ELYSBURG - Guests visiting this year's edition of the Elysburg Haunted House will encounter new spooks and creatures and visit several eerie rooms described as "classic."

The annual spook house operated by the Elysburg and Ralpho Township fire companies opens this year at 7 p.m. Friday at the Valley Gun and Country Club along Route 487.

Volunteers are busy this week painting props, positioning skeletons and adding just a "drop or two" of fake blood around the house and along the winding trails that lead to it. Some of the most popular rooms have returned for another season, including the "Swamp" and "Witch's Tavern," however, there are several new surprises that await guests.

Elysburg Fire Company president Harvey Boyer did not reveal much about what might be in store for guests in the two-story wood-framed home, but said they will be shocked at what they see.

"There are a total of 18 attractions in the home, seven of which are new this year," he said. "Once you make it through the footpaths, guests will enter the house through the basement."

As tradition, chainsaw wielding demons will horrify people waiting in line. New bounce houses and more food vendors will be located near the ticket booths.

All volunteers

Boyer said between parking attendants, ticket-takers and people dressed up, around 60 people - all volunteers - help with the production. Many of those who help are not firefighters, Boyer added.

"The community has been so helpful. We wouldn't be able to do this without them," Boyer said. "The fire companies have just a small number of people, and it takes a lot of people. The community supports our fire companies."

Around Labor Day members cut back vegetation along the paths leading to the house. The bulk of the activity starts in mid-September when the house is repaired and plans for attractions are laid out. On Thursday, a safety meeting and a run-through will be held to ensure everything is in perfect working condition for the hundreds of people who will walk through the house.

Boyer said this year's pre-setup is the smoothest in recent years. He credited all the volunteers for making the attraction come together seamlessly.

No snow

On Sept. 29, 2011, - the last day of last year's haunted house - several inches of snow fell throughout the region. According to Boyer, the hazardous driving conditions prevented people from traveling to the haunted house, which had a "devastating" impact on the total revenue generated.

"We lost the largest amount of patrons," Boyer said. "This is our biggest fundraiser for both companies."

Boyer said the haunted house will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. Halloween night, a Wednesday. It is the first time that he can recall that the haunted house was open on a weekday.

"It's something we toyed with for a long time. We are going to try it this year," Boyer said.

Boyer said everyone involved is grateful for the support the fundraiser receives each year.

"On behalf of the Elysburg and Ralpho fire companies, I can't thank enough the support from the community."

For more information go to http://www.elysburghauntedhouse.com/page/.