Haunted Asylum not for faint of heart

The faint of heart might want to avoid the old True Value Hardware Store in Delano, during Halloween weekend. The old store at 129 Bridge Ave. will have a new set of inhabitants — patients in a vintage 1813 insane asylum.

Delano Jaycee President Jessica Artibee warns that the insane asylum is truly scary and not for children under the age of 10. But youngsters actually will want to come during a special kid friendly time, when lights will be turned on and actors will hand out candy along the winding corridors. Kids might want to dress in costumes to get into “the spirit” of the adventure.


The haunted asylum will be open in its full-blown spookiness from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27, and from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28. Kid friendly time is from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28. Cost of admission is $7 per person or $5 with an item for the Delano Helping Hands Foodshelf. Proceeds will go towards community service projects of the Delano Jaycees and the Delano Royalty Organization, who are teaming up to sponsor the event.

Several years ago the Jaycees revived their old tradition of creating a haunted house that is open on weekends prior to Halloween. When True Value Hardware moved into its new building on Highway 12, the old building became available for the haunting. The building is for sale and who knows how long ghosts will be able to hang out there. Perhaps next year the Jaycees might have to move their spooks elsewhere.

The Jaycees and Delano Royalty have been setting up the Haunted Asylum since September. When the lights are on back stage, bottles of fake blood, make-up and costumes are much in evidence.

During opening weekend, Oct. 18 to 20, Delano area students took advantage of two days off from school to volunteer as actors in the Haunted Asylum. Artibee coached them as they put on ghastly make-up and selected costumes to wear.

“Lead people out who really need to get out,” she said. She added that parents have been warned not to bring younger children, but “some parents don’t listen.”

Artibee told actors not to touch visitors and said that visitors are not allowed to touch the actors — “although it happens when girls get scared.”

Amongst the actors were members of the DHS National Honor Society and Youth as Resources who used the haunted asylum as a service project. NHS member Hannah Peters called working at the Haunted Asylum a “really fun way to help the community. It makes raising money really fun.”

Money raised through Delano Jaycee efforts stays in the community, Artibee said. The Jaycees have donated to the Delano Helping Hands Food Shelf, Dollars for Scholars, Delano schools, the Yellow Ribbon Program and other groups asking for help.