Enter, if you dare

Two local families transform homes into creepy haunted houses
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Sydney Lorek seems like the typical 17-year-old high school junior. She’s cute and friendly, with blond hair and stylish clothes. But two nights out of the year, she transforms into an unlucky patient who screams and moans at the top of her lungs as an evil surgeon pulls out her guts for all to see. Meanwhile, her younger brother, Ryan, hides in the dark shadows prepared to scare any visitors that cross his path. Thankfully, it’s all in good fun. Once again, the Lorek family will transform their Granite Bay home into a haunted house full of corpses, witches, skeletons, spiders, headless women, devil babies and other creepy crawlers that go bump in the night. The family spooks the living daylights out of any guests who happen upon their house with a good old-fashioned haunting that will leave those brave enough to pass through wondering if they just attended their own funeral or experienced their worst nightmare. Pam and Jeff Lorek are the masterminds behind the haunted house. The couple — both certified public accountants by day — has hosted these events for about 15 years, but morphed the house into a bigger scale a few years ago. Much to the dismay of neighbors and friends, the Loreks took two years off to remodel their house, but will once again host the haunted house Friday Oct. 29 and Saturday Oct. 30. The family pretty much never stops thinking of scary ideas for the house throughout the year. “We’ll watch a (horror) movie and say, ‘Oh, we’ve got to do that.’” Pam Lorek said. Guests enter for free but the Loreks ask for canned food donations, which will go to St. Vincent de Paul. Last time, more than 700 people attended and this year the organizers expect closer to 1,500, which means there might be a bit of a wait. Pulling off the haunted house takes the help of about 45 friends, relatives and neighbors, more than a month of constructing the props and a couple thousand dollars to buy more supplies each year. The haunted house will feature a Hannibal Lecter room, graveyards, “Blood Alley,” a pirate ship, rolling heads from a guillotine, a rat room and more. “People hate the rat room,” Pam Lorek said. And, of course, there will be a woman undergoing an exorcism, played convincingly by neighbor and preschool teacher Rosemary Black — a veteran of the haunted house known for not slipping out of character. “I’m totally in my element,” Black said. “I love the element of surprise. The other day, I was listening to Christian music and working in the exorcism room.” The whole house will be monitored with volunteers to ensure no one causes damage trying to escape the terror. “The teenagers try to be cool,” Sydney Lorek said. “Especially, guys. They don’t think they’ll get scared, but they sure want to find a way out fast.” What: Haunted House at the Lorek’s When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30 Where: 7792 Michael Court in Granite Bay Cost: Free, canned food accepted to benefit St. Vincent de Paul of Roseville ---------- At the start of the Martin family’s haunted house, a gypsy will greet guests and possibly make them rethink their desire to enter. Because if they choose to proceed, their futures don’t look so good. Guests of the Roseville house will encounter skeletons, vampires, crazy clowns, evil mimes, patients of an insane asylum and other less-than-friendly hosts. Body parts dangle from the ceiling and strobe lights will set an eerie scene. “We have lots of cobwebs so you feel all creepy and gory,” Betty Martin said. The family is putting the finishing touches on turning their living room, family room, dining room, kitchen, guest room and front yard into a scary place for kids and adults. They’ve spent the past month — and about $500 on new supplies — creating the haunted house, with the help of about 25 volunteers. “We get a lot of help from the neighborhood kids,” Martin said. “It gives the kids a fun thing to do and donates to a good cause.” The haunted house is free but Martin asks for donations of canned food to benefit the Placer Food Bank. This is the fifth year the family has hosted the haunted house, which will open Friday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 30. “We started this because our kids didn’t have anything fun to do,” Martin said. “We wanted to do something small, but it turned out grand.” The haunted house features a dungeon, slaughterhouse and autopsy room. There will also be a room devoted to the horror film “The Ring,” complete with a static television set and young girl. Most of the scary creatures in the house are animatronics, which sense motion and come to life. “Sometimes, we forget to turn them off and there will be motion in the middle of the night and they go off,” Martin said. “So we tend to scare ourselves.” Her youngest son, 10-year-old Cannon, can’t wait for the big event. He’ll be jumping out and scaring guests. Martin just hopes everyone has a good time. “We want (visitors) to have a great experience,” Martin said. What: Haunted house at the Martin’s When: 7-9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30 Where: 3000 Mammoth Drive in Roseville Cost: Free, canned food accepted to benefit the Placer Food Bank