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Lakeland Family Transforms Their Home into a Haunted House

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Tucked up a long driveway in Lakeland Hills is the Sweeting home. Most of the year, it’s your average suburban home, filled with 12th Man cheers, soccer cleats, and smells of something delicious from the kitchen. But come Halloween the home becomes a haven for all things scaretastic.

What began as a porch display at their Arizona home in 2014 has grown over the years. “We wanted to go bigger,” said Stefani Sweeting, “we realized we needed space for all of [our son] Caleb’s ideas.”

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The latest incarnation of the Sweeting’s Halloween creation is a haunted house within their garage. The haunted house takes up all but a small corner of the three-car garage. Yet, even that corner stores supplies and the controls for the many moving parts within the monster-filled attraction.

The display spills out into the driveway, with tamer inflatables and singing pumpkins to entertain young trick-or-treaters.

Inside the Haunted House

Those brave enough to enter the twisted, winding, maze will find themselves facing off against creatures of all manner in eight themed sections. The haunted house first begins in a forested graveyard. Making it through this spooky section, you will be checked in to the asylum by a creepy nurse. From there, you must pass through a black light hallway. This hallway is filled with some of the original props made by the Sweetings.

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The Carnival treat wheel | Courtesy photo

After the black lights, you’ll have to face off with spiders. You might make it past the spiders, but don’t feel too relieved. The next room is the disturbing children’s asylum ward, which leads to the adult asylum ward. Making it out of the asylum you must pass through a cornfield, and you’re not alone!

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Once you’ve made it to the final carnival section, you get your reward for surviving the haunted house. The Sweetings chose a fun way to deliver trick-or-treaters’ sweet relief – a spinning wheel that selects the candy for them. This year’s candy options include cotton candy, full-sized candy bars, and gooey blood bags.

Caleb’s favorite room is the carnival room, and his older brother Isaac’s favorite section is the forested graveyard.

Bringing the Haunt to Life
To build this masterful creation, the Sweetings begin in August. Caleb and his dad Jacob begin to design the layout on paper and then build the skeleton of the haunted house. Building the haunted house is a whole-family affair. Stefanie’s parents even “fly up [from Arizona] at the beginning of October to help set up. My dad is a retired computer engineer, and my mom is a retired teacher,” shared Stefanie.

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Jacob’s favorite part of doing the haunted house every year is “seeing the kids and adults being excited to come in.” To see his kids light up when friends and neighbors come to the haunted house, they’ve designed and built is also a great feeling.

While some kids wanted to be a doctor, farmer, or an astronaut when they grew up – Caleb has always wanted to be a Spirit Store Manager. That’s why, for him, the best part of the haunted house is “being able to go to the Spirit store and seeing amazing animatronics and meeting new people. I get excited to see them in action.”

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Caleb at Spirit Halloween, checking out an animatronic that needed adjustments with the store Manager | Courtesy Photo

Caleb’s Christmas and birthday lists always contain Halloween animatronics, contraptions, and display items. Right now, he is doing chores and saving up to purchase the latest Pennywise animatronic.

For Stefanie, the best part of doing the haunted house is “seeing how excited our boys get. The community involvement is something special because they look forward to it every year!”

Scaring trick-or-treaters is amazing, but being a part of the community is important to the Sweetings. It’s why they also make sure to tell anyone who comes to their Haunted House to go across the street to Randy and Sandi Green, to say hi and hopefully donate to the Scaring Hunger in Auburn Food Drive.

The Sweeting’s home is located at 1933 63rd ST SE Auburn WA 98092.  They are in the Portola subdivision of the Lakeland neighborhood.

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