Payne's Playthings

Bringing back trick-or-treat one kid at a time

The Witching Hour Site’s Interactive Trick-or-Treat offers free, fun way to enjoy Halloween traditions

By Samantha Edmondson, The Lake Today Newspaper 
Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Traditional door-to-door Halloween trick-or-treating was an activity Kem Duran looked forward to every year as a child.

Her mother would spend days preparing costumes, and she and her siblings would delight in visiting neighbors and stocking up on sweet treats. However, one of her favorite moments of the holiday was when Kem would ring one final doorbell to end the annual Halloween family custom.

“Our grand finale was to go to my grandmother’s house and she would entertain five trick-or-treaters, her grandkids,” she said. “She would dress up and she put so much fun into trick-or-treating.”

Ten years ago, those memories spurred Kem and her husband, David, to bring back the traditional trick-or-treating experience for Lake Area children.

From 5-9 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2014 The Witching Hour Site’s Annual Interactive Trick-or-Treat off Route AA in Roach will invite children and their families to experience a variety of themed activities, receive prizes and candy, and trick-or-treating, all for free.

For the Durans, it is not about hosting another Halloween event in the Lake Area. The Interactive Trick-or-Treat has given local Halloween-goers a safe, exciting and spooky trick-or-treating setting that resembles so many adults’ childhood traditions on Halloween at the Lake.

 “Our motto is ‘bring back trick or treat one kid at a time.’ There is a famous quote that says, ‘Halloween is still the only day we open our door to strangers,’ and with our event we allow kids to experience trick-or-treating in a safe, fun, spooky but not scary environment,” she said.

Children attending The Witching Hour’s Annual Interactive Trick-or-Treat experience the throwback feeling of walking up to the creepy house and ringing the doorbell. The family-friendly haunt provides multi-stationed kid-friendly areas that will offer ample opportunities for prizes, candy and loads of ghostly fun.

Revamped areas include the cemetery, the Witches Cavern, Kid’s Halloween Maze, which has doubled in size this year, and for those children brave enough to enter, Payne’s Playhouse. Equipped with black light and special effects, creepy playroom surprises and creatures lurking in the shadows, Payne’s Playhouse is a chilling, popular spot for guests.

Kem and her husband David, recruit a handful of volunteers to help man their two-night Halloween event, and have seen its popularity grow among both children and adults. In fact, the Interactive Trick-or-Treat has added two new areas this year including the Creepy Clown Dart Throw and Carnival Games, and the Great Pumpkin Patch.

“Parents appreciate all the work we do and making it safe and fun; they like how it is creepy but not scary; Payne’s Playhouse is PG rated,” Duran said. “And, the kids just love it.”

Having held the event for 10 years, the Durans understand what it takes to create such an entertaining and spooky, kid-friendly experience. They attend haunt conventions from March through August, and network with fellow Halloween haunt enthusiasts to create and attain some of the best activities for their visitors.

From their years delving into the Halloween and haunt industry, the Durans also offer Halloween-themed decorating for businesses. They decorated the former Quarter Barrel Bar & Grill in Macks Creek for Halloween, have provided décor for two RE/MAX Lake of the Ozarks Halloween parties and have turned the Firestation Bar & Grill in Camdenton into a Halloween haven for two seasons. Even though The Witching Hour Site is booked for this Halloween season, they encourage others to contact them for consulting on future themed parties.

The Witching Hour has also supported many charities including local veterans, the American Cancer Society and currently will contribute any monetary donations given to them during their free event to medical expenses of a local 2-year-old boy, who is recovering from a liver transplant.

The Witching Hour Site is also providing a free photo booth area with a variety of scenes and props and digital access to free photos before and after the Castle Vlad Mad Monster Party show at 5:30 p.m. at the Camdenton Little Theatre. As a sponsor of the event and the “Choose Your Own Doom” Ghost Story Contest, with the two first place winners featured in the show, the Durans are also providing the trophies for contest winners and other goodies for show attendees.

While the Durans work to put finishing touches to this year’s Interactive Trick-or-Treat, they are excited to provide this activity for returning costumed guests and hopeful newcomers.

 “We do it for the kids. If we make one little kid scream or laugh or smile, we have done our job,” she said. “Whether we have five kids come or 500, it means the same to us.”

haunt events

fun, Safe & kid friendly

clowning around

2020 Trick or Treat

Interactive Trick or Treat

To Be Announced Soon!

Below is a copy of The Lake Today article from 2014.  We were featured in a full page article detailing what and why we started our Interactive Trick or Treat