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October 9, 2012 > Ghost House hosts 'Haunted Shopping Mall'

Ghost House hosts 'Haunted Shopping Mall'

By Gustavo Lomas

Ghouls and goblins, witches and warlocks, the time has come once again to tempt fate by venturing into a ghostly lair with a haunting reputation; a place of history and mystery. At this location, delightful desserts can be enjoyed by both mortals disguised as princesses, monsters and skeletons satisfy bone-chilling appetites; vampires and werewolves walk side by side, openly enjoying the moonlit evenings. This eerie spot exists thanks to the combined efforts of numerous women and their families, better known as The Candle Lighters, a local organization dedicated to helping community and non-profit organizations.

Founded in 1969, The Candle Lighters are celebrating their 43rd year at the Ghost House in the Chadbourn Carriage House at the Fremont Hub Shopping Center. Originally based at the Ohlone College Gym, the Ghost House originally raised funds for the local YMCA. Over the years, thanks to the support of the community, they have expanded and now support many local nonprofit and civic organizations in Fremont as well as neighboring cities of Newark and Union City.

Today, 43 of the original founding members are still active in the organization. Members are women from different walks of life who feel it is important to support local communities. Even in the hardest of times, The Candle Lighters have persevered. Joella Thompson, a Candle Lighter for six years as well as second vice president, says, "At the beginning of the year, specifically in January, we have a meeting and hear [funding] proposals. It just gets to me, hearing so many people describe what they want to do and wanting to help them; it just makes me feel good."

Thompson adds that although The Candle Lighters cannot always help everybody who asks for assistance, they encourage people to present their proposals. "We want to be involved in the community." Each year a theme is chosen for the Ghost House; this year, visitors to the house are asked to be ready to shop till they drop at the "Haunted Shopping Mall." Thompson says, "Two years ago we started to allow high school volunteers to use their hours as community service; that way they can help us, we can teach them a few things about building and design, and they get to participate in the haunted house and food booths. We are all about families."

A photo booth and various game booths, along with prizes and, of course, food booths provide entertainment and relaxation either before or after a trip through the spooky mall. Hot dogs, chips, drinks (both water and sodas), nachos, and candy bars will abound; the most renowned and scrumptious treat is the famous Candy Apple: caramel, candy covered, caramel with nuts, and caramel with sprinkles all served on a stick for easy enjoyment and carrying.

Haunted Shopping Mall opens Saturday, October 13 and will continue to offer its spooky delights through October 30. Hours of operation are Mondays to Thursdays, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets to tour the Ghost House are $3 per person; game tickets are 25¢ each. This is an event for all ages and temperament. For those a bit timid about confrontations with menacing ghouls in the Ghost House, a Good Fairy guide is available to make sure rambunctious and scary residents are banished during the tour.

On Saturday, October 27, a costume parade will be held at 1 p.m. for children age 2 - age 10. Gifts are offered to all participants.

The Candle Lighters Ghost House
Saturday, Oct 13 - Tuesday, Oct 30
Tuesday - Thursday: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday: 2 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday: 2 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Kiddie Parade
Saturday, Oct 27
1 p.m.

Chadbourne Carriage House
Fremont Hub Shopping Center
(between Mowry and Walnut Ave. by Chili's)
39169 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 796-0595
Tickets: $3 per person, game tickets 25¢ each

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