It takes creative minds like Tanna Cabezuela's to build a haunted house, especially when you're trying to impress the 50 teens and young adults staying at the Austin Children's Shelter.
"I decorate this whole room, I mean every inch of it to make it as scary as possible," Cabezuela said.
It’s a tough job, considering it's the Austin Children's Shelter weight room. That means moving around heavy equipment to ready the space.
"What ends up in here? You can get gooey eyeballs and put them in water and we'll tell the kids to reach in and feel it," she said about one feature.
Cabezuela got hooked on the event as an Explorer with the Travis County Sheriff's Office. Senior Deputy Derrick Taylor said the department has 40 volunteers signed up to work the Oct. 26 event.
"There are tears shed, they talk about coming back the next year, they talk about how they like seeing the smiles on the kids that we're servicing faces," Taylor said.
For kids who miss out on many typical experiences, this is something for them to just enjoy.
"They've been in and out of foster homes, they've experienced a lot of trauma, for a lot of them, they haven't experienced Halloween the way most kids have," said Julie Burch of the Austin Children’s Shelter.
They can't go door-to-door trick or treating, so this brings Halloween to them.
"Being the one person that has this whole room to decorate is just my favorite thing and I love doing this for the kids," Cabezuela said.
City residents can help by giving candy, costumes and decorations. Organizers already have several drop-off locations set up and there are more to come.
The drop-off locations are listed below.
9500 South IH-35 (Southpark Meadows)
POC: Day Manager
Travis County Sheriff's Department
5555 Airport Blvd
POC: Derrick R. Taylor
Westgate Pet & Bird Hospital
4534 Westgate Blvd, ste 100
POC: Tana Cabezuela
1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd, bldg. 10
POC: Berkley Hudgins
501 S. Congress Ave.
POC: Kelsey Wycoff