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October 11, 2016 > Ghost House celebrates 48 years of giving back

Ghost House celebrates 48 years of giving back

By Toshali Goel

As autumnal weather seeps through the cracks of summer and the color of the country begins to change, another event is right around the corner Ð Halloween. And as per tradition, the Candle Lighters will be hosting their annual Ghost House, for the 48th time. The event will take place from Saturday, October 15 Ð Sunday, October 30th at the Fremont Hub.

This years Ghost House theme is The Web, a spine-chilling concept centered on arachnids. It is a kid-friendly event, catering to all ages. There is a Good Fairy available to lead the way, to ensure that it is not too frightening for the younger guests. Games are 50 cents each to play, and feature Ring Toss, Lollipops, Beanbags, and Wheel of Fortune to mention a few. There will also be a general store and a food booth, as well as the Halloween favorite, caramel apples. On Saturday, October 22, there is a Kiddie Costume Parade at 1 p.m. with more fun and prizes. On Sunday, October 23, the Candle Lighters will be hosting a Lights-On Version of the Ghost House tour from 1 p.m. Ð 2 p.m. for those who want to go through the house with the lights on so it is not as frightening.

Sandy Strong, president of Candle Lighters, attended the first Ghost House in 1969 and has since become a prominent member. [The Ghost House] is the only event hosted by the Candle Lighters, said Strong. We work all year in different capacities to get ready for it. It takes all of our energy to have the Ghost House. We start preparing in September.

While the event has been held in different locations in the past, it has remained at the Williams Historic Park in the Fremont Hub since the 70s, inside the Chadbourne Carriage House. We have seven trailers stored offsite, and we bring them in about a month and a half before we start, said Strong. We work about five Saturdays, and have around 50 to 60 volunteers every Saturday, and we start building everything Ð putting it together. The city gives us an exclusive use permit. So this park is ours, from the time we start building until we close.

The citys been really good to us, so we try and help them out too. This year, we are very excited to be able to award the City funds for an electric, trackless train for the Central Park. Its going to be for the Recreation Department and the Day Camp kids. It will transport the children from one activity to the next around the park in Lake Elizabeth. ItÕs adorable, said Strong.

She also talked about a big change the Candle Lighters recently underwent. ÒThis was a womenÕs organization, and this last year we opened the organization to men. WeÕve always needed our men, husbands, and friends to help us build, but now they can be members if they choose. They can have an opportunity to help make decisions, and vote.Ó Strong continued, ÒThis year was also very exciting for us because for the Fourth of July, we were asked to serve as the Grand Marshal for the Fourth of July Parade in Fremont. That was just a real honor. We had 30 members who marched in the parade, and there was a Halloween float that they made for us. Some of our members got to ride the float. So it was a really proud moment to be recognized by the community in that way.Ó

The Candle Lighters have done a lot for the community to earn such recognition. Previously, they have supported various community projects including but not limited to Abode Services, Fremont Senior Center, HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, Meals on Wheels, Music for Minors, Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments, and the YMCA. This year, they hope to be able to fund the Tri-City Band Corps, Friends of Heirloom Flowers Garden Club, Math Science Nucleus, Ohlone College Foundation, Fremont Parents Nursery School, Fremont Art Association, and Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Inc.

ÒAll of our profits go to other non-profit organizations. Each January, non-profit organizations come to us and request funds. It can be schools in the Fremont, Newark, Union City area, it can be different city departments. We give to many different non-profits,Ó said Strong. ÒWe vote on who we are going to be able to fund. And at the end of the year, after our Ghost House, our proceeds are distributed to the people that we voted for. The main thing is just to support the community.Ó

Candle Lighters Ghost House
Saturday, Oct 15 Ð Sunday, Oct 30
Monday Ð Thursday: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday: 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Kiddie Costume Parade
Saturday, Oct 22
1 p.m.

Lights-On Tour
Sunday, Oct 23
1 p.m. Ð 2 p.m.

Fremont Hub, Chadbourne Carriage House
39169 Fremont Boulevard
(510) 796-0595
Admission: $3 per person, children 3 and under free
Game Tickets: 50 cents each

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