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St. Pete haunted house created by adults with disabilities scares and inspires

St. Pete haunted house created by adults with disabilities scares and inspires

ST. PETE, Fla. — There is no shortage of haunted houses around Tampa Bay this weekend, but there’s a special one in St. Pete that not only makes you jump with fright but smile in appreciation.

The entire attraction is put on by adults with developmental disabilities.

From zombies, to dead brides, to witches, and don’t forget about the killer clowns, the Parc Center for Disabilities Haunted House is the highlight of the year for these participants.

“The thing about a haunted house, it’s all about scaring people,” said Ronnie Williams.

Williams is one of a dozen Parc participants to help design, create and act in this ghostly walk through the cemetery, also known as building five on their campus.

Brian Rothey, Assistant Vice President of Adult Community Programs, said he knew the haunted house would be fun but never realized the life skills it would also add.

“It’s an awesome team-building experience; it has a social component to it,” said Rothey. “A lot of organizing that’s going on, there’s a lot of planning that has to happen, there is an inventory list that we have to make, and our participants are taking an active role.” said Rothey.

“I dreamed about being a killer clown ever since I was a pre-teen, so it’s kind of fun and scary,” said Chelsea.

This weekend they’ll have a chance to put all their handwork to the test as they invite family, friends and Parc staff to visit, if they dare.

Rothey hopes the community appreciates how dedicated their cast of characters is.

“The best part for me is giving our participants a platform to do this, the way they talk about it throughout the entire year, how excited they are, the smiles, the stories, the family support that we receive, that’s absolutely the best part ,” Rothey said.

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