Published October 30, 2019


LYNNFIELD — It’s the spookiest time of year.

Over a thousand people came together to get scared and have some laughs during Haunted High School’s triumphant return on Saturday, Oct. 26. After a seven-year hiatus, the Lynnfield High School Class of 2021 and Lynnfield Community Schools joined forces in order to resurrect Haunted High School from the dead.

“It’s a huge success,” said Community Schools Director Michaelann Herook. “The high school kids did a fantastic job. It’s a great community event.”

High school foreign language teacher Jodie Leibowitz agreed.

“Everybody is having so much fun,” said Leibowitz, who serves as one of the Class of 2021’s advisors. “They are really enjoying it. This is a huge success.”

FRIENDS, from left, Ava Coleman, Makayla Greene, Taylor Guarracino, Izzy Giordano and Jenna Brodigan terrified patients entering the Haunted Hospital at Haunted High School on Oct. 26. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

While Herook said Haunted High School’s proceeds are still being tallied, she said the funds raised will be donated to the LHS Class of 2021.

There was a large line of people eagerly waiting to get spooked when Haunted High School opened its doors at 4:30 p.m. and the event remained busy until the doors closed at 8 p.m.

In order to transform Lynnfield High into a haunted house, students arrived at the high school bright and early to start decorating hallways. The high school’s hallways were transformed into both scary and happy areas.

“The students had to decide whether they wanted to do a happy area or a scary area,” said Leibowitz. “Most of the kids signed up for scary areas, but we still had a lot of kids sign up for happy areas.”

Haunted High School’s scary areas featured the “It”-inspired Scary Clown hallway as well as a Haunted Hotel, Haunted Hospital, Insane Asylum, a Medieval hallway and a hallway inspired by the horror movie “The Purge.” A number of the students participating in the scary hallways screamed and banged on lockers in order to terrify guests.

“The scary areas were terrifying,” said Leibowitz.

The happy areas featured were the Beach hallway, Rainbows and Unicorns hallway, Smiley Faces hallway, Superheroes hallway and a “Wizard of Oz”-inspired hallway.

“The happy areas were very cute,” said Herook.

High school English teacher Joey Puleo, who serves as a Class of 2021 advisor along with Leibowitz, was impressed with both areas.

“They were really creative,” said Puleo. “All of the kids were pitching in and helping out.”

Leibowitz concurred with Puleo’s point of view.

“The kids did a great job,” said Leibowitz. “They really gave it their all. They worked so hard and were so creative. It was awesome.”

Attendees began the trek through Haunted High School by going through the happy areas before eventually finding their way to the scary areas if they dared. Attendees were able to go through the hallways twice. The children who attended the event were given a bag of candy after they finished their trek through the haunted house.

Herook said Lynnfield firefighters helped oversee Haunted High School in order to keep attendees safe. Leibowitz noted Haunted High School’s student participants received community service hours for volunteering.

Haunted High School became one of the town’s most popular biannual events after it was launched in the 1980s. After lying dormant for the past seven years, Puleo said the decision to resurrect Haunted High School originated after he held a Community Schools Summer of Fun Activities Camp this past summer.

“I run a Haunted Happenings camp with elementary and middle school kids for Community Schools during the summer,” said Puleo. “A lot of parents who walked through Haunted Happenings said it reminded them of Haunted High School. Michaelann suggested we bring it back, and here we are.”

LHS Principal Bob Cleary said he is thrilled that Haunted High School is back from the dead.

“I am really excited about it,” said Cleary. “The kids have done a dynamite job and the class advisors, Mrs. Leibowitz and Mr. Puleo, did a great job pulling everything together and working with Michaelann and Community Schools. It’s been a great effort by everybody. It’s a lot of fun to see the faces of the kids coming through. There are a lot of parents who went to Haunted High School in the past and they are really excited it’s back again.”

Superintendent Jane Tremblay concurred with Cleary’s sentiment.

“I couldn’t be happier that Haunted High School is back,” said Tremblay. “It’s a lot of fun seeing the elementary kids coming through and seeing all of the high school kids working together. It’s hard to say who is having more fun, the elementary kids or the high school kids. It’s a great community event.”

A number of parents who grew up in town were ecstatic that Haunted High School is back.

“Another job well done by the students, staff and Lynnfield Community Schools,” Selectman Chris Barrett wrote on his Facebook page. “This year’s Haunted High School was the best yet. Great job to all involved.”

Alderney Way resident Stacey Cook agreed.

“Having grown up with this awesome tradition, I am so thrilled that it is back and better than ever,” Cook wrote on her Facebook page. “Best one yet Joey Puleo and juniors.”

Before LHS was transformed into Haunted High School, Herook noted Leibowitz and Puleo held several meetings with students in order to plan the event.

“The kids had to put a proposal together with their groups,” said Herook. “They had to submit a theme for what their area was going to be.”

Herook said Haunted High School is “a great way to bring the community together.”

“It’s good for the high school students,” said Herook. “They worked together in teams to organize it and put it together. It was amazing to see everyone working together.”

With Haunted High School officially resurrected from the dead, Herook anticipates the popular event will be held bi-annually going forward.

“It takes quite a bit of work to put this together and the kids are busy with things such as sports,” said Herook.

Leibowitz echoed Herook’s viewpoint.

“It was a lot of work for the kids,” said Leibowitz. “But they had a lot of fun doing it. They really enjoyed it.”