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Spook Hollow returns to Marquette Heights for another spooky Halloween season

 Spook Hollow mummy
Spook Hollow in Marquette Heights bills itself as the longest running "Outdoor Haunted Attraction" in Illinois.

With Halloween quickly approaching, many people are looking for ways to delve into the spooky spirit. Spook Hollow, presented by the Marquette Heights Men’s Club (MHMC), is sure to bring visitors the frights they're looking for through their haunted house trilogy.

Dale Hamm is mayor of Marquette Heights and president of the Men’s Club. He cites Spook Hollow as the biggest fundraising operation the MHMC participates in, with 100% of the proceeds going back into the community. All staff work on a volunteer basis.

Marquette Heights Mayor Dale Hamm.

With the money, Hamm said they have continuously given back to Marquette Heights, a community of about 2,500 between Peoria and Pekin.

“Back in 2017 we were able to purchase a fully outfitted squad car. We’ve also donated to our fire department, our city, our library that we have, along with our school district, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, we also have a really good church, Bridgeway, that does a food pantry .. .and we donate to it,” Hamm said.

Although COVID-19 prevented Spook Hollow from opening last year, the MHMC was still able to make donations to the community due to reserve funds left over from previous seasons.

Spook Hollow started in 1979 in Marquette Heights as a free activity for Caterpillar employees who were laid off. Since then, it has evolved into what is known as a trilogy of terror, where visitors begin in the M.C. Manor, loop through the woods, and then make their way through the M.C. Nightmare.

Even though the pandemic is still ongoing, Spook Hollow was able to open for this season on Oct. 15. Current CDC guidelines are being followed at Spook Hollow to keep the attraction safe. Guests are encouraged to wear masks.

Hamm said the community was ready.

“It was amazing … on Friday (opening day) we did approximately 1,200 people, and then Saturday we did approximately 2,200 people, which is very very good ... I’m looking at this coming weekend to be even busier.”

Spook Hollow will remain open for the last two Fridays and Saturdays in October. Gates open at 6:30 p.m and close at 11 p.m., but Hamm said he never turns anyone away as long as they’re in line by 11 p.m.

To purchase tickets, visit spook-hollow.com, or tickets can be bought in person at the booth. For returning and new visitors alike, Hamm said a spook Hollow visit is a must this season.

“If you have never been to Spook Hollow, or you’ve been to Spook Hollow but it's been years and years, you need to come to Spook Hollow.”

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