The Fire Department's annual event — interrupted last year due to the pandemic — is back.
Palm Coast has a spooky tradition that’s almost as old as the city itself: For the past two decades, Palm Coast Fire Department staff and volunteers have created the city’s annual haunted house experience, the Hall of Terror.
When it began, with then-lieutenant (and now Fire Chief) Jerry Forte and Lt. Richard Cline leading the initiative, it was a way to get kids to come to the fire station, where they’d get Halloween candy.
It’s evolved over the years from candy and a few props in the fire station’s lobby into an elaborate production, interrupted for just one year — 2020, due to COVID-19.
“We’re excited that we get to have it again — the excitement’s there that it’s back, and we’re looking forward to having some fun with it,” PCFD Public Information Officer Lt. Patrick Juliano said. “The community loves it. It’s just a fun, exciting thing, and it’s unique: How may fire stations do something like this in the state, or in the country?”
Fire Station 21’s apparatus bay has been transformed into a walk-through haunted house, with this year’s 20th-anniversary theme featuring hits from previous years, when themes included alien invasions and Stephen King stories, among others.
Attendees, Juliano said, will see “a lot of the old classics” from previous years.
He didn’t want to say exactly which: That would spoil the surprise.
Lt. Dan Driscoll is the department’s “boo master,” said Juliano, planning out each year’s Hall of Terror starting the summer before the event, creating a storyline, helping organize the station’s temporary makeover. The actual transformation usually takes about five or six days leading up to the opening night.
About 30-40 Fire Department staff and volunteers volunteer their time, and money for costumes and props, each year to create the event, Juliano said.
This year, the department has upgraded its lights and sound system.
“Folks who are brave enough should come on over,” Juliano said. “We’ve been known to scare some people away!”