MUNCIE, Ind. (October 1, 2015) - A Halloween staple in Muncie may soon be history. The Organ Trail, a haunted house that attracts thousands of visitors, is in limbo. For now, the city has put a stop to its scare.
For the past three years, its creator hasn’t had a single issue. Now he’s been told he’s in violation of city code, and could be forced to shut down what has become a major Halloween attraction.
Michael Keihn has made his yard into a labor of love. He’s obsessed with Halloween and says the haunted house he creates every year in his front yard has become his saving grace.
“I had a son that passed away about four years ago, and this is my escape,” he said.
It covers 4,000 square feet, winding through corn mazes and mad houses, but the screams may fall silent this year.
The Muncie City Building Commissioner is putting the halt on the haunt, claiming Keihn needs a permit and as is, the haunted house is in violation of city code.
“Nobody's been here to inspect us. I’ve asked if they could. I agreed with our building commissioner on safety issues. 100 percent wholeheartedly, I am behind him 100 percent, but I want a chance,” said Keihn.
Keihn says he's receiving mixed signals. He’s been told one thing by the city and another by the state, that he doesn’t need a permit.
One concern of the city is the structural integrity of the homemade haunted house.
For now though, Keihn has halted construction, concerned he’ll get fined.
“We have such a big crowd that loves to come here,” said Joshua Campbell who helped build the Organ Trail.
Parents are worried the Muncie staple has seen its last Halloween, “It’s an attraction that a lot of people like, and they’ve enjoyed it,” said Keihn’s neighbor, Maranda Conley.
“Worst case scenario, we don’t get to open and I upset a lot of people,” said Keihn.
The Organ Trail also acts as a local fundraiser, collecting school supplies for a neighborhood elementary school, and canned goods for a local food bank.
Keihn is meeting with Muncie’s Mayor Friday to see if they can work out an agreement.