Creepy clowns, haunting dolls and an otherworldly ring master will greet fans of haunted houses this Halloween in Clay. October 29 and 30 will mark the third year of Patchwork Coffee’s scary offering in Webster County, and organizers hope to welcome more guests than ever before.

This year’s theme is Haunted Carnival, and will feature jump scares and scream-worthy terrors, but will adjust them according to the age of its customers.

The event will be held from 6-10 p.m. nightly in the yard behind Patchwork Coffee’s location at 161 First Street. Admission cost per person is $5.

The haunted house has been part of the business’s larger annual Fall Festival, which features barbecue, a variety of baked goods, the shop’s selection of coffees and specialty drinks, and a place to enjoy them with friends and neighbors.

Patchwork Coffee is owned by Lori Shoots and her husband, Steve, a past member of the Dixon City Commission. The shop initially opened on Main Street, and the haunted house was held the first year in the shop’s spare room.

When the couple moved the business to First Street, the new location couldn’t accommodate an indoor event, so they moved it outside. It was a big hit.

“We decided to do a haunted trail,” Lori said. “We had 85 people come through over the two nights.”

She explained that the actors use light scares for little kids, jump scares for the older kids, and ramp it up to terrifying for teenagers and adults.

Most of the ghosts and ghouls in the haunted house are teenaged and younger, with an adult here and there.

“It’s so cool to see these kids stand up in a group together and talk about what they’re going to do when the next group comes through,” Lori said. “Or talk about how their costumes evolved. I let them decide what they do. I give them the theme, and tell them to come up with their costumes.”

Lori has always loved Halloween, so she always puts a lot of effort into the annual event. Her enthusiasm fuels that of everyone involved, and even some who haven’t been before.

“I had a kid message me...wanting to be in the haunted house,” she said.

“I’ve never met the kid before in my life. I told him to come talk to me and we’ll see what we can do. He just thought it was the coolest thing ever to be in a haunted house.”

The fall festival portion begins at 10:00 am that Friday and Saturday, and will stay open until dusk when the haunted house opens.

The selection of games for kids has also grown this year, and are free to play for the little ones. Prizes are awarded for those who win.

Cornhole boards will also be set up for people to play. The boards were specially designed for Patchwork Coffee by Willow’s Country Decor of Wheatcroft.