IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - One local haunted house is back, better than ever and doing more than just scaring people.
"This has become my world," Darrell Wagner, owner of Dr. Slaughter's House of Terror, said.
A world he created 17 years ago in his basement for his niece's birthday party. He turned it into one of the most popular haunted houses in Idaho. All from his imagination.
"My wife, we determined years ago that I dreamed a lot of them," Wagner said. "I can actually look at a room that's empty, decide a program to go with it and then I just assemble it."
But Wagner isn't just scaring people. His goal is to help the hundreds of kids he casts to perform in the haunted house.
"We have such a large cast here that the kids that we bring in here, a lot of them come from broken homes and homes with issues," Wagner said. "And we offer them a safe, cool place to hang out."
He is not only a mentor to the kids but a philanthropist too. The proceeds from the haunted house go to the local D.A.R.E. program, which teaches kids about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and many other things. Through their donation, the program is able to buy workbooks and incentive items for the 2,000 kids they teach. Everyone agrees that Dr. Slaughter's is good for the kids.
"And so it's good for the kids to be involved with something," Justin Cornelsen, D.A.R.E. officer, said. "Not everybody is involved with sports and those kinds of things, but they get to be involved with something that's huge. They get involved with something that they can put their names to it."
Wagner says helping these kids is his way of giving back.
"Everybody has a little bit of a shadow part of their life," Wagner said. "And I did being raised too. And this last 17 years has allowed me to give back."
Dr. Slaughter's House of Terror opens on Friday. It is located at 680 First St. in Idaho Falls.