Sylvania teens trying to win haunted house contestWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Halloween will be Christmas for a Sylvania Township teen hoping “Good Morning America” shows up at his door Oct. 31.
Nick Francis, 16, constructed a haunted house in his parents’ backyard with the help of his 14-year-old cousin, Max Simon of Strongsville, Ohio. The haunted house, Hell’s Gate, is in the running for $25,000. The contest, sponsored by FEARnet, is for the best home haunt in the nation.
If they win, Francis and Simon want to take the money and build a haunted house that is open to the public. They were told they could not advertise their house this year, per township orders.
“So, we will have friends, family and neighbors only come by and we will take care of parking so it does not disturb or hinder anyone from traveling,” Francis said, noting a neighbor complained about the construction.
“We are so glad next year we will be able to start a business thing and make money,” Francis said.
But they first need a high ranking in order to win the money.
Francis and Simon have been spreading the word to go to their Web site, www.hellsgatehaunt.com, which link to the voting site. Voters have to log in in and then rank the haunted house.
“We were in the contest last year, but we didn’t enter until the last day,” Francis said.
This year, Francis and Simon started building when school let out. Simon spent most of the summer in Sylvania Township. His father, Tom Simon, would drive him to Sandusky, and Francis’ dad, Jim Francis, would meet them there and drive the rest of the way.
Francis said he’s been decorating for Halloween since First grade.
The last couple of years, he decorated the garage, and before that it was in the basement. This year, it’s in the backyard.
“I love Halloween, and my parents are starting to,” Francis said, laughing.
Simon worked as an actor in Francis’ haunted garage last year.
“I just thought it was amazing.
I fell in love with the process,” Simon said.
With some funding from their uncle, George Simon, the two decided to take the haunted house one step further.
Francis will know after the voting ends Oct. 27 if they are in
the top five, but they won’t know if they won until Halloween. Will “Good Morning America” show up in Sylvania Township? The boys cannot wait to find out.
“I might have to take the day off of school,” Francis said.