Tena ande Justin Simons were named Maritimers of the Week by CTV on Oct. 31, recognizing their years dedicated to running an annual haunted house which accepts non perishable items towards area food banks and money for the community teen centre. (Rose Willigar - The Record)
SPRINGHILL - Scaring small children and frightening adults for 13 years, Springhill residents Tena and Justin Simons were awarded last Friday CTV's Maritimer of the Week honours for their efforts.
Their annual haunted house began in 1996, free of charge, but after having such a tremendous response they decided to make the event a charitable occasion, accepting food donations for the food bank or monetary donations towards the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre's teen centre.
This year the couple raised more than $740 in donations, which goes back into the community.
In her written submission to CTV, Rhonda Millard explained just how much this couple gives to the community.
"I would like to share a brief description of how their (Tena and Justin) efforts each year at Halloween have helped to keep our community safe, and assisted over 100 people each year from Springhill and surrounding area to get into the spirit of Halloween in a safe and positive way, while giving back to the community in collected food donations and money that is raised," Millard wrote in her letter.
Millard explained the Simons first began their haunted house in the basement of their first home and after building a new home they continued the tradition and held the haunted house in the garage of their home on Valley Road.
"All monies raised at the haunted house have been donated to places like the local community centre's "teen centre" to help kids stay off the streets. The haunted house is open one night (Oct. 25 this year) and is open to accommodate all ages. The scariness of each tour is based on a rating system that ranges from not so scary, scary, to very scary. Each year the props are changed so it continues to be a new experience for everyone," Millard wrote.
"When we first began we used to hold the event on Halloween night, but as the years went on there was too long of a wait therefore we decided to hold the haunted house the week prior to Halloween so everyone could still enjoy trick or treating," the Simons said.
"We had no idea the haunted house would become such a big event. Next year there are plans to extend the trail and as always the props will be different," the couple said.
"We feel guilty taking all the credit for this. We have a lot of volunteers who help make the haunted house possible. Weeks before the event there are people coming over to help out," Tena and Justin said.
The couple said they were surprised to be named Maritimers of the Week and extended thanks to the many volunteers who helped out along with sponsors such as Home Hardware, Paint Recycling, the Union for Correctional Officers and donations from the Springhill Institution.