This wasn’t my first haunted rodeo in Montana, but it was my first in the tiny, picturesque “cowboy
town” of Dillon, MT.
I got a late start, as, much like in 2014, I had been too busy through the summer to be preparing
my own haunt production, as I’d been asked to value and sell 10,000 first-edition and rare books going back
centuries. How could I say no to that! Even with my 25% cut, I could retire and spend the rest of my days
doing Halloween and haunt stuff all year round (ok, and do more traveling I admit)!
So with help of some old and newly-made friends in Dillon, I was able to secure the decades-empty upstairs level
of one of Dillon’s most popular bars, The Klondike. It was creepy enough in the daytime, without any set dressing
Before pulling the trigger, I contacted several friends in town to secure actors and provide props.
So with all this lined up (we had 8 actors at that time, then later 11 more saying they were in, too), I signed contracts,
and brought in lots of skilled help. So many people came to help set it up, including disinfecting the whole place: you
can imagine all the decades of pigeon crap, among other things haunters generally overlook, or at least don’t talk
about when prepping for a haunt.
Things looked good with all these people busting their asses getting it all started.
So I drove to Phoenix and back (36 hour turnaround total) to get the rest of my haunt stuff, and to bring back even
By now, week two of preproduction, we had about 10 people cranking on constructing the haunt, including two
couples’ kids helping. By the end of the week, we’d constructed one of the best mazes I’d ever seen. Plus all the
props Dillon denizens brought. It was the best looking –and genuinely-OLD-propped (no fakes here!)–haunt I’d
Then, two days before opening night, I had to pull the plug on account of not having enough promised actors.
So yeah, a huge loss of time and effort put in by SO many people. But I figured, with my loss of money, time, and
effort, I decided I’d also take the hit as “the bad guy” for not opening the haunt, rather than disrupt town politics
by calling out the people who dropped some heavy, haunt-stopping balls. I tried to find replacement actors, but by
then opening night was a lost cause.
All the same, I did get pics of the haunt, and as you can see below–keep in mind, these were taken during the day–
it looked wonderful, on top of a great story (that of the infamous Vigilantes of the 1800s, which I knew quite a bit
about as producer of a feature film about said Vigilantes).
I once again want to thank all those who helped all the way to the end!