It was empty late last week — a bare-bones structure set up behind Confluent Space Tri-Cities in Richland.
By Oct. 29, it’ll be filled with all kinds of frightening things — from rotting skeletons to sinister-looking dolls to actors ready to wreak terror.
Confluent is going all out for its first Halloween, with a Day of the Dead art show, food, drinks, live music, a costume contest, escape room and the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired haunted house.
Volunteers built the 40-by-48-foot haunted house, and they’ve been working day and night to deck it out.
It won’t be filled with random scares; instead, it has a cohesive — and creepy — theme.
“The story is, it was an old farmer’s house back in the 1800s. He lost his mind, killed his wife and two children. The county took it over and turned it into a poorhouse, complete with a library and an infirmary,” said Confluent President Nick Napoli. “You’ll be taking a tour through what’s become a historical museum. And things will get stranger and stranger.”
Confluent is holding a Halloween party Oct. 29 to debut the haunted house and celebrate the Day of the Dead art show, which opens the same night at the DrewBoy Creative gallery inside Confluent.
The event starts at 7 p.m., with music by Stranger and Stranger, VHS, Tigerchamp and Spirit Animals. Food is from the Richland Thai-food restaurant the Emerald of Siam.
Cost is $10 for the art show and party, $10 for the haunted house and $10 for the PerplEXIT escape room, or $30 all inclusive.
The PerplEXIT escape room is a scenario game where contestants solve puzzles to escape.
Confluent opened earlier this year — the first “makerspace” in the Tri-Cities. It’s been the site of classes, cultural events and parties, and it seemed natural to get creative for Halloween, Napoli said.
Many haunted houses rely on store-bought props, but Confluent is made up of artists and technologists. So, “everything is right out of the hands and minds of the people here. To me, that’s most interesting part,” said Michael Nemo, art director.
The minds are a bit twisted, in a good way. The “makerspace” was filled last week with fake skeletons shrink-wrapped to look especially grotesque, with horror masks, with dead-eyed dolls.
The haunted house also will be open Oct. 30-31, when it will be more kid-friendly.
While the haunted house is designed to scare, the Day of the Dead art show is bit more introspective.
DrewBoy Creative founder Davin Diaz spent months on planning.
Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday honoring ancestors and loved ones who’ve died.
It’s particularly meaningful for Diaz, whose company is named for his late brother, Andrew. Diaz also has lost other family members and friends.
“The people I’ve lost — I do everything I do for them. That’s what gives me the fuel,” Diaz said.
The art show includes about 20 works, from paintings to 3-D pieces. An altar is set up, with show-goers invited to bring photos of loved ones to honor.
The Halloween party starts at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29, with the art show opening an hour earlier at 6 p.m.
“I think people are going to be amazed (by the show),” Diaz said. “The art is really good and seeing it in person — it’s powerful. It’s amazing to see it come together.”
Diaz uses his DrewBoy gallery to show inspiring, meaningful art. In the same way, Confluent Space is about building the cultural life of the Tri-Cities, according to leaders.
“The reason I do everything I do is because I want to feel at home here,” Napoli said. “Tri-Cities — I feel like it needs more activities, more parties, more art, more culture, more fun,” he said.
He means like an art show, party and haunted house for Halloween.
“It’s the kind of magic that happens when a bunch of great people get together,” Napoli said.
Advance tickets and more information: ti.to/confluent-space/halloween-2016.
Confluent Space Tri-Cities is at 285 Williams Blvd.