Screaming For $1 Million

by Michelle Zimmerman

Paralyzing screeches bombards one’s ears as the door ahead opens, filling the room with fog.

Sound like a good scare? The Asylum haunted house is the place to be, located five minutes from campus at the Warren County Fairgrounds. Many are saying the best part is that the money spent for admission goes to help the Indianola Community Youth Foundation (ICYF).

“Creative talents have transformed the Warren County Fairground’s 4H Building into 12 different themed rooms with twists and turns and small, tight spaces guaranteed to leave participants frenzied with fright,” Christina Hayes, vice president of communications for the LifeServe Blood Center, said. “Mix in life-like corpses, scary-costumed characters and movie-set themed rooms with top-notch lighting and a booming sound system, The Asylum is a haunting experience participants will not want to miss.”

This is the first year the city of Indianola is putting on The Asylum to raise money for ICYF.

“The Asylum is ICYF’s inaugural haunted house fundraising event and all proceeds generated from the haunted house will go specifically toward the Match a Million Campaign,” Hayes said.

ICYF was first created when Los Angeles Dodgers’ third baseman Casey Blake and his wife, Abbie, donated $1 million to the Indianola Community School District. The Blake family are Indianola natives. This money is to go towards building a facility for the youth of Indianola.

The money was attached with one condition: That the building renovations started within 24 months. The building will be connected to Indianola Middle School.

“Our goal is to help match the $1 million given by Casey and Abbie to help support efforts to construct additional gym space for the community,” Hayes said.

The Asylum is run by volunteers throughout the community of Indianola, Des Moines and members of ICYF. Volunteers are needed for Thursday through Saturday nights throughout the month of October.

Volunteer and Simpson alumna, Jessica Weller, plays the role of a dead bride who comes out of her room bloody and crying. A man draped in black sheets chases after her in a wheelchair.

“I am from Indianola and knew of a few friends that were also volunteering, so I thought it would be fun,” Weller said. “I love Halloween.”

Looking for volunteer hours? The ICYF still needs help. Volunteers will dress in spooky attire and work on scaring the fright out of the helpless patrons.

“We are always in need of volunteers for the haunted house,” Gina Piper, chairperson of The Asylum, said. “The volunteers would be in the actual house playing the role of a creeper.”

For more information about ICYF or to make donations visit its website at If interested in being a volunteer for The Asylum please contact Gina Piper at [email protected].

The Asylum is open Thursdays through Saturdays for the month of October. Hours of operation are Thursdays 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday nights from 7:30 p.m. to midnight.