If all goes according to plan, Hope Haven Horse Farm will turn the frightening prospect of $9-per-bale hay into something even more scary -- and maybe make a little extra money in the process.
The farm in eastern Putnam County at 10416 E. U.S. 40 will host a "Haven of Horrors" haunted barn from 7-11 p.m. Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27.
When Christy Menke, the owner of the non-profit therapeutic riding facility on the Putnam/Hendricks County line, realized that this summer's statewide drought would leave her without enough hay to winter the farm's 14 horses, she starting shopping around and soon realized that buying hay would be more expensive than her farm could easily afford.
Menke had heard of other horse farms that made money running haunted barn tours. Unfortunately, she wasn't quite sure how to execute the plan.
Enter Sidney Tongret, Greencastle attorney and "evil" fright-planning genius.
Tongret, who has taken the reins in planning many of the stages in the haunted maze, said he has one goal for the fundraiser -- frighten as many people as he can.
"I was really disappointed that there were never really any scared when I was a kid and we would go trick-or-treating," he said. "They were always kind of lame."
Menke said she was astounded by how much thought and effort Tongret has put into the event.
The fundraiser is themed "Horrors of Hollywood" and will feature scenes from several popular slasher flicks.
Neither organizer wanted to give away too much of what's in store, but Tongret has recently purchased a milk truck reminiscent of the 1939 film "Jeepers Creepers." Freddy Kruger and Jason will likely make an appearance, too. Oh, and Tongret seems to have found a diabolical use for a manure spreader.
Admission for the tour is $5. Children younger than 12 cannot tour the barn without an adult.
Regardless, between the haunted barn, the concessions and the kids' corral, Menke promises that the show "won't be lame."
Menke said she will split the profits with the Putnam County Youth Development League. If the event goes well, she hopes to take on more charities and more activities in future year, she added.
Menke is hoping to raise about $10,000 from the event and needs about $4,000 to buy hay to keep her horses in good shape for the winter, she said.
The Hope Haven Horse Farm offers equine therapy to about 30 children with disabilities. The farm also uses horses to teach relationships and mentor at-risk teenagers.