Kirkland family transforms garage into free haunted house for community

Oct 31, 2022, 5:19 PM
(Photo by Ana Fernandez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A Kirkland family wanted to create some free Halloween fun for the community — so they set up a free haunted house in their garage for their neighbors.

The MacIssac family — Jamie, Amanda, and their teenage daughter, Stella — spent the last month going all out to transform their suburban garage into a spooky lair reminiscent of Netflix’s Stranger Things.

“We both really love Halloween, and we thought, there’s not a better way to get the community out and meet our neighbors than to put something on for free and have fun and get to meet people and scare people,” Jamie MacIsaac said.

Jamie said he was the builder, while Amanda was the architect. Each family member designed their own unique nook in the walk-through. They filled the garage with smoke machines, flickering lights, eerie sound effects, and even professional-level animatronics they ordered from a company that designs film props. Teens in the neighborhood are providing their acting skills to play ghosts and zombies.

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“We’ve always lived in apartments most of our adult life, so not being able to participate in decorating your yard or having a garage haunted house or anyone coming to the door,” Amanda Kyle MacIsaac said. “So living here and having a home that we can open up and share and have that neighborhood community is just what I’ve been dreaming of.”

For many people, this is the first year of “normal” Halloween celebrations since 2019, so the MacIsaacs thought it was the perfect time to bring together people who have spent the last two spooky seasons socially distancing.

“This is the year they finally feel like they can come out of their houses and inter-mingle with everyone — kind of try to get back to normal,” Jamie said.

The feedback they have gotten from neighbors shows that people have been craving these kinds of holiday get-togethers. Amanda said people have been grateful for a chance to bring their kids out to have fun.

“Everyone just wants to hang out and be a part of having a community,” Amanda said. “I think we’re all starving for connection, and this is giving us that.”

And the haunted garage is drawing far more than just the MacIsaac’s North Kirkland neighborhood. Over the past three weekends, they estimate they have had 1,000 visitors. Amanda said that lines have gone out the garage door at points.

“If you want to get scared and have an adrenaline rush and giggles and laughs, this is the place to come visit,” Amanda said.

The haunted house takes just a couple of minutes to walk through. No actors will touch you, but guests should be prepared for frightening and realistic-looking animatronics, flashing lights, and a couple of jump scares. The MacIsaacs do not recommend the experience for any children under 12, though they noted that since it is a short walk-through, a parent of a younger child could walk it first and then decide if their youngster can handle it.

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The haunted garage can be the first stop on your Halloween night out, or it can serve as a “training wheels” experience for someone who wants to work their way up to a bigger haunted house, but is not yet ready for the scares or the price tag of a professional haunt.

“It’s good for starters who want a haunted house experience, but don’t have to spend 15 minutes in one,” Jamie said. “They kind of get in, get out, see what it’s all about, and then next time they can go to a bigger one.”

And far from having to spend money on this haunted house, the MacIsaacs are giving back to the community with a contest to win $100. If you visit the haunted garage and post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #mutationshauntedhouse, you will be placed in a drawing. Winners will be notified the day after Halloween.

The haunted house garage runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight at 9803 Northeast 140th Place in Kirkland. Jamie said Google Maps may have this address as Bothell, but it will lead you to the same place.

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Kirkland family transforms garage into free haunted house for community