Michael Pardue and his family typically start preparing for Halloween in September.
It takes a while to transform their home and their yard into a haunted house complete with elaborate decorations, including a zombie nursery, lights and an outdoor maze.
This year, the Pardues are again opening their house in Nashville to the public for haunted tours. Actors dressed in costumes will try to scare guests as they walk through the house. The event also will serve as a fundraiser for several nonprofit groups and organizations.
Pardue, his wife, Lynn, and their sons Ethan, 15, and Andrew, 18, have decorated their home for Halloween for years.
“We started with one string of lights on our porch and a pumpkin and went from there,” Michael Pardue said. Over the years, they have added new decorations and props.
Pardue’s sister typically gives him Halloween decorations for his birthday in September. That’s also usually about the time the family starts gearing up for Halloween, Michael Pardue said.
“It’s kind of a family bonding experience,” he said. “We all pitch in.”
Last year, the family decided to hold a haunted house for the public as a fundraiser.
Approximately 500 to 600 people visited the house, and the family was able to donate about $1,500 to the Key Club and the drama department at Nash Central High School. Dozens of volunteers dressed in masks and costumes to scare guests. Some of the guests shrieked and clung to friends.
“It’s really fun when you have people who jump in the air, back into walls and scream,” Ethan Pardue said.
The Pardue’s home was built in the late 1800s. It has been in Lynn Pardue’s family since 1931. Sometimes the family hears footsteps and voices in the house, Michael Pardue said. “We like to say it’s actually haunted,” he said.
The family has been busy preparing for the haunted house events. Earlier this week, Michael and Ethan Pardue and a few others worked on an outdoor maze.
“We redesigned it this year, and we’re making it bigger,” Ethan Pardue said.
His brother, Andrew, is a freshman at Harvard University. He is coming home for a wedding this weekend, so he will be able to participate in the first night of the haunted house.
The house, located at 217 E. Church St. in Nashville, will be open from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.
Admission costs $8, and at least half of the ticket cost will be donated, Michael Pardue said. The family plans to give $2 from every ticket to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill in honor of Lynn Pardue’s brother, Mike Baker. He died in September after battling pancreatic cancer.
The family also will donate a portion of the ticket proceeds to Nash Arts and to the Key Club and the drama department at Nash Central High School. Representatives from those groups will be helping at the haunted house. Some of the money will be used to help recoup expenses.