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FARMINGTON — As Halloween approaches, area schools and organizations have organized haunted houses to scare up funds for school clubs and nonprofit organizations.

Haunted houses organized by students in Aztec and Farmington, along with the Bloomfield Boys & Girls Clubs, are returning this year.

It is the second year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomfield to host a haunted house event. A haunted house maze was part of the club’s annual Halloween carnival, but organizers decided to make it a separate event last year.

Executive Director Sarah Lorett said the haunted house was really small, and relocating it to a larger space at the old Boys & Girls Clubs building was a great success. The funds raised benefit the club’s after-school program.

The haunted house recently underwent a name change, stepping away from a circus theme due to the “creepy clown” phenomenon.

Organizers originally went with the “Backwoods Big Top” theme. Lorett said the name was changed due to the increased frequency of scary clown sightings showing up on social media.

A New Jersey school district recently implemented a ban on clown costumes and big-box retailer Target has removed creepy clown masks from its stores due to the clown issue, according to USA Today.

The haunted house will be staged at 225 W. Main St. in Bloomfield and will run from 8:30 to 11 p.m. on Oct. 28, 29 and 31 with a $5 admission. For more information or to volunteer, call 505-632-0123.

With a "Dark Carnival" theme, Theater Ensemble Arts (TEA) and students in the Farmington High School Drama Club are not letting the creepy clown sightings affect their production of this year's Xtreme Terror haunted house.

In an old warehouse along Fairgrounds Road, the teams are organizing a smaller haunted house maze than last year’s event at 130 Airport Drive, the current home of the Airport Auto Center.

TEA Vice President Kara Brewer said the haunted house will incorporate voodoo zombies and clowns along with a funhouse-style entrance to the maze.

Xtreme Terror is held at 910 Fairgrounds Road in Farmington and is open from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday,  Saturday and Oct. 28 and 29. On Oct. 31, it will be open from 7 to 9:30 p.m., and admission is $10.

This is the third year for the Aztec High School Key Club to use the Pioneer Village at the Aztec Museum for its haunted house.

The village provides students with an opportunity to scare attendees to raise money for national nonprofits, including the United Nations Children's Fund and the Children's Miracle Network. Donations will also be made to a local nonprofit group that Key Club members will select at a later date.

Key Club adviser Debbie Klein said she has been impressed by the creativity of the students and is looking forward to how they transform the village for this year’s haunted house.

“It’s amazing what they can come up with,” Klein said.

The haunted house will be staged at 125 N. Main. Ave. in Aztec and is open from 7 to 11 p.m. on Oct. 29 and from 7 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 31. The admission for the haunted house is $3 for children 12 and younger, and $5 for those 13 and older.

Navajo Preparatory School students are set for the sixth-annual haunted house dubbed “Fright Night on Apache Street.”

The Navajo Prep senior class, and the boys and girls soccer teams are raising money to pay for their graduation ceremony, senior class trip and the soccer program, according to senior class President Taishiana Tsoie

Those venturing into the haunted house will start in the basement of the old administration building this year. Tsoie said those who enter the basement will feel claustrophobic in the narrow and dark spaces before entering the first floor of the building.

Elements of the maze were influenced by classic horror movies and the "Five Nights at Freddy's" video game.

The haunted house will be staged at 1220 W. Apache St. in Farmington and will run from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday,  Saturday, Oct. 28, 29 and 31. Admission is $5 with a canned food donation or $6 without.

Food donations will be distributed to People Assisting the Homeless and the New Beginnings program at the Navajo United Methodist Center.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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