Fremont haunted house forced to shut down

October 8, 2011 12:27:55 AM PDT
A Fremont family is getting spooked this Halloween season. The city wants them to shut down a haunted house they build and operate every year for their neighborhood, raising money for charity at the same time. The family is looking for options to keep the haunted house going.

For the last six years, Christopher Stelle has been sharing his love of Halloween with his Fremont neighborhood.

"We're going to have a lot of workers, volunteers, working in each of these rooms scaring people," said Stelle.

The showcase of fake blood and toy limbs is a small part of what's actually a sprawling haunted house. Built between his parent's and his neighbor's homes, it's an event each Halloween.

"We enjoy it so much and we help them and I wish that it stays here because I don't want to drive somewhere else and you know look for another haunted house," said neighbor Velma Shouppe.

They don't charge admission, but in years past people often donate food or even money, which Stelle's family in turn donates to food banks and UNICEF. This year, Stelle marshaled the help of family, friends, and even volunteers from a local church to help construct the house of horrors. But Stelle's plans have come to a screaming halt.

"Two days ago we got a citation in the mail from the city saying to cease use of haunted house," said Stelle.

According to the citation, Stelle is in violation of two city codes. It's an improper use of land and the temporary haunted house was built without a permit.

For two months they've been assembling a haunted house which is situated between two different residences. But following receipt of the citation from the city of Fremont, they've been ordered to take the whole thing down in six days. They're hoping for a reprieve.

"Our hope is to keep it here because we've done so much and everyone knows where we are and everyone comes every year, we have thousands of people. That would be our main hope, if not, maybe someone can donate some commercial space in Fremont where we could put it," said haunted house operator Katrina Laflam.

They talked with the city employee who issued the letter to see if there was any way to keep the structure up just till Halloween.

"They said, 'Shut it down.' That's our only option," said Laflam.

We've have also tried contacting the city of Fremont about this issue, but we are waiting for a response.

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