The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


October 15, 2012

Farmhouse fright: Neosho senior makes a business out of haunts

NEOSHO, Mo. — Lakin Bolton has never been a fan of horror movies. The 17-year-old Neosho High School senior would much rather spend her time outdoors among nature or inside a stable caring for animals than watching movies.

But after being tasked with filling a barn with spooks and horrors instead of cows and horses, Bolton stepped up to the challenge. She recently organized the Haunted Barn for the annual Barnyard Days event in Neosho.

Steve Roark, owner of Circle R Ranch and organizer of Barnyard Days, said Bolton’s haunted house was a screaming success.

“She did an excellent job,” Roark said. “She and a couple of her friends worked their hearts out to get ready.”

Originally, Bolton sought a job working with cattle at the ranch. But because her school schedule conflicted, Roark said he had nothing available in that area. He did, however, have an opening for the haunted barn.

Intended for kids, the barn was meant to offer playful spooks instead of psychological scares, Roark said.

As a member of Future Farmers of America, Bolton became familiar with Roark. Her time spent working for Barnyard Days counts toward her required supervised agricultural experience.

“I got online and looked up different ways to do a haunted barn,” Bolton said. “I had no idea how to be scary. So, I just looked stuff up to see how it would work.”

Bolton said her design was aimed at attracting children more than adults. She opted for gravestones and open caskets instead of chainsaw-wielding maniacs and gory aesthetics.

“(The Haunted Barn) turned out really, really good,” Bolton said. “A lot of the adults didn’t think it was scary, but it was for the kids anyway.”

Bolton’s design included several different areas: A black-lit graveyard adorned with graves and coffins; another room featuring creepy dolls and cobwebs littered with spiders; and the “bloody room,” which consisted of strobe lights and scary music.

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