Carmen Brown building

Carmen Brown works Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, on the haunted house she and Megan Jarrell are building in their backyard in Elgin for Halloween.


ELGIN — Megan Jarrell and Carmen Brown’s home may be the spookiest house in Elgin on Halloween.

The engaged couple are constructing a themed haunted house through their shed and backyard at 35 N. 17th St.

The theme is based on the popular Stephen King novel and movie “IT” and features, of course, killer clowns. Jarrell said her love for Halloween made her want to construct the haunted trail through her home, and with the help of friends and family it is becoming a reality.

“Halloween is my favorite holiday,” Jarrell said. “After the Maridell Center closed and ended their haunted house walkthrough, we thought why not put something on here for people to come through.”

An annual haunted house event in La Grande was held at the Maridell Center, but the family center shut down at the end of May.

Jarrell and Brown, who are in the early stages of construction, said the donations of wood pallets and having volunteers to help build are a big help.

“The nice thing about the donations is they don’t have to look nice and perfect,” Jarrell said. “The setting of this experience is in less than pleasant places like sewers, so garbage can work perfectly.”

The haunted walk will start at the side gate to the house, wind through the large shed on the property and through the backyard. Jarrell said she chose the theme of “IT” and killer clowns because they are one of her favorite types of scary movies to watch.

“Ever since I was a kid, scary stuff has been my thing,” Jarrell said. “I like fear because it is raw and unfiltered emotion.”

While the backyard will be full of frights, Jarrell said one of her friends is going to be building a smaller maze for younger children to walk through that is not as scary. And candy will be available for everyone regardless if they go through the haunted house or children’s maze.

Jarrell and Brown said their reasons for doing the maze have little to do with the coronavirus pandemic. However, the pandemic has been part of the discussion on how to construct and run the haunted house. The Oregon Health Authority said haunted houses are in the moderate risk category, provided there is social distancing and mask wearing. Jarrell said they plan on staggering people entering the haunted house to help provide the distance and will be offering hand sanitizer at the entrance or exit.

“Nobody will be touching anyone or anything,” she said.

The couple said if the event is a success, they would consider continuing the tradition next year with a different theme.

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