Haunted house to raise money for Shriners hospital efforts

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Exquisitely posed, this skeleton is prepared to scare the pants off you at the Wilsonville Al Kader Shriners Haunted House, which will open at 7 p.m. nightly Oct. 25-31 in north Wilsonville.Wilsonville’s Halloween just got a lot cooler this year.

The first Haunted House Halloween kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at the Al Kader Shrine Center in north Wilsonville, bringing both the old and the new to families and children in the south metro area.

Advertised as a slightly mellower “no blood, no gore” haunted house, the Shriners are looking toward a younger target audience than many in the metro area.

“There are some bigger ones, they’ve got billboards up for one at the Rose Garden,” said Rob Gamble, co-organizer of the Wilsonville Shriners haunted house. “The thing that really differentiates those types of haunts, although we have a lot of similar type gags, is that they’re a ton of blood and gore stuff. That’s fine for some people, but they’re targeting a different audience. We’re very much more interested in the clean scare, family-friendly humor.”

There will be a full menu of traditional Halloween treats for visitors, while a small army of volunteers from the Canby School District and various Shrine groups will provide chaperones, concession workers and cleanup.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - There may not be blood and gore at the Al Kader Shriners haunted house, but there are plenty of surprises, gags and frights awaiting the anticipated younger crowd. Volunteers from the school district also helped set up the haunted house, which could well look familiar to certain Canby residents of the right age; the gags, props and everything else all were used in the old Ackerman Middle School haunted house that closed down several years ago because of a lack of funds.

This summer, as Gamble and his father, Ron, were trying to follow up on the initial idea, they turned to friends in Canby, where the Gambles still live. Instead of advice, they quickly found they had an entire haunted house on their hands.

“We said, ‘We can buy it,’” Ron Gamble said with a chuckle.

Even better, the district offered its expertise in setting up and running the elaborate attraction, which will take up a large warehouse behind the Shrine Center in north Wilsonville. In return, the Shriners agreed to donate a percentage of proceeds back to the district.

Tickets are $10 each and the event is going to be open to the public between Friday and Halloween night on Oct. 31.

“It turned out to be a win-win,” Ron Gamble said.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - There are a variety of horror-filled hallways, rooms, traps and scenes awaiting those who enter the Shriners haunted house, including creatures who may be able to survive a dunking in a barrel of radioactive waste.  While the general public might view the Shriners as an aging group of veterans, the reality is anything but. The group actually takes its name from the series of renowned children’s hospitals it supports across the country. Its mission is child-centered, Rob Gamble said, so it made perfect sense when it came time to raise money to look to a younger crowd once again.

In the past the group has done that with its once-popular circus attractions. But those days are gone and likely are not returning. But the mission still focuses on kids. The haunted house is intended to raise money to allow Wilsonville Shriners to continue to hold events and other fundraisers for the Portland Shriners Hospital, located adjacent to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Clowns might never look the same again to you after youre finished with the upcoming Shriners haunted house. “We have to have a balance between what we do to generate revenue for ourselves to support our effort, and that’s what this haunted house is about,” Rob Gamble said. “Typically that’s always been, over the hundreds of years, the circuses, which is what the Shrine is most associated with. I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or what, but the trend has kind of gone.”

From witches and lunatics to the undead rising from the grave, the Shriners’ haunted house will have everything you’d expect from a haunt and then some. How intense will it be? That, Rob Gamble said, depends entirely on the person.

“The folks that have started this, they’re teachers in the school district, and they have seen 3- and 4-year-olds go through it cracking up,” he said. “And they’ve seen eighth- and ninth-graders pee their pants.”

In other words, take your chances and you’ll find out for yourself.

At a glance:

Al Kader Shriners Wilsonville Haunted House

Where: At the Al Kader Shrine Center, 25100 SW Parkway Ave.

When: 7 p.m. nightly Oct. 25-31; admission $10 each

Why: All proceeds benefit the Al Kader Shrine Center.

More information: Check out the Shriners’ new Facebook and Twitter pages: and (@alkadershriners)

Web: hauntedhouse/

Josh Kulla can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 113. Follow him on Twitter, @wspokesman.

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