Home Marlton News Marlton resident holding haunted yard tour to raise money for charitable causes

Marlton resident holding haunted yard tour to raise money for charitable causes

Money will go toward breast cancer awareness or medical bills for a local boy battling cancer.

Ghoulish ghosts, scary skeletons, spindly spiders, mortifying monsters, confining cobwebs and a whole host of other Halloween hijinks are set to return for another year at the home of Marlton resident Virginia Onofrio.

And the best part? Members of the public are once again encouraged to stop by 517 Parliament Road for themselves and take a tour of the spooky spectacular.

Known by many neighbors as “The Halloween House,” Onofrio has been decorating her yard for Halloween since she purchased the property in 2002.

According to Onofrio, the decorations started as part of an annual party around the Halloween season where she would entertain groups of her nieces and nephews, along with their friends.

The main event for these parties was a “haunted” hunt through Onofrio’s decorated yard, with Onofrio’s family members and friends serving as the actors in the display.

As the years went on and with more kids in her family, along with kids trick-or-treating in the area, many came to expect seeing her display each October, Onofrio would add newer and more elaborate decorations to keep the presentation growing.

However, two years ago, Onofrio had the idea to officially open the tour to the public.

At the time, Onofrio had just lost a close friend and neighbor to breast cancer, and with October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she decided to use her decorated yard to collect donations for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Through just word-of-mouth advertising and a few signs in her neighborhood, Onofrio’s inaugural public tour raised nearly $1,500 with just two tour dates on a Monday and Tuesday evening.

With that success, Onofrio brought the public tour back for its second year in 2017, where she increased her fundraising by more than 50 percent, reaching nearly $2,400 for Susan G. Komen.

Now, in just a few days, the tour will open for year three.

This year the event will be raising money for both Susan G. Komen and Chase-ing a Cure for Chase, the fundraiser that supports 6-year-old Marlton resident Chase Gilchrist, who was diagnosed with Anaplastic Ependymoma brain cancer when he was 1 year old.

Onofrio said the story of Chase and his family came to her attention when they visited her tour last year.

“Chase was so full of energy and life that one could not imagine that he was sick,” Onofrio said. “I found out about his plight as they piled into their car at the end. All of us were very touched by this little boy and his family.”

Reflecting on the success of last year’s event, Onofrio said those who came through the tour were impressed at the number of volunteers and their level of enthusiasm.

The volunteers also make an effort to adjust the “scare level” depending on the age of those heading through Onofrio’s yard.

For this year’s event, Onofrio said she hopes people can help spread the word about the tour so more people donate to the two charitable causes.

“Post on social media, share with friends, and let others know how much you enjoyed it,” Onofrio said. “The more we can spread the word, the more we can raise to help both Chase and research for breast cancer.”

Onofrio will hold this year’s tours on four dates, starting Friday, Oct. 19, and running again on Saturday, Oct. 20, Friday, Oct. 26 and concluding on Saturday Oct. 27.

The tours will run from 6 to 10 p.m. each night. Tours will be located at Onofrio’s residence at 517 Parliament Road.

Donations will be accepted in person or online.

To donate to Onofrio’s fundraiser for Susan G. Komen online, visit www.info-komen.org/goto/hauntedhouse18.

To donate to Chase, visit his GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/gzuznw7g. or search for “Chase-ing a Cure for Chase” at www.gofundme.com and select the fundraiser based in Marlton.

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