By Ukee Washington
PITMAN, N.J., (CBS) — You might think the season of giving is Thanksgiving or Christmas. In Pitman, Gloucester County, the season of giving is Halloween, and those who give get quite a treat in return.
It was started by Jon Martin. Call him Monster Martin. He’s the man behind a haunted house that almost crowds out his real house every Halloween.
“We did it all the time as a kid. We had the creepy music. Our house was the place to go,” Jon said.
Fear is a family affair at the Martin house! This year Jon, his family, and a cast of volunteers built DARK ASYLUM, an old-fashioned insane asylum complete with inmates, on Esplanade Avenue in Pitman.
A man screams in a cell: “The patients have taken over!”
Visitors are taken to a lab for frightening experiments. They snake their way through hallways filled with fog. There are scares everywhere.
Jon started creating haunted houses more than a decade ago. but since 2001, these chills have been for charity.
“You see hunger, and you see the kids without food. And we thought, you know what? We get hundreds of people here. Why not make it a good thing?” Jon said.
All the fright is free, but Monster Martin’s House of Terror asks people to donate canned food for area food pantries. The pantries say they love this charity, no matter how creepy.
“At this time of year we are literally bare,” said Lisa Weiss, a volunteer at St. James Lutheran Church. “This really starts our big push to get through the holiday season.”
Jon estimates all this fright scares up about 1,500 cans of food. This year, the goal is 2,000 cans.
“Donations come in in all sizes, but this is more than we could possibly anticipate,” said Rev. Carol Davies of Bethel United Methodist Church in Gloucester County.
The actors love it, too. Jessica West, 13, said, “When people scream, it makes you feel like you actually accomplished something.”
In this case, they really do.
Monster Martin’s House of Terror is open Wednesday, October 30, and Thursday, October 31 from 6:30 until 9:30 p.m. There is also a no-scare children’s tour. The haunted house is at 155 Esplanade Avenue, Pitman, NJ.
For more information, go to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Monster-Martins-House-of-Terror/121092534609373