With the pandemic canceling the famed Nightmare at Beaver Lake for a second year in a row, two Sammamish residents have taken up the challenge of building a miniature haunted house for the community to explore.
Jessica Devine, 42, and her son, Sam, created a Harry-Potter-themed experience in their garage.
“It has been a hard year for people and we wanted to create an experience for people to enjoy,” Devine said.
Dubbed “Haunted Hogwarts Sammamish,” the haunted garage started small but progressed into an event with a cause thanks to her son’s suggestion, Devine said.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the GivingHope Project, which offers aid to those who are homeless by providing them with food, clothing, hygiene kits and other necessities. The teen founder of the GivingHope Project, Liem Kaplan, happens to be the Devines’ neighbor.
“I always split my allowance into two buckets of spend and share, and I donate the money to the Hope foundation headed by my neighbor Liem every year,” 7-year-old Sam said.
The haunted garage was built with the involvement of the entire community, Devine said. As word of the project spread, neighbors and friends came forth with donations to help make it happen.
Some people even rolled up their sleeves to help build the set. Devine said her neighbors brought handmade paper-mache owl heads, potion bottles and other makeshift Harry Potter relics. The artistic director of Nightmare at Beaver Lake donated wall structures and helped to set secure walkways and paths.
This haunted garage will be very kid-friendly and appropriate for all ages as it is just a little spooky and not too over the top. There will also be a lemonade stand selling homemade swiss rolls, chocolate candies, strawberry shortcake, a mix of chips and glow tubes.
Visitors are encouraged to give donations in any denomination. Devine has set a goal of raising $3,500 to help cover operating costs for the GivingHope Project.
Visitors will have to wear masks and exercise strict social distancing. Devine said only one family will be allowed to enter the garage at a time. There will also be a medical-grade air filter installed to clean the air.