Zombie Cheerleader (or should we say, scareleader) played by Oak Ridge student Claire Snyder, 14, wanders the hallways of Afterlife High. The Hands4Hope haunted high school opens its doors this Friday. Village Life photo by Krysten Kellum

Feature Photos

High school of horrors

By From page A1 | October 10, 2012

Welcome to Afterlife High where toxic waste overflows in the science lab, fingers (not finger food) are served up in the lunchroom and rattlesnakes slither across the locker room showers.

You can’t wake up for this nightmare created by Hands4Hope – Youth Making a Difference … you just have to walk through and hope you survive. For the third year the youth-oriented volunteer organization has created a spooky haunted house that will send chills down your spine. Afterlife High, a haunted high school originally built on ancient burial grounds and painstakingly recreated by volunteers, haunts a corner of El Dorado Hills Town Center’s New Orleans Building.

The 2,700-square-foot school of terror, designed and built by youth volunteers and adults, includes horrors much greater than those fears of being stuffed in a locker.

Oak Ridge High School student Riley Fitzpatrick, who’s volunteered at Hands4Hope’s haunted house since it began said going through make-up is tough but worth it.

“This is his calling,” Hands4Hope founder Jennifer Basset said.

“Scaring children,” Riley agreed.

Watch for him in the lunchroom serving up rats, limbs and something that looks like it might have leaked from barrels in the science lab. He could also pop out of dark corners in a classroom. Beware …

Kaela Chisick, 14, also knows her way around the gory lunchroom, opting to serve up rats because, she matter-of-factly said, “I don’t do snakes.”

If any Afterlife High visitors get too squeamish — there are severed limbs hanging from the ceiling — Hands4Hope offers an early exit. The Good Fairy is also back. With a wave of her wand the high school horrors will freeze or slink away. That might come in handy when visitors reach the nurse’s office or the ghoulish prom.

Last year more than 3,500 people braved Hands4Hope’s Haunted Ghost Town, raising about $39,000 for the El Dorado Hills based non-profit’s youth development and outreach programs, according to Bassett.

Haunting takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, Oct. 12-28, and on Halloween night. Hours are 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 5 to 8 p.m. on Sundays and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Halloween. Tickets are $9 per person and can be bought in advance at Face in a Book and the California Welcome Center in Town Center or at the door, 4370 Town Center Blvd., Suite 150.

Hands4Hope will also host its Premiere Dinner & Costume Party fundraiser on Oct. 13 at Mercedes-Benz of El Dorado Hills. For more information visit hands4hopeyouth.org or call (916) 919-5695.

Noel Stack


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