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Oregon's oldest haunted house still frightful after 32 years

The Oregon School for the Deaf Nightmare Factory in Salem draws thousands for big scares.

SALEM, Ore. — In the basement of the dorm building at the Oregon School for the Deaf, the stage is all set to be scared out of your mind.  And entertained to the max.  

The Nightmare Factory, Oregon’s longest running haunted house, is back for a  32nd year.  It is an ever-changing maze of frights, jump-scares, weird and funny.

The Factory has been a hit since the beginning, said haunted house founder Ed Roberts, who also works at the school.

“Very popular, I mean the first year we had good lines and the second year we moved down here and we’ve been in the basement now 31 years,” said Roberts.

Students at the school benefit from the haunted house all year long, according to Roberts.

They work on the planning and design of dozens of props and other things that go into creating the Nightmare Factory, learning new skills as they do. Then, many perform as characters during its annual run.

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Jamila Walker is a student whose character is “Screamer” and she can really carry the part.

“I’ve been doing this for five years now so I’ve got a lot of practice”, said Walker.

Founder Roberts says the effort reflects favorably on the image of the school.

“I’m a big Halloween fan, I love Halloween,” said Roberts. “But for me it’s about what we show the world about the kids in this school; it’s showing people that these kids can do anything they want, except hear.”

The haunted house draws on help from the community to make it happen. Lead Dorm Counselor Kivo LaFavre was first a student at the school, and has participated all 32 years.  He was a 7th grader in year one.

“A long time ago we didn’t think it was cheesy but now we look back and that was really cheesy, and we’re so different now.  We have people who volunteer here, deaf working together, we have, we’re a big family a big haunted house family,” said Lafavre.

Proceeds benefit students at the school in many ways, from buying new computers, to a new gym floor, to many student trips over the years.

See more at the Nightmare Factory Facebook page.

Remaining hours to visit the Nightmare Factory are 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 18-19, 25-26 and 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 29-31, and also “blackout” Nov. 1-2.

Cost is $15 per person, $25 VIP (shorter line).  Other price features include a group rate for 20 or more people, available in advance by calling 503-378-3827.

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