Douglas County resident creates fright-filled Haunted Farm for Halloween fans
A sign leading into Steve Cates’ rural Douglas County home should read beware of clowns, corpses, giant leaping spiders, grave-digging zombies and so much more.
For the past few months, Cates has been working nonstop to turn his property into The Haunted Farm, a menacing place where lunatics and wild creatures lurk.
The 47-year-old Cates, who works with the Douglas County bridge crew, has turned his hobby of fright into a business venture.
“I like scaring people. It’s fun. The kids enjoy it. It’s nice to see them smile. If they can have fun, I have fun,” Cates said.
With an Oct. 30 birthday, Cates has always loved Halloween. For years, he has set up elaborate Halloween displays, filling his front yard with tombstones. Trick-or-treaters who wanted candy had to brave opening a coffin door.
For five years Cates — dressed as an old man and scaring those who walked through a fireplace — worked at The Beast, one of the labyrinth haunted houses in Kansas City’s West Bottoms.
He’s a regular at the annual haunt convention in St. Louis. After throwing a party for his daughter’s school last year and raising money for the Humane Society, Cates decided to go big time with his hobby.
A fan of classic horror flicks such as “The Amityville Horror” and “The Birds,” Cates prefers more spook than gore.
This summer, he received approval from the Douglas County Commission to open a commercial spook operation.
With days left before the debut, Cates was still working on the fear factory, putting together a vortex tunnel. The scary props are the last to go up.
Cates wouldn’t say much about what guests might find, except to give one clue.
“I’ll be the first to admit, I like a scare factor right off the bat,” he said.
Consider yourself warned.
Check it out
The Haunted Farm will be open from dark until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30. The farm is at 1029 North 1156 Road, which is east of Clinton Lake. Cost is $10 for adults and $6 for children 10 and under. For more information, call 749-7448.