The Atherton Library will get one last hurrah – as a haunted house – before its demolition in November.
Menlo-Atherton High School students are transforming the library at 2 Dinkelspiel Lane into a haunted house this week for a “Haunted House Halloween Bash” scheduled for Friday, Oct. 26. It will include a bouncy house, pumpkin-carving station, photo booth, balloon makers, a costume contest, prizes, candy, glow-in-the-dark slime making and other activities.
Twenty M-A students, led by the school’s leadership class, designed the haunted house and have spent this week decorating and building it.
Kylie Wong, Leadership’s junior class co-adviser, is helping organize the event. The students have creative liberty in the space since it will be torn down next month in preparation for a new library slated for completion in 2021. Students are writing messages on the walls, splattering items with fake blood, putting up caution tape and more to give the space a Halloween theme.
“I love how we get to use everything here,” Wong said. “We’re not holding back because it’s getting demolished. You don’t get to do stuff like this that often.”
The town planned to do a small-scale haunted house this year, until Atherton resident Christine David suggested it work with M-A students. The town hosted a Halloween party last year in front of the library, but this is the first time it’s been inside the library and high school students were involved, said Deputy City Manager/City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta.
“I was thinking, 'How can we do this on a dime?'” said David, a Parks & Recreation Committee member. The town wants to put most of its funds toward a new civic center, she said. The library will be torn down in November to make way for the project. “I said what if we waited until after Halloween to tear down the library, they (the students) can do anything you want to it.”
The town gave the students about $600, “to scare kids up to the age of 12, but not scare them blind,” she said. The students provided the town with an Amazon.com wish list for decorations. The high school is also awarding students service credits for their work on the haunted house.
The library moved to a temporary portable building next to the former library building earlier this month, as the town readies for a $22.8 million rebuild of the library. The temporary library opened on Oct. 22.
Lifelong Atherton resident Kate Dobson, a sophomore at Menlo-Atherton, is helping decorate the space for the event.
“It’s sort of bittersweet,” she said. “I grew up doing little activities here. We’re destroying it in a sense, but it’s fun not really having any limitations."
Teens came up with a storyline for a haunted house experience, which will take place in the library’s upstairs area. It involves a woman going crazy while looking for her lost love. Teens will run the haunted house and play characters.
The haunted house experience is intended for kids ages 7 to 12. The town encourages people to come in costume. There will also be coffee and donuts for parents.
The Haunted House Halloween Bash takes place from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at 2 Dinkelspiel Lane in Atherton. The event is free.