Henry Street Horrors is a group of people who put on a haunted house every year in the Pontiac Illinois area. I have been involved in the haunted house for the last 11 years, and started the last year the haunted house was located on Henry Street. Since that time we have moved to the 4H park where we have been the last 9 years. In 2008 we lost our founder Mick Huxtable in a tragic accident. This is the story of Henry Street Horrors in Mick’s own words from the 2001 season.
Webmaster, Henry Street Horrors
HALLOWEEN … The very name brings up memories of dressing up, trick or treating, and carving Jack-o-Lanterns. But for us here at Henry Street Horrors, it’s a ways of life. We started modestly in 1984. Wow, Has it been that long? Just a couple of kids, Mick and John, looking for something to do on Halloween. I have always loved scaring the crap out of people and have always been pretty good at it, so it was a natural fit that I would grow attached to Halloween. The first few years were miserable, just a couple of kids with no money, relying on junk from around the house and our imaginations. I remember it well, on that cool autumn Sunday, ” Let’s make a graveyard or something.” That statement would go on to be a good part of the driving force of our lives. After about 6 years, I got engaged to Jackie and moved away from John’s neighborhood. We went about 2 years without doing anything on Halloween and it drove me INSANE. However, Jackie had a younger brother, Joe. I new early on that Joe had “it.” I would say “it” is best defined as a characteristic that a person has enabling them to have an intangible ability to frighten, scare, or just plain disturb someone’s mind. So one year, I think about ’92, I started to arrange for a comeback. I talked to Joe alot the months before and him and I set up a little graveyard at jackie and my trailer. Though the night was a little disappointing (we only had like 10 trick or treaters total) I not knowingly planted a seed that would grow and grow in our community. We decided to try our luck at Joe’s house on Henry street (Jackie’s mom and dad’s) one year. Just Joe, Jackie, and myself that first year. Again, disappointment. We had a few lights and things to illuminate our gravestones and it ended up raining all day and night. But we all knew we had a good location here. By ’96, Jackie and Joe’s mom and dad decided their house was too big and moved. Luckily, Jackie and I bought the house and following Halloween, Henry Street Horrors was born. Had Jackie, Joe, myself, and about 5 of Joe’s high school friends that year. That year was terrific, our neighborhood was hooked. The Halloween of ’99 was the beginning to what we hope will be many fantastic Halloweens to come. Joe, Jackie, I needed more “actors” to help out that year. A few of our neighbors were happy to help out.
Lisa and Adelle came on board along with Adelle’s sister Audra and her boyfriend (husband now, thank god he didn’t get away). Robbie says, “I have this cool gorilla costume I could use if you want my help.” We said sure, what the heck. We didn’t really know him, but we needed the help. Little did we know we were adding another person who had “it” to the ranks. This was also the 1st year was had a maze going through the backyard and Robbie’s Gorilla cage was the hit of the evening. He was great. And man can Audra scream. Afterwards, Robbie tells me he has a brother that is crazier than he is. I told him we HAD to meet him. Enter Ryan for H2K( Halloween 2000). He was Amazing. I also got talking to my brother Doug and thought he had a good build for Leather Face just bought a chainsaw and poof… we had Leather Face. Robbie and Ryan’s mom wasn’t doing anything that night so we welcomed crystal aboard. Also had Doug’s friend Amy along for the ride. Afterwards, I could tell we had them all hooked. It was a blast, and this year should be even better. All the old cast along with a few new faces will be ready to kick off Halloween 2001. Doug’s wife Gina is going to join the fun this year along with Amy’s husband, Brian. Joe has new people coming and Jackie and my friends Andrea and her husband Spaceman will be there.
This will be the scariest, most terrifying Halloween our community has ever seen. Let everyone else have their Christmas in December, ours is on October 31. Every scream we hear, every tear we see is like opening a new present. Fear is the only thing all human beings have in common and we squeeze every last ounce of it out of you. So if you’re not sure what you’re afraid of … come and see us this year at Henry Street Horrors, we will find out for you and take great pleasure in scaring the yell out of you.
Mick Huxtable Founder of Henry Street Horrors
That is Mick’s story as he wrote it for the original Henry Street website that Joe Foster built for the 2001 season.
I actually joined the haunted house in 2002. Joe was one of my best friends and he had talked me into joining. I went to a couple early meetings at Mick and Jackie’s house and we decided the best role for me was that of the scary clown. Joe suggested I play the clown because I was afraid of clowns and thus understood the fear. Mick always called me Dover so we decided that would be a great name for my clown character. Despite being afraid of looking at myself in the mirror I actually had a great time that year as the mallet wielding psycho clown. That is, until my mallet broke. I ran into Mick and Jackie’s garage to grab a new instrument of bashing and saw a shovel. That was when “Dover the Clown” was truly born and I was hooked forever on haunted houses and Henry Street Horrors.
The next year Mick told us we were moving out of the backyard and into downtown Pontiac. We were sponsored by PROUD, a local charitable organization that helps Pontiac redevelop its downtown area. PROUD put us up in the abandoned old firehouse which is now the Route 66 museum. There were alot of new people who joined that year including a cranky old codger named Roger Adams who was Mick’s work buddy, my little brother Joe Diaz and Brian “the deaf biker” Miller. Roger brought with him his wife Donna and his kids Ashley, Chris & Amanda. That year was really something special, as the abandoned firehouse added a sense of spooky that is hard to replicate anywhere else.
In 2004 we moved yet again to our current location at the 4H Park. We had a hard time at first dealing with the dirt floors, but now I don’t know how we would live without them. The park is a really great space with alot of room to expand. Every year since we have been there we have increased our plywood and 2×4 collection and built more walls. 2005 was the introduction of the maze as a separate attraction. It was also the first year that games and hayrack rides were added to our lineup. Andy Ferguson was added to the cast that year and we had a great haunt. Unfortunately it was the last year for Mick as head of Henry Street Horrors. He had decided that if the haunted house was going to continue to grow he would need more help and the only way to do that was to step down as leader.
In 2006 we voted on a new president of Henry Street Horrors, and I was elected. I’ll probably never be as good as Mick was at getting a scare out of people, but I will try my hardest to make our event fun and as scary as possible. Joe Foster had also moved away and was no longer able to participate.
Early in 2008 Pontiac had a terrible flood and Mick passed in a tragic accident. We lost not only our leader but a very good friend and good person.
Since Mick’s passing we have added a kids day on the Sunday before Halloween that is free with a donation to the local food pantry. We also put together enough funds to build a playground at the 4H park in honor of Mick. Mick’s brother, Doug, started to take a bigger part in the leadership of the haunted house in 2009, and now is the president of the Henry Street Horrors non for profit. We continue to try to put on the best haunted house in our area & hoping that Mick would be proud of what we have accomplished. We hope our customers are pleased and that we can still scare the yell out of you.
Ben Diaz Webmaster Henry Street Horrors