For over a decade, Woodstock neighbors Mike Clark and Robert Morris enjoyed a rivalry around Halloween to see who could set up the creepier haunted house. Since then, they’ve joined forces to create a walkthrough spooky experience.

“We realized we could put together something special if we did it together,” Clark said.

The neighbors are accepting food donations to a local pantry in lieu of admission fees.

The food collected through the Scavenged Souls Haunted House will be donated to Never Alone Food Pantry in Woodstock. While food donations are not required to visit the haunted house, Clark said donations would be greatly appreciated and are encouraged. Clark added that he and Morris don’t have a formal agreement or partnership with the pantry.

“We started collecting food early on, dividing it up to a few different charities,” Clark said. “We enjoyed doing this, and eventually settled on the Never Alone Food Pantry since they’re local.”

For those looking for a good scare, Clark said visitors will find plenty at the Scavenged Souls Haunted House.

“We change our theme every year, and we try not to give out the theme until the first night to surprise and scare our neighbors and visitors,” Clark said. “This year we will have a combined indoor and outdoor experience, filled with probably a dozen different scenarios and scenes with scares, ranging from cerebral to jumpscares.”

The ideas of the duo’s annual haunted house come from a variety of inspirations. Clark said he and Morris enjoy visiting other local haunted houses to gather ideas for their own. They also receive help from family and friends.

“We collectively came up with the idea for it after we both did individual displays for a few years in the neighborhood,” Clark said. “We paired up and, amongst our group, came up with the theme, design, everything, start to finish.”

This year, it’s Morris’ house that’s haunted. Last year, the two transformed Clark’s house, and they say the choice between the two houses changes depending on the design concept that year.

“We met and realized that we had similar interests and both enjoyed the Halloween holiday, so we got in touch and decided to start working together,” Morris said. “The year prior to us working together, I helped put together a small walk-through haunted house, and this idea hooked both of us in.”

Morris said he started building Halloween displays in high school, and that his love for the holiday grows every year.

“I don’t think I understood why I loved Halloween so much back then, but now I realize I love it because it’s different from most other holidays in that it is designed to be a community holiday, he said. “Halloween is the holiday where all get together and have a good time, and that’s what is appealing to me when I get to see people enjoy the decorations and the walkthroughs.”

Millie Hughes, director and community outreach liaison with Never Alone Food Pantry, said the pantry is thankful for all who donate.

“It is with everyone’s help that we can continue to meet the ever growing needs of our neighbors,” she said in an email to the Tribune Friday.

The Scavenged Souls haunted house is located at 512 Osprey Lane in Woodstock, in the Bradshaw Park neighborhood. The house will be open from 8 to 11 p.m. Oct. 22, 23, 29, 30, 31. Masks are encouraged for those visiting.

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