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Campbell House boosts spook factor for Halloween

The Campbell House at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is dimly lit. There are creaky stairs. Its residents are long dead.

“The house is just sort of dark and creepy,” said Logan Camporeale, the museum’s volunteer coordinator. Especially after dark, and with a few added spiders and other Halloween decorations.

The museum will capitalize on the house’s natural spookiness by hosting a family-friendly open house Monday for the second year.

There will be a scavenger hunt that will get children exploring all over the house, Camporeale said. Once they’ve finished the hunt, they’ll receive a prize bag with candy, pencils and other Halloween treats.

Children can create a mask and trick-or-treat at the main and carriage houses. There will also be an outdoor activity, if the weather cooperates, he said.

Halloween celebrations at the Campbell House aren’t purely a modern invention, although there isn’t a lot known about parties from the past, Camporeale said. Diary entries show that the daughter of the house, Helen Campbell, attended Halloween parties in 1913 and 1915. She would have been in her early 20s at the time.

In 1913, Campbell writes in her diary that she was out until 3 a.m. at a masquerade party at the Spokane Club. A Spokesman-Review article about the same party said costuming showed “wide variety and reckless regard for expense.”

Camporeale will have the diary entries on display, as well as newspaper articles and photos from the museum’s collection showing children in costumes.

For modern-day trick-or-treaters, the open house offers a place to come inside.

“It’s just a fun thing to do on Halloween night,” he said.