big part of the fundraising process.

Admission is $5 or a new toy.

This year’s haunted house is called “Creepy Hollow.”

“We’re doing a carnival freak show kind of theme,” Vaughan said.

Part of the planning included trying to determine what scared people. Vaughan said, over the past several years, she attended several haunted houses and even met with organizers of a big one in Williamson County. She studied things that made people scared, nervous or just creeped out.

And time and time again, she discovered certain things.

“Clowns,” Vaughan said. “Clowns really do scare people. And dolls. Those are the two things that kept coming up.”

So people attending the Burnet County Santa’s Helpers creep show can probably expect a few creepy clowns and dolls.

“Also, if you don’t like puppets, you’ll probably want to see this haunted house,” she added.

But other than that, Vaughan isn’t revealing much more. Along with her more recent research, Vaughan also tapped into her fascination of the horror genre to help with the haunted house. She recalled her dad telling her that she often refused to go to sleep as a child unless he let her first watch “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” She then drifted off into Freddy Krueger’s stomping grounds.

Vaughan and a regular group of volunteers not only started planning in May but also began building pieces for the haunted house. Most of the work was accomplished in their homes or other places, but this week, they began putting it all together at the fairgrounds in anticipation of scaring folks.

Parents of younger children be forewarned: It could be a bit intense for them. So on Oct. 25, organizers are setting up a bounce house, courtesy of Inflatable Wonderland, to entertain the younger kids while parents and older youth explore the depths and horrors of the haunted house. The bounce house admission is $2, but Vaughan added there will folks on hand to monitor the children while parents enjoy a good scare.

“We always have a good time,” Vaughan said. “And most people make it out …”

Check out the Burnet County Santa’s Helpers Facebook page for more information on Creepy Hollow as well as the organization’s efforts to ensure all children enjoy Christmas.


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