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Minerva basement offers annual spook-fest

MINERVA What started out as a unique way to celebrate a nieces birthday has evolved into an annual Halloween tradition for one Minerva woman. Seven years ago, Lynn Greens niece asked for a Halloween themed birthday party. So Lynn Green pulled out all the stops to transform her cellar into a haunted basement. The transformation was a big hit so the next year, she decided to do it again and invite people to take a spooky Halloween tour. Thus an annual Halloween tradition was born. It has just sort of evolved, Green said. Each year, the Haunted Basement features new attractions. Weve never repeated, Green said. Each year is completely new. Green said the ideas come out of her crazy head, with nieces and others contributing ideas. This years version of the haunted basement included 11 stations staffed by volunteer ghouls and goblins from Minerva Central School. The thrills include, among others, a haunted mirror, a ghoulish dinner table, a chair guaranteed to jolt your senses and a casket with plenty of shock value. The key to making it work, Green said, are the volunteers who help each year. Most ar e area teenagers from Minerva Central School. I usually have 15 to 20 kids who help, she said. Theyre pretty ambitious and pretty good actors. The teens help from start to finish, contributing ideas, building the sets and acting in the two-night production. Green and her team of volunteers spend the better part of a month building sets and setting up for the Haunted Basement. The sets are elaborate and mostly homemade, Green said. Area merchants sometimes contribute supplies and Green contributes her own time and energy. The Haunted Basement is always free to the public. Whatever the pocket cant afford, the hands come up with and improvise, Green said. The Haunted Basement has been a huge success. Each year the number of guests who visit the basement has grown. The record number is 120 over two nights. This year, Green expected to surpass that. Its just fun, Green said. I just love it.

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