Tamalpais Community Services District haunted house likely to close this year

Parks+and+Recreation+Director+Carol+Buchholz+leads+tour+through+Tam+Valley%27s+Haunted+House.+%28Courtesy+of+Stefanie+Schwartz%29
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Tamalpais Community Services District haunted house likely to close this year

Parks and Recreation Director Carol Buchholz leads tour through Tam Valley's Haunted House. (Courtesy of Stefanie Schwartz)

Parks and Recreation Director Carol Buchholz leads tour through Tam Valley's Haunted House. (Courtesy of Stefanie Schwartz)

Parks and Recreation Director Carol Buchholz leads tour through Tam Valley's Haunted House. (Courtesy of Stefanie Schwartz)

Parks and Recreation Director Carol Buchholz leads tour through Tam Valley's Haunted House. (Courtesy of Stefanie Schwartz)

By Samantha Nichols

The Tamalpais Community Services District (TCSD) held what may have been its final haunted house at the Tam Valley Community Center from October 25 to 27. This year over 1,500 community members attended the event put on by 120 volunteers including some Tam students. 

“It just gets you in the Halloween spirit,” freshman Emma Korelev, who has been a volunteer at the haunted house for five years, said. “I hope that they continue it somehow.”

The 2019 haunted house was monster-themed and included a swamp illusion, a spinning vortex, a werewolf who shook a bridge that participants were standing on, and a dark room with green polka dots and monsters hiding in the shadows.

“I was scared out of my mind … I would close my eyes sometimes when I would get too scared,” junior Genevive Durham said.

The three creators of the event, Carol Buchholz, Greg LeMoi, and Jeff Brown, are all parting ways and will not be able to manage the haunted house in the future.

Buchholz, who has been the TCSD Parks and Recreation director since 2004 and organizes the annual haunted house, is planning to retire next summer. Brown will not continue with the event partly due to his age and mobility.

“I’m just getting a little too old. It’s a lot of work. We’re here for 10, 12, 14 hours a day for two weeks straight … when you’re 62 years old it gets to be a little hard,” Brown said. 

LeMoi recently moved to Petaluma and will not be able to commute to the community center to help set up and run the event.

“So between the three of us all ready to stop, it’s time,” Buchholz said. Recreation Supervisor Lara Zegart is being trained by Buchholz to take over her position as Parks and Recreation Director. However, it is unclear whether Zegart will continue the haunted house. 

“If things were exactly the way they were and only [Buchholz] was leaving then I would say yes, I would absolutely hold this event again, but there’s more factors than that at the moment,” Zegart said. 

The annual haunted house began in 2008, when LeMoi, then a Tam Valley resident, suggested the idea to Buchholz.

“I had just moved here, walked over to the rec center and said, ‘Hey Carol, you want to do a haunted house?’” LeMoi said. Two years later, haunted house construction specialist Brown joined the team, and the three of them have run the event ever since.

“I love just seeing the smiles on people’s faces … and just knowing that something we’ve created brings joy to people, and the sense of community too,” Brown said.

Although the future of the haunted house is unknown, Buchholz and Zegart are hopeful this will not be the last event of its kind in the Tam community.

“[Zegart] is full of ideas and she is very creative. I have no doubt that there will be something magical next Halloween,” Buchholz said.