Couple prepares this year's haunted barn

Have you ever been so scared that you passed out? Maybe even wet yourself? If you answered no to either of those questions then you haven't been to The Reaper's Keep in Dickinson.


Have you ever been so scared that you passed out? Maybe even wet yourself? If you answered no to either of those questions then you haven't been to The Reaper's Keep in Dickinson.

Sunday night Dave and Anita Weiler will once again be hosting a haunted barn called The Reaper's Keep.

"We do it for fun. Halloween is like any other holiday," Anita said. "Some people like it and some people don't."

"We just feel that it's something nice we can do for our community, Dave added.

The Weilers have been hosting a haunted house in Dickinson for the past six years, but kept having to relocate do to city rules and fire codes.


The decorations used in the barn are a combination of things the family has made, bought locally or online and found on other old farms.

"Our most unique prop is an operation table from the Vietnam War," Dave said. "I found it in a junk pile on my dad's farm."

Other decorations include dolls, mannesdlfjksa;ldjcobwebs, mannequins, mummies, zombie, fake bats, rats, spiders, jars of eyeballs, body parts and alligators.

"It's a really fun atmosphere. They do a great job decorating the barn, some stuff looks pretty real," said Jake Siewert, a Reaper's Keep volunteer.

Proof of just how scary the haunted house can be is best explained by two separate incidents.

"One year a girl got so scared she passed out, and another time a Trinity cheerleader wet herself," Dave said.

Anita said it's important for guests to remember that the scaring is all in fun, none of the things in the barn are real, and the barn is not really haunted, the ghouls and goblins are just dolls and people in masks.

Anita feels people enjoy haunted houses for two reasons.


"Curiosity of the supernatural and because people love being scared and scaring others it gives you a thrill -- a rush of endorphins and adrenaline that give you a natural high," Anita said.

The Weilers' dream is to have the haunted house be a big event in Dickinson.

"We would like to have a pumpkin patch the whole month and then have a haunted house over Halloween week," David said.

Both Anita and Dave agree they would need more volunteers for that to happen.

Anita also hopes that if the event grows the family could have vendors as well offering food and drinks like apple cider or hot chocolate to guests.

The idea for the haunted house came about because of the amount of decorations the Weilers have accumulated over time.

"We used to have small get-togethers with their friends at our house, and the event just got bigger and bigger over time," said Anita.

David nodded in agreement, "Holding a haunted house seemed like a good idea, not only could we invite more people, but it would give the kids in town, who were too old for trick-or-treating, something to do."


The family relies heavily on volunteers and is still in need.

"Volunteers do everything from scaring people to helping the guests find a place to park in the yard," Anita said.

Last year the Weilers had about 500 visitors.

Reaper's Keep is open from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Sunday evening. It is located about a mile and half south of Loaf N Jug. There is no charge but donations are appreciated. The Weilers say everyone is welcome.

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