What: Boulder High School haunted house
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 18, 19, 25, 26 and 31
Where: Boulder High School auditorium, 1604 Arapahoe Ave.
Cost: $5 students; $8 adults
About 45 Boulder High students are hammering, painting, draping fabric, designing costumes, setting up lights and rehearsing their parts as they turn the school's auditorium into an extensive, 22-room haunted house.
The annual student-run production is also the theater department's major fundraiser -- and, this year, money is needed not just to put on the spring musical, but also to help replace props lost in the September flood.
About 60 percent of the theater department's props, all stored in the tunnels under the school, were lost after a sump pump failed and the space flooded. Losses included tables, light fixtures, curtains and expensive specialty items.
Students said they're counting on the production to raise money to replace props and promised an experience that's on par with the for-profit haunted houses in the area. Boulder High's haunted house typically averages 400 visitors a night.
"We deliver," said senior Kelsea Dionne.
Kelsea, who will be doing make-up for this year's haunted house, has worked on the production all four years. Her favorites include dressing up in a mermaid costume in last year's twisted fairytale house and making a football player cry her freshman year.
"It's really fun to scare people," she said.
The production, set up on the stage and in the "bowels" of the theater, is in the theme of a 1930s house inhabited by the Smiths -- "a very standard family, in a very standard neighborhood, but with dark secrets."
To accommodate brave upper elementary and middle school students, the Boulder High students are offering a Sunday matinee Oct. 26. But generally, it's geared to high school students and above.
The two student directors, junior Wesley Halloran and senior Isaac Tipton Snyder, said they wanted to direct because they had lots of ideas for a haunted house. Each room is part of an overall plot that includes a back story and recurring characters, Wesley said.
"All the rooms branch out of the plot, but each room is different," he said. "You start in the cellar of the house, in the tunnels, and then see deeper and deeper into it."
The school's haunted house originated with Noah Kloor and Angie Gaffney, who dreamed it up as Boulder High sophomores and produced it for three years. After they graduated, new students took over, and it's become a tradition.
Students involved in the production, from actors to the light crew, said a haunted house allows for more creativity than a typical school production.
"You can build a wall or paint a face," said sophomore Lizzy Scholz. "It's a form of self-expression."
Added freshman Marcos Ospina, "It's a tapestry of horror."