In a business where many are out mainly to make a profit, it's nice to know that there are some
people out there who create and run haunted houses, not just for fun, but also to help benefit a
Such is the case with Grosse Ile Youth Recreation Association (GIYRA). Recently, I had the chance
to talk to Matt Oldt
about GIYRA and the worthwhile cause this group is dedicated to.
For over 40 years, this organization has been providing athletic programs, including football,
baseball, basketball and hockey, for the children in the community. More than 25 of those years,
they have been running a haunted house to raise money for the sports programs. Last year, raising
about $6,000 for the general funding of the sports teams.
The house is located on the former naval base on Grosse Ile island, a location with a lot of
history behind it.
This story, however, takes an unexpected turn for the worse. In 1993, their old building was '
burnt down in an act of arson. Burnt to the ground, the house may have been gone, but their
dream, however, wasn't.
With the help of local companies giving donations, and the aid of local citizens, the community
rallied behind GIYRA to erect a new building for them to continue haunting. In 1994, although
the building was in a different location on the naval base, their haunted house was back, and
better than ever. The current location features two levels, 5,000 square feet, and more than 20
rooms featuring many actors and props.
Over the last several years, this haunt has become more and more successful, due, largely,
to "repeat customers" and word of mouth.
When asked about some of the things that keep their customers coming back year after
year, Matt said, "They know we make changes every year. They come to see the new haunts
along with the old ones that keep getting them. The best thing that get people is the scare in the
parking lot. We get them even before they walk into the house."