Organizers at the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge are looking for volunteers for a haunted house on the harbor.

Deborah Edwards, treasurer for Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, said there is usually no shortage of volunteers once The Dark Haunted House opens, but there is an immediate need for the construction and design effort. Volunteers will build the haunted house inside the former Electric Cowboy at 314 Harbor Blvd. over the next two weekends, Sept. 21-22 and Sept. 28-29.

"What we really need is help with the construction. We don't just pin stuff on the walls. We actually build out whole rooms. Whether it is a kitchen or a bathroom, whatever the theme of the room is, it is totally built out in a lot of detail," Edwards told The Log. "There is a lot of construction, a lot of painting, cleaning, organizing, running electrical, help organizing the costumes, help running the lighting. There is a lot of work."

Volunteers are needed for construction, prop design/building, painting, cleaning, costumes, makeup and security. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old.

There are also opportunities for a food vendor outside the haunted house, as well as sponsorships for individual rooms inside.

The Dark Haunted House is Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge's biggest annual fundraiser. For the last five years it has been based at Uptown Station in Fort Walton Beach. This year the refuge, which used to be headquartered in Destin on Mountain Drive, is returning to its roots and haunting the harbor. All proceeds go directly to the general operating budget of the non-profit organization, which provides wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release services on the Emerald Coast and beyond.

The record take for the yearly event is $47,000.

"That's probably about one-third of our operating budget for the year," Edwards said.

Dates have not been officially set, as volunteer participation in construction will largely dictate when the haunted house is able to open. Edwards said she hopes to have the haunted house open by the weekend of the Destin Seafood Festival, Oct. 4-6. Once open, the haunted house will run throughout October.

Edwards said the Dark Haunted House is not designed for young children, and she does not recommend anyone younger than 10 years old enter.

"We put on the best event in town. We get people from Mobile, Montgomery and all over to come in for it," Edwards said.

To volunteer to help with the Dark Haunted House or to sponsor a room, contact Edwards at


The Coast Guard station at 2000 Miracle Strip Pkwy. in Destin will be opening up Oct 18-19 and 25-26 from 7 – 10 p.m. for a haunted house.

Attendees are highly encouraged to donate one non-perishable food item per person. Destin Harvest, a non-profit food harvest organization servicing Okaloosa and Walton County, will be on site for donations.

Due to the fear factor of the haunted house, the Coasties recommend that only those ages 10 and up attend. Parking at the station will be limited. For questions or further details call 850-244-7147

In past years, the Jaycees of Fort Walton Beach have also erected a haunted house in Destin. A representative with the Jaycees told The Log they are working on securing a location.