Dad creates haunted house in backyard for his children, neighborhood families

Dad creates haunted house in backyard for his children, neighborhood families

OTTAWA LAKE, MI (WTOL) - A local father of two could be in the running for Best Dad award after he created a haunted house in his backyard for his kids to have some Halloween fun.

"For my kids. That's it. It's as simple as it gets. It's for them," said Cal Pawson.

Pawson teamed up with friend Matt Ruetz to create the "Mini Manor" for his son Carter and daughter Allison.

The manor consists of things they own and things they find on the side of the road and at garage sales. They then add their own spooky and artistic touch to each item to bring the house to life.

Pawson attributes his medical construction background to be able to build all of the technical elements of Mini Manor, which has cost him eleven vacation days this year to finish.

He estimates that he has put $10,000 into making the haunted attraction that has expanded to two times the size as it was last year.

Pawson and Ruetz said making the haunted house started as a hobby, and has since turned into an obsession.

"It's exciting to be a part of it, and I really enjoy the fine detail that goes into the haunted house," Ruetz said. "I love working with Cal and seeing his kids' reaction and the reaction of everyone else that gets to enjoy it."

Pawson invited the entire community to get in on the fun free of charge, with donations encouraged. Last year, 600 people came to get scared at the Pawson residence, located on 8507 Whiteford Center Road in Ottawa Lake, Michigan.

"After the first smile you see from people going through it, it gets you hooked. You realize what you're doing for these families. The memories will be with them forever, and that is amazing to be a part of," Pawson said.

You can make some memories of your own with your family at the Mini Manor, open on October 30 and on Halloween night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The house will also be open on November 3 and 4 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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