The horror that became an obsession Halloween: Kim's Krypt in Rosedale is the culmination of one woman's chilling desire to scare the pants off you. Where horror lives

Up Front

Kim's Krypt and other Halloween happenings.

October 22, 1998|By Lesly Borge | Lesly Borge,Contributing Writer

With Halloween about a week away, most people are preparing their props, costumes and little ones for the great event. But Kim Yates of Kim's Krypt prepares her haunted-house extravaganza year round.

Kim's Krypt is not your ordinary haunted house. Yates has turned her home in Rosedale into a haunted house that's out of this world. If the hearse sitting out front or the fence constructed of police tape aren't warning enough, then maybe Michael Myers on the roof holding his victim's head in his hand or the 20 gruesome characters who greet you in the front yard will do the trick.

Yates has been doing the haunted house for five years, since she moved in, but her passion for Halloween began when she was 12 years old.

"I went to Disney World with my parents . . . and my dad bought me a monster mask, and on the way home I wore it and scared people, you know?" Yates said. "And I've always thought that was the biggest kick in, you know, July - scaring people. So, I came home and my dad built, out of his own pants and shirt and newspaper, a monster. And put the head on it for Halloween, and we put it in the chair and put some gloves on it and everybody thought that that was the neatest thing. So, every year I bought another mask and made another man, and my dad helped.

"Then growing up, I just kept collecting things, saving things and making things, and people started coming up and standing in line to see the scenery. Then I thought, hmmmm, let's make more and make it bigger. I started doing it at the house, here, five years ago, and ever since then it just gets bigger and better and bigger and better."

Now Yates doesn't have to work alone. With the help of friend Angie Martin, 40 neighborhood kids and her parents, this haunted house is no longer just scenery to look at. It's a fantastic show.

There is Freddy Krueger, out front, wanting to slash you with his sharp mechanical hand; the "Scream" character, in the front yard, getting ready to stab his crawling victim; the Chucky doll in a coffin in the living room; Pinhead from "Hellraiser" in the hallway; and Dracula and the chain saw maniac out back.

Yates, 34, performs several jobs for the State Highway Department, both during the week and on the weekends. She also plays drums in the band Kryptic, gives drum lessons and plays softball in the summer. "But I like this. This is my favorite," she says of her haunted house.

At night, the house's extravagant layout and lighting can be seen from Pulaski Highway. Many of her props stay up year-round, just because she loves Halloween - the body parts of a mannequin in her fireplace, for instance.

"Oh, I put that in there the first day I moved in here. He's been in there ever since. I love Halloween that much," Yates said.

There's a clock from "The Exorcist" with a rock on top of it, signed by Linda Blair. It came from the scene in the movie in which the man fell down the steps. And there is also a skeletal man from an explosion scene in "Army of Darkness" in the execution chamber, which contains her latest prop, a $6,000 execution chair.

She begins setting up the house in September, starting with the windows and then the characters. The haunted house is open to the public for what Yates calls the "12 days of Halloween," Oct. 20-31.

"Just waiting a year in between Halloween last year and this year, it's tough. We were looking forward to it all summer and winter long," said Steve Vernarelli, one of the kids who works at Kim's Krypt.

Yates buys everything for the haunted house out of her own pocket, from monster conventions and stores like Halloween Adventure and Spencers. She sells shirts, hats and mugs to promote Kim's Krypt.

"But the money from those things goes right back into money for more hats and shirts," said Martin. "What people don't know is that Kim pays for all of this herself. She works for the state and does anywhere from 600 to 800 hours of overtime a year. She actually does that much overtime so she can do this. The newest prop that she got was $6,000 . . . She only charges $2 to get in and that doesn't cover anything. She buys all the lights, the batteries, the props, all the masks and all of the kids' costumes. I mean, we volunteer our time, but she pays for everything."

Kim's Krypt offers entertainment for those who are waiting in line by providing horror movies out of her truck and live monsters, played by the kids, that interact with the people in the line. A ride in the hearse is available for $1. A concession stand sells hot and cold drinks and food, as well as the shirts and hats.

Elliot Darchicourt, 16, of Eastern Technical High School is a veteran at Kim's Krypt. He has been part of the team since the first year.

"My favorite prop, well, that changes every year . . . the chain saw's always cool. Other than that, some of the masks are just really awesome, and lots of the Styrofoam zombies in the graveyard, 'cause I've always loved the graveyard," said Elliot. The graveyard is in the backyard.

When the haunted house is open, Yates and Martin said, at least 250 people attend each night. This show is for kids and adults, and there is no age limit to enter - "whoever can take it," Martin said.

"It's interesting to see," said neighbor Tina Meginson. "We haven't actually gone over there to see what's been going on week by week 'cause we're waiting for the finishing touches. But, as a neighbor, I don't see anything wrong with it. I mean they just have the spirit all year round, so, hey, I give them their props."

The Facts

What: Kim's Krypt haunted house

Where: 1202 Berkwood Road, Rosedale

When: Through Oct. 31, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.

Tickets: $2 donation ($1 extra for hearse ride)

Call: 410-391-7726

Pub Date: 10/22/98

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