THE TWILIGHT ZONE enigmatically appeared on a grassy lot in Roberts Field just before the hour of trick-or-treat, thanks to 13 teen-agers who've turned their love of Halloween pranks into a five-room house of horror.
Instead of admission, they sought donations to tour the house of freaky delight, collecting money for Hampstead Volunteer Fire Company.
With an uncanny knack for turning discarded items into chilling special effects, the group had plotted since August about how to build a guillotine and set up creepy acts inside a tarp-covered tunnel of fog-filled rooms.
All but one in the group are 15 years old. Many have been friends since Cub Scouts and are sophomores at North Carroll High School. I met some of them in the final stages of preparation of the house of horror.
"This is our Hollywood-style sign," said Ryan Kraushofer, pointing out broken lengths of wood nailed together crookedly and painted white. It spelled Twilight Zone in 2-foot-high block letters. The sign would be attached to a steep hillside near the house.
A foam head Stephen Davis was tossing up and down would turn up as a roast on the rack of a discarded gas barbecue grill. An abandoned, very moldy refrigerator was to be pressed into gruesome action.
"We'll put body parts in the fridge," Ryan said.
"It's the butcher section," added Stephen.
Four years ago, Ryan and friends presented a Halloween skit on the front porch of his home to unwary children asking for candy. Three years ago, Scott Reese persuaded his mother to let them set up something more elaborate in her corner yard on Gaming Square. Last year, Ryan tallied about 350 people entering the zone.
This year marks their largest effort, with five 8-foot-by-8-foot rooms, featuring teens in scary costumes. The group spent about $700 for special effects in addition to borrowing Steven Graber's stereo system. Other members of the 13 are: Laura Orsburn, Joe Azzarello, Andrew Shifflett, Ryan DiLeonardi, Dean Thompson, Scott Reese, Torry Malco, Ryan Casey (who is 16), Sheena Steel and John Danza.
"We're doing this because everybody likes to get scared on Halloween," Stephen said.
Taste the nouveau
Late September grapes have matured into the first vintages of the year, and a free taste is offered Nov. 11 and 12 at Cygnus Wine Cellars, 3130 Long Lane in Manchester. Nouveau wines are fruity and red, and generally consumed before New Year's Day.
The wine tasting party takes place from noon to 5 p.m., and an RSVP is requested.
Business group to meet
The membership of Hampstead Business Association (HBA) will meet at noon today at Dean's Restaurant, Main Street, Hampstead. A discussion of rental housing agreements will take place.
The 2001 Hampstead Business Directory is gaining assistance from North Carroll High School Business Club. The club is selling ads, getting proofs and collecting fees. Advertisements sold before Nov. 15 receive a 10 percent discount. All ads are due before Jan. 1.
For directory information, leave a message for the club with HBA President Russ Vriezen at 410-848-4080.
Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.