Things that go bump in the night at OPOP

October 29, 2001|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH, Staff Writer

With just a few days left before Halloween, there's already something going "bump" in the dark in the basement of the Old Post Office Pavilion in El Centro.

That something is Ronnie Golden and friends, who are busy creating some scary stuff for Halloween.

For almost 15 years Golden, his wife Jenne and a bunch of their buddies have been stirring up Halloween mayhem, usually on the front lawn of the Goldens' house in El Centro.

One of their most notable efforts a few years back was a fright-filled maze that proved popular for neighborhood kids, their parents and hundreds of others as word spread around town.

This year the venue has changed.

The Imperial County Arts Council wanted to host a haunted house in that most perfect of settings, the basement of its headquarters at the Old Post Office Pavilion on Fifth Street. Someone mentioned Golden's name.


When these holiday devotees — the Goldens also decorate for Christmas — were offered the basement of the Old Post Office in which to create their magic, they jumped at the chance.

Hard at work last week in the gloomy depths of the OPOP, Golden confessed "I hate being scared myself … but I love scaring other people."

Leading the way through the labyrinth of rooms in the basement, Golden paused to proudly point out the handiwork of his friends. "That's Jon Gill's work on the walls over there …. pretty scary, huh?"

Gill, a local businessman and artist, grins as he relates how he approached the Arts Council people once with a view of exhibiting his works in the Old Post Office.

"They thought my style was not quite what they were looking for. OK, so I may be down in the basement, but I finally got my exhibition," he says with a wry smile.

In an isolated corner of the basement, "Dr. Death" (known as Eddy Haynes to friends and acquaintances) was arranging plastic body parts on a window sill.

While other friends were busy hanging skeletons, gargoyles, snakes, bats and a plethora of other Halloween nasties from the low ceilings, Golden, holding a plate of plastic "finger food," stressed that the haunted house would be strictly in good taste.

"Seriously, we're not into anything too ghoulish … and we're definitely not into anything that is just plain nasty. We absolutely don't want to offend people," Golden said. "We just want people of all ages to have fun in the spirit of Halloween."

The haunted house at the Old Post Office Pavilion will be open to the public from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday.

There is no admittance charge but participants are asked to bring a can of food or other non-perishable food stuff as a donation to the Imperial Valley Food Bank.

Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or

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