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Collaboration creates Haunted Hillside in Mt. Pleasant

| Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A local farmer and a special effects company have teamed to create a new Halloween attraction in the area and raise funds for a worthy cause.

Even before Jason Pavlocak took over his family's Mt. Pleasant Township farm, he has wanted to produce a haunt on the property. This year his dream became a reality with the help of special effects artists who have produced costumes and makeup for numerous Hollywood movies and television shows.

Together they have created the “Haunted Hillside,” a ¾-mile long haunted hike in and around the Pavlocak farm at 7217 Route 819 in Mt. Pleasant Township, near Greendance Winery.

“We've had a lot of good response from the community so far,” Pavlocak said.

Meagan Tooley, co-owner of Standard Union and Art Supply Company of Mt. Pleasant, said she and her partner, Shawn Ronzio, created unique costumes for the haunt. Ronzio is known for creating costumes and other special effects for movies such as “Spiderman 3,” “Stargate: Atlantis” and “The Chronicles of Riddick.”

“I just can't believe what they have done. It just blows my mind,” Pavlocak said.

The pair created 28 costumes that include sackboys, scarecrows, demons and other creatures.

“We've gotten great reviews,” Tooley said.

She said Ronzio even created a back-story about how the field became haunted that involves the death of two boys who unknowingly unleashed the demons. The complete story is on the attraction's website, www.haunted-hillside.com.

Tickets to the haunt are $17 per person with $1 per ticket being donated to the Penn State Fayette THON Team. THON is an annual 24-hour dance marathon at Penn State's main campus. Teams work year-round to raise money and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer.

“We are really, really excited and happy to be included in the haunt,” said Penn State Fayette THON team chairwoman Julianne Buckel.

Buckel, 19, of Republic said several members of her team have been volunteering time at the haunt as scarers, making noise special effects and helping with traffic control.

She said last year her team raised $93,000 for THON.

“This year we would like to break $100,000. This will really help us out to raise as much money as we can for the kids,” Buckel said.

Pavlocak said in addition to the money being donated to THON, the proceeds from the concession stand, which is being run by the Southmoreland High School volleyball parents, is going to the organization.

The “Haunted Hillside,” which opened the beginning of the month, will be open this Friday through Sunday, Halloween and Nov. 1-3. Hours are Friday, Saturday and Halloween, sundown until midnight; Sundays, sundown until 10 p.m.

For more information, call 724-547-2693.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.

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