herald

Monday 18 December 2017

To the house of horrors

SPOOKS: Home transformed for frightening fundraiser

A TWITCHING torso, a fortune-telling witch and a creepy cat are just some of the new additions to the haunted house on Killiney Hill.

Ken Carraher (51) has once again transformed his home in the south Co Dublin suburb into a veritable witches' coven.

Thousands of visitors from all over the country, and as far away as Germany, France and America, have braved the annual Halloween House.



MARQUEE

And last year even a Brazilian TV programme stopped by for footage of sinister goings-on.

Along with help from his colleagues in the ESB, Ken and his wife Gail (41) and daughter Aoife (13) set up a massive marquee in the garden every year and turn it into a scarefest.

"All of the kids help out setting up inside -- it's a real community effort," Ken said.

Neighbour Brid Gamell said that the whole estate gave a dig-out for the annual event. "It started off very small but now it has turned into a huge event," she said.

"Every year he erects a huge marquee which takes up half the garden -- it's really Disney-like.

"There are creepy sound effects and smoke machines but the best thing of all is that it's all for charity.

"Ken puts all his own money into it -- he buys from the US and online."

This year they have nominated Debra Ireland, which helps children with a debilitating condition that makes their skin so delicate it blisters at the touch.

"We've raised between €7,000 to €8,000 over the years," Ken said. "But it's only a little bit scary -- it's suitable for younger children."

Ken started the annual event with two mannequins he found in a condemned building in 1999, but the experience has evolved and is now a Killiney institution.

The decorated house has been running consistently for 11 years and Ken is constantly on the lookout for spooky acquisitions he can add to his house.



Coffin

Ken has even made three adjustable coffins so that anyone who wants to can experience the feeling of being buried alive.

A special charity coffin will also be on display so people can make a donation to Debra Ireland.

And aside from the horror-filled house, the family have stocked up on thousands of bags of sweets and lollipops for trick-or-treaters.

The house opened for business on Thursday evening and will run until Halloween tomorrow night. It's open from 3-8pm, but younger children are encouraged to come earlier.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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