An Old Haunt: After 24 seasons, an elaborate Gloversville Halloween attraction may call this year its last

 Stonewell Haunts Haunted House in Gloversville is ready for scares.

By Andrew Waite

The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE — When Lucy Aldous-VanDyke bought her Gloversville home in the mid-1990s, she and her brother, Len Aldous, immediately thought it could be creepy enough to be a haunted house.

“It had a little carriage house in the back, and it was in the middle of some spooky woods,” Len said. “We said that’d be a great haunted house. So we decided to build it.”

And if you build it, they will indeed come. That’s been the story for Stonewell Haunts — the Aldous family haunted house at 82 Steele Ave., which is celebrating its 24th year. What began as a small neighborhood festivity with walls built from cardboard refrigerator boxes has grown into an elaborate county-wide sensation that takes two months to build with a lot of help from friends and family. It features elaborate storylines and costumes that come alive thanks, in part, to help from their sister Leta, who is a talented seamstress and has acted for decades in many Glove Theatre and Colonial Little Theatre productions.

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This year’s haunted house runs Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30 from 6 to 10 p.m. with about 150 visitors expected each night. Reservations are requested, but not required. Visitors can reserve a spot in advance by calling 518-705-7148 (up to five people). Admission to the event is $10 payable in person.

Part of the appeal could be the fact that Len and Lucy say the home is haunted for real. Len and Lucy, whose affection for each other is clear in the way they kid one another, swear they often hear inadvertent footsteps and door creaks that could be the sounds of the ghost of a man they call Leonard Stonewell. That’s the pseudonym they’ve given to an old man who used to live in the home. Rumor has it that Leonard had a peephole upstairs that he peered through to spy on neighbors.

“There was a little door that he could probably lay in his bed and peep out,” Len said.

Whether or not the house is haunted by actual ghosts, the attraction is frightening.

“We’ve had people fall to the floor, we’ve had people pee their pants, we’ve had people jump up on the table. It’s pretty scary,” Lucy said.

Just ask Lisa Sohl, a Gloversville resident who has been coming every year since her now 32-year-old son was little.

“It’s so scary,” she said. “All of a sudden things will move and you can’t figure out how they moved. The voices, the sound effects, the screams—it’s so professional. It’s like something out of a horror movie. You would not expect that on Steele Avenue in Gloversville.”

Lucy and Len said they don’t want to spoil any surprises, but Len offered that the haunted house is unique because “there are storylines and there is a soundtrack,” he said. “It’s like a play, and you’re in the middle of it.”

Despite the fun of putting together the haunted house with friends and family, Len and Lucy say this year may be their last.

“We’re getting old,” Lucy said. She’s 59 and Len is 61, and the two months of prep work and the month of deconstruction take a toll. So in preparation for this possibly being their last year, the siblings have incorporated special touches.

“We’ve added quite a bit of humor this year, and we’ve gone from creepy to more magical,” Len said.

Also, this is the first year Lucy will be in the house scaring visitors.

“I’ve always been outside watching my house, watching the yard, and this year, I am actually going to be in the house doing some of the acting,” she said.

She’ll be acting because her brother asked her to act. “Because he loves me,” she said wryly. “I think just because we don’t know if it’s our last year or not, and he wanted me to experience what it’s like inside.”

“Plus,” Len said with dry humor, “there was nobody else.”

Unless, of course, Leonard Stonewell’s ghost is really inside.

More about the haunted house: Due to the pandemic, attendees are advised but not required to wear a mask. You may also check out more information by going to Facebook and looking for Stonewell Haunts.

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By LH Staff

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