By Jeff Gilliland
It grows every year and this year one of its attractions – Purdin’s House of Pain – will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
The Highland County Senior Citizen Center’s annual Halloween Party, set for Saturday, Oct. 31, attracted 749 guests a year ago. For $1 patrons get a trip through a 40-plus room haunted house (Purdin’s House of Pain); free food including a hot dog, chips and a drink; trick-or-treating with 26 local businesses handing out candy; costume contests; Halloween-themed games like the Gross Out Buffet; and more.
Rhonda Purdin, the food service manager at the senior center who along with her husband, Tracy, and daughter, Stacy, are largely responsible for the haunted house, said that when they first had it at the senior center 10 years ago about 50 people showed up. Now it attracts hundreds.
But Purdin’s House of Pain actually started about six years before that at the Purdin’s home.
“We started it when the kids were real little. We decorated the house for Halloween and everyone stopped around and looked at it,” Purdin said. “We just like to do it. Halloween is our biggest thing. It’s bigger than Christmas to us. We just enjoy doing it for the kids and it helps the center, too.”
Each person paying the $1 Halloween Party admission fee gets one trip through the 42-room haunted house. Each additional trip through the haunted house will cost another $1. Most years Purdin’s House of Pain has some particular theme. There is no theme this year, but Purdin said they have a little something extra planned for their 10th anniversary at the senior center.
“All of the monsters throughout the years are getting together for one big scare,” joked Mechelle Frost, executive director of the senior center.
The haunted house and games will be open from 6-9 p.m., but trick or treating runs from just 6-8 p.m.
Right around 8 p.m., or shortly thereafter, is when costume contests in age groups including 0-1 years, 2-4, 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, 14-17 and 18-and-above will take place. There will be prizes for first and second place in each age group.
Around 8:30 p.m. the kids will take turns trying to break open a pinata filled with candy.
There will be a separate raffle during the party of Disney and superhero items. Tickets are one for $1 or six for $5.
Purdin said the senior center is ready for a big crowd with more than 1,000 hot dogs on hand. Center members and board members work the kitchen, games and other areas during the party. So, most all of the money taken in is pretty much profit for the center since the food, candy and other items are donated by local businesses including the Tuner Funeral Homes, Heskett Insurance, Hillsboro VFW Post 9094, Community Markets, US Food and Valley Food.
“We’re excited. It’s something we enjoy dong for the community,” Frost said. “And it’s a fun event for entire families.”
For more information contact the senior center at 937-393-4745, or you can “like” the center’s Facebook page and get information on more upcoming events.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.