Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-TimesThe Spooky Museum at the Roller Barn in Oak Harbor promises a fright as visitors wander through the Croft family’s creepy creations.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times The Spooky Museum at the Roller Barn in Oak Harbor promises a fright as visitors wander through the Croft family’s creepy creations.

‘Spooky Museum’ promises frights for a good cause

Proceeds from ticket sales to the Spooky Museum will go toward the Save the Roller Barn effort.

One Halloween tradition is alive and well, albeit with a technical twist: Instead of a being turned into a haunted house, the Roller Barn in Oak Harbor has been transformed into a “Spooky Museum.”

Pandemic guidelines made it necessary for James Croft and his family to pivot from a traditional haunted house to the Spooky Museum in order to stay open.

Croft said the creepy creation promises all the scares without the human actors and was quite the logistical undertaking to figure out.

“It does take a lot of extra planning because all the scares have to be automated now. Actors play off the fear of the people walking through. This one is completely automated,” Croft said. “It’s a whole different set of ideas to make it happen this way.”

The 2,000 square-foot “museum” has 29 rooms for visitors to explore complete with flashing lights, spooky sounds, startling bursts of air and creatures jumping out from the dark.

Croft said the crew followed all of the public health guidelines for museums, which means that groups are limited to five people, reservations are staggered, no one is allowed to touch the props and once you go in there is only one way out.

Many of the props came from Croft’s friends, Jay and Shaulana Lujan.

The Lujans typically set up a haunted house of their own, but decided to let the Roller Barn use many of their props this year.

“It was a three-week turnaround,” Croft said. “Without them, the time they’ve given us, the props they allowed us to use, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Proceeds will go toward the “Save the Roller Barn” campaign. Croft has been raising money to restore the Roller Barn since he bought it in 2019.

“We were on a really good roll and it completely died off at the beginning of COVID,” he said. He added that he hopes to reopen to rollerskating in December under “roller fitness.”

“I don’t feel like we own the barn, I feel like we’ve got the opportunity to operate it. It’s been here for 108 years now and it’s just a beautiful building. We couldn’t see it go away,” he said.

The Spooky Museum is open to visitors Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 30-31 from 6-10 p.m. There will be two “low scare” matinees missing the startle scares and with limited animatronics on Oct. 24 and 31 from 3 – 5 p.m.

Tickets can be reserved online for $7 at spookymuseum.com or purchased at the door for $10 per person.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-TimesJames Croft said proceeds from ticket sales for the Spooky Museum will go toward the “Save the Roller Barn” campaign.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times James Croft said proceeds from ticket sales for the Spooky Museum will go toward the “Save the Roller Barn” campaign.

More in Life

Some libraries open for limited in-building services

Sno-Isle Libraries is now offering limited in-building services at select community libraries.… Continue reading

Lions Garage sale adapts to pandemic; resumes donation pickups

The Coupeville Lions Club has resumed pick-ups of garage sale donations after… Continue reading

Debbie Jackson photo of European starlings at home in Penn Cove.
Winged creatures take flight during snow

A Penn Cove photographer was graced by the presence of several species of birds.

Oak Harbor resident earns PLU $30,000 scholarship

CAITLIN DENNEN, a student at Oak Harbor High School, has been named… Continue reading

Germaine Kornegay, left, and Allenda Jenkins star in Whidbey Playhouse’s virtual production of ‘Having our Say: The Delany sisters’ first 100 years’ available to view online on Feb. 26-27. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
‘Having our Say’ brings history to life through two sisters’ memories

Whidbey Playhouse’s virtual production can be viewed online Feb. 26-27.

After her story went viral, April DiDonna was honored as a HOWL’s Hero by an organization that writes children’s books about organ donation. Photo provided
Oak Harbor woman now known worldwide for saying ‘I love you’

After the News-Times interveiwed her, April DiDonna’s story has gone around the world.

Summit Assistance Dogs breeds and trains dogs to become mobility service dogs. Each litter is named with a specific letter — the most recent litter includes Nelson, Nugget, Neela and Nali. Three of the puppies are seen here with founder Sue Meinzinger. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Dog training campus being built on North Whidbey

Facility will train mobility service dogs for people who need them

The woman inside the unicorn suit says she dons the outfit just to bring people a smile. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Big pink unicorn follows in chicken’s footsteps

Whidbey Island is home to all sorts of characters - including inflatable ones.

Capt. Robert Miles, retired U.S. Navy, served in active duty for more than two decades before teaching Oak Harbor High School students leadership, confidence and practical skills through Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. Here he is pictured throughout his career. Photo courtesy Jason Lamont
Oak Harbor NJROTC alums come together to honor mentor

Capt. Robert Miles had a lasting impact on his NJROTC students at Oak Harbor High School.

Jason McFadyen, left, organized about a dozen friends to shave their heads in support of Annie Cash as she goes through breast cancer treatment. Cash was voted top real estate agent, business person and community leader in the Whidbey News-Times’ Best of Whidbey 2020 contest. Photos by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Shaving locks to support one of Whidbey’s best

Annie Cash’s friends shaved their heads in a show of support.

John and Rebecca Roberts have been trail angels for the Pacific Northwest Trail since 2012.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Wandering the rugged Pacific Northwest Trail

The trail snakes down the island on its often-confounding route from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Elizabeth Johnson and rescue dog Wilbur
Island a haven for practitioners of holistic treatments

Some holistic healers on Whidbey have seen a dramatic increase in demand this past year.