By Lily Belcher
FishHawk resident Tim Kugler has always loved haunted houses. Since he was little, he would set up ‘haunted houses’ in his parents’ basement for his friends and family to enjoy. That love for Halloween and haunted houses has lasted and grown since the days in his parents’ basement, and Tim now hosts his own haunted house in FishHawk, named the Fish Hawk Fright House by his daughter in 2014.
“Once I grew up and bought my first house,” said Tim, “I immediately started planning how I was going to decorate for the holiday and how I planned to scare the trick-or-treaters.”
The Fish Hawk Fright house first opened in 2006, when the Kuglers moved to FishHawk and could benefit from the trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood.
“Knowing that we would have a decent amount of activity on Halloween night, I started converting my garage into a ‘maze,’ having my wife pass out candy while myself and a few buddies would dress up and hide in the garage to scare people,” said Tim.
The Fright House took off when Tim moved to the Garden District in 2014 and the haunted house attraction spilled into the front yard and exterior.
The Kuglers see 1,500-2,000 visitors for the event with the help of 20-40 volunteers who manage the house, maze and activities. Tim said setup and breakdown takes 200 man-hours. He welcomes high school volunteers to help for service hours that can be used to fulfill Bright Futures and Honor Society requirements.
The Fish Hawk Fright House partnered with Seeds of Hope in 2019 to collect nonperishable food donations. It has collection bins on-site from Saturday, October 23 until Monday, November 1 for families who want to help the local food bank.
“One of my favorite things about hosting the event each year has been having our family and friends around who have made it an annual tradition to come help and be a part of it,” said Tim. “Some take off work and fly in from other states just to participate.”
This year, the Fish Hawk Fright House will be open on Saturday, October 30 and Sunday, October 31 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. each night. The event is hosted at 16116 Palmettorun Cir. in Lithia. For more information, visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/thefhfh.