Janesville haunt aims to scare, raise money

Fundraiser benefits local woman with brain tumor

Published On: Sep 30 2012 11:09:59 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 30 2012 11:10:40 PM CDT
JANESVILLE, Wis. -

A new, family-run haunted house aims to scare plenty of people in Janesville this October while also raising money for a family member facing a dire medical diagnosis.

Tom Clayton, who's operating the house, said he's hoping 5,000 people go through to benefit his terminally ill sister, Katie.

According to Clayton, doctors have given the 24-year-old woman up to six months to live after a brain tumor has paralyzed her left side.

"When I started planning this a year ago, my plan was to raise enough money to take care of her for a year, to do rehab, to get her better," Clayton said. "That's still my plan, but the news we've gotten is more grave."

The haunted house, at 1634 E. Racine, features a dark, twisting path through more than a dozen themed rooms. Clayton said the attraction was a natural fit for the family, for which Halloween had always been the favorite holiday. He said he's been working at haunted houses since he was in middle school.

Medical bills have put the family in a financial hardship, and they need at least 1,000 people to go through the maze to break even on the costs of the event, Clayton said.

"The amount of work I've put into this project has made me feel like I'm doing something, in a situation where I can't do anything," he said.

The haunted house runs every night but Mondays throughout October. There are also special "lights-on" sessions on weekend afternoons for families to get guided tours of the house.

Clayton said he thinks many people will visit in support of his sister, but he hopes others come just for the scary scene. He said hospice care is organizing a trip for Katie Clayton to go through the house as well.

"I did build this entire haunted house to be handicap accessible," he said. "This is definitely ready for my sister to go through."

For more information, visit the haunted house's Facebook page.