Haunted house creates a sense of community

The Haunted Wilsley Manor on North California Street is more than just an annual place to get your heart thumping, scream your voice away or collect fodder for future nightmares. It is part of what makes Burbank, Burbank.

And no, we're talking about the fodder for nightmares — despite the rhetoric over a future Walmart or the messy construction on the 5 Freeway. We're talking about the sense of community.

Whether it's something as labor-intensive as transforming your property, every year for 23 years, into a massively popular haunted house Halloween attraction, or something as simple as a lemonade stand, seems Burbank is full of creative people who not only think twice about giving to the community, but actually enjoy doing it.

“The Haunted Wilsley Manor” at 907 N. California St. is more than a fright. It's where longtime resident Preston Meyer and his family have been scaring costumed kids and trick-or-treaters for more than two decades, handing over the thousands of dollars in donations the event generates to charities. That lemonade stand started by 6-year-old Aleyna Doche earlier this fall? It's so far generated roughly $4,000 for cancer research, drawing major support from Bob Hope Airport employees and residents from far away.

The Meyers' haunted manor will no doubt also attract brave fright-seekers from all over the region this weekend, and generate thousands of dollars for the nonprofit Family Promise, an assistance program for homeless families with children.

There's nothing scary about that.


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