Halloween lovers come out 'to get a scare' at annual Westminster library haunted house

Inside the Carroll County Public Library’s Westminster branch Saturday the usual items could be found — computers, books, 3-D printers and more.

But also nestled in the library, away from the day’s dreary weather, was an elaborate labyrinth of rooms set up as the Eternal Rest Haunted Hotel complete with splatters of fake blood and bone-chilling screams.


In line for the library’s annual haunted house — which has a different theme each year — were Maria Owens, of Westminster, and James Clements, of Baltimore, with his two sons James, 10, and Jayden, 7.

Owens said the three came to Westminster to check out the haunted house for the first time.


“I thought this would be a really nice event for them to come to,” she said.

And while the boys said they didn’t think they’d be scared prior to heading into the haunted house, exiting told a different story. Clements said they’d been scared by the hotel-themed horror, and Jayden admitted the elevator room, where someone jumped out and screamed, did get him.

When asked what the most popular Halloween costume in Carroll County is this year, Spirit Halloween staff said it was undeniably characters from the online video game Fortnite.

Michael Phillips, of Westminster, came out to the library Saturday with his two sons Elias, 6, and Noah, 4.

Simply put, Phillips said the group came out “to get scared.”

Phillips said he brought the boys last year, though this year, Elias wasn’t so sure he was up for the challenge, and was contemplated sitting Saturday’s trip through the haunted house out.

Still, Phillips said the boys are excited for Halloween this year. They plan to go trick-or-treating around their neighborhood.

Pat Hahn, a library associate, said every year the library changes the theme of the haunted house. This year’s — the hotel — has multiple rooms that would be in a hotel. There’s a check-in desk, a room with a seance, a room with a bride and her dead husband, a bloodied bathroom, an elevator and more.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, children are more than twice more likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Studies show that, developmentally, children cannot judge speed and distance of approaching vehicles until age 10.

A few of the volunteers who were part of the haunted house — two of which were dressed like characters from “The Shining” — carefully hid behind black curtains throughout the maze, ready to jump as those inside got close.

“A lot of these things are handmade,” Hahn said of the decorations, and the entire event is run by library staff and volunteers.

The event, which ran from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, is fun and free, Hahn said.

The library’s haunted house, which Hahn said is well decorated but not too gruesome, usually pulls in more than 1,000 people each year.

“Everybody likes a scare — a controlled scare,” she said.

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