Don't be surprised to see people screaming and running from Ocean City's City Hall on Saturday evening. For one night only, the historic building will be transformed into a haunted house overrun by zombies, evil clowns and vampire actors lurking in the dark corners and corridors.
The "Haunted City Hall" event is being organized by the members of Ocean City High School's Art and Photography clubs and the Ocean City Exchange Club. Haunted City Hall had been an annual event in Ocean City, but ended some years ago. High School art teacher and Art Club advisor Paul Matusz decided to bring it back as a fundraiser to raise money for OCHS student scholarships, particularly for students planning to pursue a degree in art or photography.
Members of the high school's art and photography clubs will create the props, decorate the building and act in the event, and members of the Ocean City Exchange Club will volunteer their time as security guards, ticket sellers and such.
Matusz said he and a crew of students took a tour of City Hall about two weeks ago to get a visual sense of its layout. During the tour, they learned of a rumor that the building may actually be haunted, possibly the spirit of late city treasurer Anthony Imbesi. The building dates back to 1914 when Harry Headley was mayor.
Ocean City Public Relations Director Mark Soifer said Imbesi worked at City Hall when he began his position 41 years ago. If Imbesi's spirit does, in fact, haunt the building, then, Soifer said, City Hall couldn't have a nicer ghost.
The high school students have been meeting after school over the past few weeks to brainstorm ideas for the event and work on the props and costumes. They will be bring the props into City Hall on Friday night.
Seniors Jackie Chapman and Casey Merrill, members of the school's Art Club, said the group has come up with some pretty creepy concepts, such as an evil clown section, a zombie apocalypse and an insane asylum.
The students said they're particularly looking forward to being on the sending side of the scares.
"We go to these things all the time in the fall, so it's going to be fun to be behind the scenes," Chapman said. "We have a lot of crazy ideas and surprises planned, blacks lights, a lot of blood. It's going to be pretty extreme."
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
What: Haunted City Hall
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27
Where: City Hall, 901 Asbury Ave., Ocean City
Cost: $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets will be sold at the door. All proceeds benefit the Ocean City High School students.