Lancaster residents' garage becomes neighborhood haunt for Halloween
BY: Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Editor | October 23, 2013
LANCASTER- The best word to describe the outside of Frank and Molly Prell’s home through the month of October is “orange.”
Around 6:30 p.m., more than 1,000 orange lights turn on and visitors will see lights streamed around the exterior of the home and windows, in the bushes, and orange inflatable pumpkins light up on their front lawn.
“It’s my favorite holiday,” said Molly, who started decorating in September. “I always thought it was fun to have all orange lights and stuff out there. It’s pretty orange.”
There’s no arguing here that the Prell’s have Halloween spirit. But it doesn’t stop there, Molly, along with help from Frank, have put together a haunted garage, which children and adults can make their way through either on Beggar’s night or Halloween night.
Molly has been Halloween decorating for more than 20 years, but it wasn’t until 2006 she decided to create Lancaster’s Haunted Garage.
Located inside their two-car garage, temporary walls are set up making a maze where visitors will see spooky Halloween props. After walking through the maze, displays, using different themes in each, have been created to add to the haunting experience. Some of the displays include glow in the dark, an electric chair, which was built by Frank, and a witch theme display.
“I’m always trying to think of something different so it’s not always the exactly the same,” remarked Molly. “Also, the way we set up the walls in the maze are different each year.”
As a member of an online group called Western New York Haunters Molly also shares and gets ideas from fellow haunters.
Frank and Molly will be dressed up, as well as Molly’s niece and her friend’s children from down the street will come and help scare visitors.
To walk through the haunted garage it is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit the Erie County SPCA.
“The first year I had no intention of taking any money, but a couple of people insisted I take something,” remarked Molly. “That’s when I decided I would do it for the SPCA. That would be my charity.”
Molly said she raises about $75 a year for the SPCA, but that doesn’t include her personal donation, which she usually matches what she raises.
“It’s Molly’s pet project,” said Frank.
“Literally,” responded Molly. “I love animals. All my dogs are from the SPCA. I just think they do such a good thing. I know there are other animal organizations out there too that also do good things, but our dogs are from there.”
To add to the night, Molly will also take pictures of every group that comes by in front of the cemetery she sets up. Afterward, she provides them a card with her website address and a couple days later visitors can check out their pictures online.
“A lot of people come back every year,” said Molly. “They’re not all from the neighborhood some come from all over. People seem to like. The kids and even the adults.”
Molly remarked they use to get about eight kids trick or treating at their house, which grew a little when she started decorating the outside of her home, and since adding the haunted garage a couple hundred people come out.
“Our neighbors said before we started they never had trick or treaters,” said Molly.
Molly mentioned one year Gina Browning, from the SPCA, stopped by with her parents.
“It was awesome,” said Molly. “It was so great to have her here.”
The Haunted Garage, located at 496 Pleasant View Drive, in Lancaster, will be opened from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30 and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. For more information visit www.lancasterhauntedgarage.com.
Lastly, as Bowmansville Firefighters Molly and Frank will be taking part in the department’s Haunted House and Hayrides as well, which will be held from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and Oct. 26, at Station One, 36 Main St., in Bowmansville.
Tickets are $3 per person and will benefit Cradle Beach and The Franciscan Center. There will also be cider, coffee, hot chocolate, doughnuts, and pizza for purchase. This is also Western New York’s only handicapped/wheelchair accessible haunted house and hayrides.