Don’t be fooled by her infectiously smile and her sweet name because Candy Allgood’s mission during this time of the year is to frighten those who dare to step foot onto her property, at 1501 1st Corso.

Candy, who will be 63 this Thursday, has been scaring Halloween visitors for 25 years, and now what has turned out to be a Nebraska City tradition for some families will come to an end Oct. 31.

Candy has made the painstaking decision for this Halloween to be the last time for her free haunted house to be open. Allgood started her scary haunted house, which begins on her front porch and wraps around the outside of her house, to give children and families an opportunity to visit a haunted house and an opportunity to do something for the community.

“I started the free haunted house and stuff because there’s a lot of people that want to go through a haunted house, but it costs too much. I mean there’s a lot of people that can’t afford that. So I just decided I’m just going to open it up, and I love Halloween anyway,” she said. “The kids get to work here and they get community service too.”

Candy said closing her haunted house permanently was a difficult decision for her because throughout the years many children and adults have helped her and its a love that she’s held very close to her heart.

“I hope it ends OK. On my Facebook (Wednesday) night, people were saying that they can’t believe that I’m closing it because this is the thing they wait for at Halloween, but it’s a lot of work,” she said while trying to fight back her tears. “All I can say is let’s have fun one last time and make it go out with a bang.”

She came to her decision because of her full-time business, Candy’s Custom Cakes & Cookies, of 30 years. She said the trend for weddings now-a-days is they are becoming bigger and extending into the fall months, which keeps her busy on the weekends.

“I decorate wedding halls and do weddings and it’s really overpowering to try and do this and do the weddings at the same time. I don’t have enough time,” she said. “I can’t work (on) the house and do this at the same time because I’m gone like every weekend.”

She and her husband, Ron Allgood, also own the Tree City Cab as well.

Candy actually wasn’t going to open her haunted house this Halloween. She had even sold all of her decorations and items this past summer. Her fans and people who have helped her over the years had talked her back into opening one final time.

“The children wanted her to do one last performance,” Ron said.  

Candy starts working on her haunted house every Sept. 1 and has opened it every Halloween night. She’s watched many Nebraska City children grow up and has always offered volunteer hours elementary, middle school and high school students. Many of the Nebraska City High School students have gained community service hours by working at her haunted house.

Patrick Wehling, whose parents have a Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Halloween house across the street from Candy, and his sons have helped at the haunted house. While Wehling’s parents operate the “nice” house across the street, Candy’s spooky house has been a great contrast. He said the haunted house has provided youth with a productive way to help the community.

“I think it’s a great thing for the neighborhood and the community. The kids enjoy it and it’s always been a safe environment. It’s a great place for kids to hang out and have a good time,” he said. “The kids that have helped her, she’s always made sure that they’re grades are kept up. If they have failing grades she wouldn’t let them help. So she was kind of the off-school parent I guess you could say. She’s helped the kids that have some discipline issues get back in line and reward them with letting them help with the project. That’s always been a positive.

“That’s the greatest thing about this is just helping those kids that don’t get it at home,” he added.

Candy said the haunted house has been a positive outlet for some of the children who’ve volunteered.

“This is something for them to do; something to keep them off of the street on Halloween night,” she said. “That way they’re not out destroying or tearing up something.”  

Her haunted house began with a two-man crew - herself and Kyle Rowe, who was a student at the time. She has found memories of that first year and said that Rowe was a “genius” with figuring out simple ways to scare people.

“He was really fun to work with,” she said. “When we first started out, we started with nothing; just two fog machines and strobe lights. Everything else was outside.”

She said Rowe, who is now grown up and lives in McCook, couldn’t believe that she was closing her haunted house. She confided to him that she had already sold all of her Halloween decorations this summer and he replied, “Yeah, but remember when we started out with nothing?”

“I got to thinking, you know he’s right,” she said. “I would love for him to come back and do this one more time with me.”  

Ron is hopeful that someone else would be willing to take on a haunted house similar to Candy’s for high school students to rack up community service hours.

“It would be nice if somebody else in the community or surrounding area close would pick this up after this year because one of the main reasons or things that was accomplished when she did it each year was -  because there’s no charge - the kids at the high school would get community service credit and a lot of them over the years came back, even though they may have gotten their full community service in one year,” he said, “but they were here day after day from the beginning of September a lot of times ’til the end of October.”

When people come to Candy’s house, they’re greeted by many volunteers who will be taunting them with chainsaws and more. Once they reach the steps to the front porch, Candy challenges people to tell her that they’re not scared to enter her haunted house. Her intention is to make people run out of the haunted house.

“I like to play with the ones that say, ‘Oh, I’m not scared.’ OK let’s go rock and roll. Let’s play. It’s fun you know. Nobody gets hurt or anything like that, but they do get scared,” she laughed. “These guys want to scare ya and if you don’t wanna be scared then don’t come in here.”

If people are brave enough to enter, they will walk through many different themed rooms. In the past, for example, Candy has had a doll room where girls were dressed up as creepy dolls. She’s also had a little girl talking to a cracked TV screen, similar to the movie “Poltergeist,” and one year she had transformed the side of her house into a spider’s funnel web. Each year is different and the volunteers think of different ways to scare people, like emerging from the dirt in a graveyard.

“There’s chainsaws here, there’s all kinds of different noise, anything to set you off. This year I don’t want you to stand still,” she said. “I want somebody to go after you at all times.”

Candy wouldn’t reveal what her haunted house would feature this year, but she did say that she will have a light show this time. Nebraska City High School freshman Fernando Dominguez is setting up the light show at Candy’s house. Dominguez earned first place in Nebraska City’s 3rd Annual Holiday Light Contest in December 2014 with his Christmas light show at his house. Candy said Dominguez reminds her of Rowe.

“This is all going to be a big surprise,” she said. “I don’t want anybody to know - only the ones that are coming in to work.”

Candy is looking for more adult volunteers to “play” with her at her haunted house on Halloween. If anyone wants to help her, call (402) 209-1356 this week.

Since this is the last time her haunted house will be open, her neighbors, the Horstmanns, have offered to help out. Sara Horstmann said the first year that they lived in their house they passed out candy to trick-or-treaters, however like most of the neighbors, they’ve kept their front door lights off since because Candy’s house draws in hundreds of people. They normally sit on their front porch and watch all of the people run out of haunted house screaming.

“We like to watch the kiddos,” Sara Horstmann said. “It was pretty entertaining sitting on the front porch and watching them.”

Horstmann said she’s never been through Candy’s haunted house on Halloween, but she’s walked through it on rehearsal night.

“It was good,” she said. “Those kids knew what they were going to do.”

The haunted house will open at dusk on Halloween night and stay open until midnight. Candy is hoping to see some new and familiar faces.

“I want to thank all of the kids that have helped me and I hope they come Halloween night. I want to thank my neighbors for putting up with me. A lot of the kids are really good kids. They really worked hard, they got community service and it’s really been fun,” she said while crying. “I would love for this to go out with a bang.    

“I want to thank the community for coming and supporting this and having a ball, and I hope they come out Halloween night. Let’s have some fun.”

Ron said his wife will be “miserable” next Halloween without her haunted house. Candy joked that perhaps she’ll work at another haunted house instead. One thing’s for sure though, Candy will still be up to her old tricks for trick-or-treaters next year.

“I’ll still scare ya,” she joked. “I’m going to still scare you one way or another.”

When Halloween is over, Candy will then get ready for her second favorite holiday - Christmas.

“You think my house on Halloween is decorated, you should see it at Christmas,” she said.