Palouse brings spooks this weekend

Annual scare-engineering festival hopes to test bravery of all attendees for two weekends straight



“We have that community service blood type, where everyone wants to make something great,” said Mike Milano.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

The Palouse Chamber of Commerce and the City of Palouse will host the 17th annual Haunted Palouse fundraiser by terrifying high school and college students to help support their small town. They expect to see more than 4,000 people and raise over $50,000 throughout the two-weekend festival.

Mike Milano, has been involved with Haunted Palouse since its inception in 2002. A small group of people decked out the Roy M. Chatters Newspaper and Printing Museum in Halloween gear and charged admission to help fund the museum’s renovation, he said.

“A great number of people work together to make it happen,” Milano said. “We have that community service blood type, where everyone wants to make something great so we can all benefit.”

The first Haunted Palouse was put together by about a dozen individuals and made approximately $3,000, an exciting sum for those involved, said Janet Barstow, head coordinator of Haunted Palouse.

Over the lifespan of the event, the town has raised over $581,000, funding 13 different projects throughout Palouse, Barstow said.

“It’s an incredible source of funding for the town and it brings a lot of people together and requires a lot of cooperation,” Barstow said. “I’m very proud of Palouse and the way we work together to make this happen.”

The Palouse Community Center, built in 2012, has received the most funding from Haunted Palouse at a total of over $188,000. Both Barstow and Milano said they’re excited the mortgage will be paid off next year, 10 years earlier than planned.

Haunted Palouse also helps to fund several youth projects, such as the Garfield Palouse Athletic Club and Future Farmers of America teams, the Palouse Skate Park and a Palouse Area Robotics Team. All groups that receive funding are expected to participate in the preparation or staffing of Haunted Palouse, which teaches the kids about community and volunteering, Milano said.

At Haunted Palouse, the museum and the Old City Fire Station will decorate haunted houses and patrons can enjoy a haunted hayride. Spooky treats and drinks will be for sale as well, such as “hearty witch cider potions, hairy-scary hamburgers and sickly-sweet treats,” according to the Haunted Palouse press release.

Haunted Palouse is not directed toward families so as to keep the scares authentic for the college and high school students. They don’t want to water anything down, Barstow said.

“Some of these people have been doing scare engineering for years and they’ve gotten fantastic at it, and they come up with different and unique stuff every year,” Milano said. “We’d love for community members to come out and see all the hard work we put in. And if they really enjoy it and want to come help out next year, that’s great.”

Haunted Palouse will take place at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the town of Palouse. Tickets are $20, cash only, for three tickets and will be sold night-of from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Palouse branch of Banner Bank. Admission is only open to ages 12 and up, with no exceptions due to the mature nature of the festival. Haunted Palouse will be open next weekend as well.

“There’s some primal love that people have,” Milano said. “They love to be scared and test their bravery. It’s a great activity for students to get to know the greater community they’re in while they’re in school. They’ll realize another aspect of small-town life — we’re not just boring, we do some cool stuff.”