An Eldersburg family is inviting the Carroll County community to join them at their Haunted Graveyard on Halloween night — in part to help them collect food for a good cause.
Carol and Jim Finneran and their four children first started hosting friends at their “graveyard” 14 years ago, though they started inviting for the community and collecting food donations for charity two years later, Carol said in an email interview.
The Finneran family encourages attendees to donate non-perishables cans or any boxed foods that they will then donate to Carroll County Food Sunday. The food donations are greatly appreciated but are not a requirement. They don’t charge admission.
According to Finneran, every year their kids and their friends help build the haunts and then run the event, including by frightening the attendees throughout the night.
She said that each year they have a different theme, which is encompassed in two or three new haunts. This year, they will have a “Walk Through our Backyard” attraction, where attendees will navigate frights throughout the Finnerans’ property.
Finneran said the event has been a great success throughout the years. She said that they have always had at least 100 kids attend, even when it has rained. (That said, in the event of rain this year, Finneran said, the event will be rescheduled to Friday.)
She emphasized that she appreciates the help and support that her neighbors have given her throughout the years.
“Our neighbors have been great, donating decorations, never complaining about having to buy extra treats because they know we will draw more trick-or-treaters, and never complaining about the noise or traffic,” Finneran said. “The little ones in our neighborhood refer to us as the scary house.”
Finneran said this has been a great way for the family to bond and spend time together.
“Our children, Griffin, Olivia, James and Anna, have spent year after year working together with us to plan the different themes each year, to build the haunts, and to operate the walk through each Halloween,” she said.
“They have missed out on a lot of trick-or-treating themselves to work the graveyard shift so-to-speak, but have never complained. It’s been an opportunity for them to give more than to receive and they have embraced it,” she said. “As parents, the opportunity to see our kids give back to the community while spending time with us has been incredible.”
They also host the “Hungry Monster Can,” a large trash can decorated to look like a monster, Finneran said. Everyone is welcome to “feed” it by putting in their non-perishable donations. The family will leave the “Hungry Monster Can” next to their mailbox until the week after Halloween.
She also said they have a donation box that is located at a local salon, In Style!, at 577 Johnsville Road in Sykesville.
The event runs Thursday night from 6 to 9:30, and it will be hosted the Finnerans’ home, at 6208 Longleaf Pine Road in Eldersburg.