Timonium 'Scaregrounds' won't return to fairgrounds

This year, Halloween will be a little less scary in Baltimore County.

After turning the State Fairgrounds in Timonium into the "Timonium Scaregrounds" attraction last fall, organizers of the haunted house were unable to reach a deal to replicate the event this year.

That means Steve Bauer and Marianne Wittlesberger, a Lutherville couple who brought their costume and makeup expertise to the Scaregrounds last year, will relegate their Halloween high-jinks to the in-home haunted house.

"I'll probably have 150 people come to the house," Bauer said. "Friends, family and everyone who worked with us on Scaregrounds, they all want to have some kind of Halloween fun."

Last year, fairgrounds board member Wayne Gioioso Jr. — who hired Bauer and Wittlesberger to provide the fright for the two-day haunted house

The fairgrounds provided the space free of charge, with all the proceeds of the event above payment to Bauer and his crew, going to United Cerebral Palsy's Delrey School.

But this year, Bauer said, the fairgrounds sought a payment of $8,800 for use of the facility, a cost he said would have ballooned to $10,000 by the time they finished.

With the fairgrounds no longer an option, Bauer said he explored 13 other possible venues for an attraction, each with positives and negatives.

Sites considered included Padonia Park Swim Club, the former Rosewood Center in Owings Mills and an old State Highway Administration building on Falls Road near the Jones Falls Expressway that Bauer called "abandoned and creepy as hell."

None panned out, though, he said.

For his own haunted house, Bauer plans to incorporate his neighbors who live four houses down and build a haunted trail through their backyards, complete with children in zombie makeup playing in the yards.

Meanwhile, at the fairgrounds, Gioioso said things won't be completely quiet — the facility is hosting a private costume party on Oct. 29 at the fairgrounds, this time benefiting the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, a school that provides affordable, Catholic education to low-income students in Baltimore City.

For more information on that event, call 410-727-3255.

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