By Joseph Robertia
As Halloween closes in with the speed of a dropping guillotine, the Sedy family, of Soldotna, is working diligently at their seasonal job — scaring the bejesus out of people. If there were some sort of award for devotion to fright, they would surely qualify.
“This isn’t a bobbing-for-apples, kid kind of haunted house. This is real horror. Our job is to make you scream and we take our job seriously,” said Kathy Sedy, who has 11 years experience staging haunted houses in the Lower 48.
She, along with her son and daughter-in-law, Devron and Randi Sedy, of Soldotna, have been building walls, making props and coming up with costumes and makeup for a month now to create their haunted house experience, AK Fright Night. But Kathy’s love of the macabre began much longer ago, when she was just a kid.
“It’s always been a family thing from back when I was little. We would get together and watch Albert Hitchcock movies while eating popcorn,” she said.
As she got older and had her own kids, her family continued to enjoy Halloween, visiting haunted houses around the U.S. and as far as Canada, then making their own wherever they lived, which most recently included Soldotna.
“They started getting pretty serious with it about five years ago,” Randi said. “Our area is popular with trick-or-treaters, so last year we decided to convert about 70 feet of our driveway and make chambers for a haunted house.”
Word spread quickly and before the night was over, hordes of people had visited.
“We probably had about 1,500 people come through,” Randi said.
This year, they decided to build on their success and make an even larger maze of the morbid for people to negotiate, and have it staffed with more people.
“People kept telling us we should just make a real haunted house, so we did,” she said.
It will be at the Soldotna Elks Club gymnasium.
“They’re not affiliated with the event, but we are very grateful they were kind enough to donate the gym for the event. They do so much for the community,” Randi said.
The haunted house has multiple rooms and hallways, many constructed with movable walls that can be rearranged from night to night, so returning patrons will have a different experience. The rooms will be staffed by a combination of live actors and props.
“We need eight actors to put it on and we’ve got our kids and some friends right now, but we’re hoping to get help from some of the local acting troupes and high school drama clubs,” Randi said. “There are a lot of different props too, none of them cutesy. Some are quite meaty, in fact. We have some popular themes, such as zombies and the walking dead, but some Alaskan themes, too, such as a scene that looks like a hunter has been killed, but what got him? Was it a bear, or something else?”
To find AK Fright Night, turn off the Kenai Spur Highway at Mile 2, at the big yellow Hobby Shop building and follow the BPOE sign, making the next left turn, and then the next right.
The haunted house will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 24, 25, 26, 29, 30 and 31. Oct. 24 is Food Bank Night, where anyone bringing three cans or boxes of food gets $3 off admission. On Sunday, Oct. 27, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., the horror will be dialed back a bit to accommodate kids under 8 years old. The rest of the nights the festivities are recommended for teens and adults, or kids ages 9 and older with a fortitude for fear. Admission is $8 per person and proceeds will be used to reincarnate the horror in subsequent years.
“We’d like it to become an annual event and grow with the population, so whatever money we make this year will be put into next year’s haunted house,” Kathy said.