MUSCATINE, Iowa–In his years running Stinky’s House of Horrors, Troy, “Stinky” Philpott has seen his share of scary things. Live rats? Check. Murderous clowns? Check. Foul stenches and spectral figures? Check. If you can imagine something spooky, it has probably featured in a past haunt. In all his years of running Stinky’s House of Horrors and the Frightening for Food drive to benefit the Salvation Army of Muscatine County though, Philpott has never had the experience of doing it during a global pandemic. Though different from previous haunts in many ways, this year’s adapted Need to Feed event will still scare up food for a good cause in the safest way Philpott could devise.
While Philpott will not convert his family home into Stinky’s House of Horrors this year, he will have a variety of outdoor attractions people can partake in. For a donation of one non-perishable food item, visitors can check out a plastic pumpkin catapult, treat their kids to a round of bouncy ball shoot, walk through the Need to Feed haunted trailer (which will feature special affects but no actors, for the safety of those walking through), and vintage horror movies playing outside on a big screen. For those who go above and beyond with extra donations, they can witness the human rotisserie, complete with real flames. A merchandise table featuring Stinky’s Hoodies, t-shirts, bracelets, and stickers, as well as costume prosthetics (such as fake wounds) will offer another way to help support the Frightening for Food drive and help get people into the Halloween spirit.
To promote social distancing and allow people to come at a time most convenient to them, Frightening for Food will take place from 9 a.m. to about 10 or 11 p.m. Oct. 24-31. As further safety precautions, all volunteers will wear masks, and Philpott requests that guests consider wearing them too. The Need to Feed trailer will have one way traffic only, and Philpott has worked hard to make each attraction completely touchless.
As Philpott prepares for this year’s reworked haunt, he hopes people will keep the needs of the Salvation Army of Muscatine County in mind and support them by donating more to Frightening for Food than ever before. In 2019, Frightening for Food broke its record for pounds of food donated, delivering over 6,500 pounds, over 1,000 pounds more than the previous record. “This is something totally new, so I’m hoping to at least match last year’s, but I think having it eight days straight, we will raise one of our biggest hauls yet,” said Philpott. “I encourage people to donate because the need is a very real problem in every city in America; ours is no different.”