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Nolan Middle School to host annual Haunted House in Lakewood Ranch

National Junior Honor Society students turn hallways and classrooms into a tour of terror.

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Eighth grader Vincenzo Pino doesn't want to get sick at R. Dan Nolan Middle School's Haunted House when it opens its doors Oct. 29.

Last year when Pino made his way through the annual event, he made a visit to the Haunted Hospital. He saw a girl working on a body with a chainsaw.

But, really, Pino can't wait to go back.

Eighth grader Juliana Fuschetto feels the same way, even though she was chased around the school by clowns last year. She said it was scary, but a fun thrill.

This year, it’s Fuschetto and Pino’s turn to scare students who visit the Haunted House.

For 10 years, Nolan Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society has hosted the Haunted House. The themes have ranged from haunted hotels to haunted hospitals to haunted carnivals and more.  

This year’s theme is "Zodiac Killer" where those braving the tour will enter hallways and rooms that will offer puzzles and riddles to solve.

Along with scary thrills. 

Chris Robinson, a teacher and National Junior Honor Society advisor, said those solving the puzzles and riddles can win prizes.

“I’m looking forward to being able to figure out how we can create a more puzzle-themed Haunted House versus just a traditional walk around, looking at things,” he said. 

Robinson and his students said one of the most terrifying rooms in the Haunted House is the sensory deprivation room.

Music will be blaring while the only light is coming from a strobe. Streamers and other objects will hang from the ceiling. 

“Your senses get disoriented, so at that point, your body is kind of confused,” Robinson said. 

Eighth grader Elena Margioukla can’t wait to see people screaming as they run away.

She will be popping out of the shadows to spook visitors. 

“You don’t get a lot of opportunities to be a part of the haunted house,” she said. 

Pino hopes to be a tour guide so he can constantly see the reactions. 

“I want them to be shocked,” he said.

He will be making it look like his arm is ripped open, with blood gushing everywhere. 

There isn’t an exact age range for people allowed in the Haunted House, so Robinson said the National Junior Honor Society needs to toe the line between scary and inappropriately creepy.

Former Nolan Middle School students Amy Zona, Olivia Sharkoski, Sara Zona and Alexa Tzelepis are ready to scare people at the school's haunted house in 2019. (Courtesy photo)
Former Nolan Middle School students Amy Zona, Olivia Sharkoski, Sara Zona and Alexa Tzelepis are ready to scare people at the school's haunted house in 2019. (Courtesy photo)

“We do push for a more extreme haunted house setting so that way the kids buy in and they get excited,” Robinson said.

But it can be difficult to know how different kids will react. He said he has had his son, when he was 3, walk through and he laughed the entire time. But he has seen middle schoolers have a hard time with the event.

Margioukla said there is no such thing as too scary. 

“The scarier the better,” she said.

Sometimes the clean-up after the event can be scary.

Robinson said a student hit a sprinkler head by accident and 60 gallons of water per minute flooded the area. Students had to create a water brigade with trash cans to dump the water out.

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs and weird moments,” he said.

One of the scarier attractions was last year's clowns.

“It really did a number on a lot of people,” Robinson said.

Students come up with all the decorations and costumes and they do all the set-up. Then students serve as "tour guides."

“My goal is I never have to pick up a pair of scissors,” Robinson said. 

Robinson said the Haunted House has created a tradition that brings former students back to the school to volunteer. About 100 students and former students bring everything together.

“It’s a chaotic scene, but once we get there, it’s worth it,” Robinson said. “The kids say it’s one of the most happy and stressful moments of their life because it is a long, tiring and exhausting day. They look back on it and realize not many people could say they were involved in a large-scale haunted house.”


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