Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of stories following the process of building a business from the ground up in Liberty Hill.

By Rachel Madison

Witches, ghosts, werewolves—they’re all a part of Halloween lore. But for the next two weekends in Liberty Hill, all things creepy will become far more real on Grange Street with the opening of Haunted House on Grange.

Amy and Mike Gandy, who own the houses at 111 Grange and 109 Grange in downtown Liberty Hill, have been slowly renovating both homes, including leveling the foundation, installing central air and heat and redoing the plumbing. The house at 111 Grange serves as the office for Amy Gandy’s real estate brokerage company, A. Gandy & Co., and the one at 109 Grange will eventually be a bed and breakfast. But for now, 109 Grange has been transformed into a frightening scene, with a real estate theme, of course.

“The house is a mixture of all things creepy, but the theme is that it’s a house for sale that we can’t get sold, and that’s because no one ever escapes,” Amy Gandy said. “All the owners have died in the home. In fact, the original ‘owner’ will be sitting on the front porch as people enter the house.”

Lots of scares are planned throughout the haunted house, which will begin at the front door, weave around to the back door, and end outside.

Each night the haunted house is open, there are at least 35 different volunteers working in some form or fashion, Amy Gandy said, including actors, make up artists and community members who just want to help pass out goodie bags.

“Everyone is local,” she said. “It’s a lot of moms and dads, and there are 14 students coming from the high school’s theater department. I had people reach out to me on Facebook asking how they could help.”

While the Gandys could have taken the easy route and purchased all the décor and props needed for Haunted House on Grange, that’s not the Gandy way. Instead, the Gandys, with help from the team at A. Gandy & Co., have made almost everything attendees will see in the haunted house.

The headstones are made from foam insulation that were painted with concrete paint, and the skeletons were wrapped with saran wrap, sprayed with fake blood, and then melted all together with a heat gun for an extra decayed look.

“It’s easy to go to Party City and buy things, but we’ve made almost everything,” Amy Gandy said. “We made all the signs out of scrap wood that was either on the house or laying in the yard. They say things like ‘Neighbors are dead quiet’ and ‘Children very welcome.’”

Most of the inspiration for Haunted House on Grange has come from ideas gathered from YouTube and Pinterest. Once Amy Gandy has shown Mike Gandy what her ideas are, he takes them and runs.

“My husband has been working night and day,” she said. “He had to rebuild the front porch railing on the house, and then paint it and distress it to make it look old. He has been doing all the lighting throughout the house using temporary LED lights that shine where they need to. I show him what I want the scenes to look like, and I was thinking they’d be made from cardboard boxes, but he comes in with actual lumber and builds things. He even welded a gate and built the temporary walls on 16-inch studs.”

The Gandys are planning on seeing over 200 people each of the four nights the haunted house is open. Instead of charging admission, attendees have been asked to donate canned food items for Operation Liberty Hill.

“We are encouraging people to bring more than one item,” Amy Gandy said. “There are so many things they are needing, like canned beans and other proteins. We are hoping to give them a huge haul.”

While 109 Grange has been transformed into a haunted house for now, the Gandys are looking forward to achieving their ultimate goal with it: turning it into a bed and breakfast.

“Since it’s already scary looking, we decided to just make it scarier, but someday it’s going to be painted and fresh and beautiful,” she said.

Amy Gandy’s office at 111 Grange has become the headquarters for creating all things creepy for Haunted House on Grange for now, but once Halloween is over, renovations on that home will continue as well.

Tickets are sold out for the event, but donations for Operation Liberty Hill are welcome from anyone in the community, not just attendees. Haunted House on Grange is running Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. each night.

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