‘Nightmares galore’ at Washougal High’s annual haunted house

Drama students will host popular event this weekend

Fright nights are returning to Washougal High School.

The school’s drama department will present its annual “Haunted House” production from from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, and from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St., Washougal.

Admission costs $5 per person for the first time through and $4 for a repeat trip on the same night.

The student-driven production has been held every Halloween weekend since 2014, but was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am that we get to do one,” Washougal High drama teacher Kelly Gregersen said. “We’re very (excited). It gives us that feeling of normalcy in that we’re doing something that we’ve done before, and this is not unprecedented. It feels good to do anything ‘precedented’ right now. The thing that’s important to me, too, is that the community really looks forward to it and has a good time with it.”

The students are approaching the production with a fresh mindset after not being able to create a haunted house in 2020, according to Gregersen.

“The previous groups had the benefit of working with the group right in front of them. Since we had a year off, this group’s kind of reinventing it the way they want it to be, and in a way that’s kind of nice because some of them had worked on the house before, but most of them had not been in a leadership role,” Gregersen said. “It’s fun to see them take on that mantle.”

This year’s house will take the form of a research laboratory, where experiments to “control” dreams “go terribly wrong,” according to Gregersen.

“There will be nightmares galore as (attendees) go through the house,” he said. “Hopefully people have a lot of fun and get to have a couple of good jumps and scares and get to have a good time. I think the kids really enjoy the immediate reaction. They know what the audience thinks based on what they do. If the kids get a scream, they know that they’ve done a good job. And it’s such a different reaction; normally we’re trying not to scare our audience, so this is a lot of fun.”