“Scared Sober” Haunted House Raises Funds for Recovery

By Jennifer Tobin, Sunshine Recovery House Board of Directors, Secretary

When my best friend asked me to be on the board of a sober house, I thought, “I don’t know how to be a board member, but I believe in her and that women need a second chance (sometimes 7×70 chances) to get on their feet to learn to maintain a life of sobriety.” So, I jumped in and became one of the founding board members of Sunshine Recovery House. I have been involved with each aspect of gaining our non-profit status, setting up & enforcing house rules, fundraising, and day-to-day operations of our social enterprise UnSHAKEable Milkshakes.  Sunshine Recovery House, a 501(c3) nonprofit, is currently one of very few places in Waco that offers safe, affordable, accountable housing for women in the early stages of recovery from drugs and alcohol. Women who move to a sober living home are more likely to remain sober than if they were to return to the environment they left when they went to treatment. These women are someone’s daughter, sister, mother, aunt, niece, and friend who are recovering from the disease of addiction. Sober living homes provide a community foundation to learn how to live life free of addiction.

In August 2019, Sunshine Recovery House purchased an amazing house located in Uptown Waco. The first time I walked through I thought it would be fun to set up a haunted house there. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. For me, Halloween isn’t about witchcraft, honoring evil spirits, or even overindulging in candy. It’s about using one’s imagination while facing and overcoming fear. I prayed about it, then persuaded the other board members to allow a small budget, and with the help of some outstanding volunteers donating materials, decorations, and time we spent September and October planning and setting up the first Scared Sober Haunted House. We had a lot of fun with the brave souls who came.

With expectations that the house would be either under renovation or occupied by this year the scare crew made a tentative plan to find a store front for Halloween 2020. Then Covid-19 shut down the world, along with our major fundraiser in March, and renovation plans were put on hold, until recently. Because we saved a majority of the materials we used last year and the house remains empty we decided to rally the Scare Crew to hold the event again this year on Halloween weekend: Oct. 29, 30, & 31: 7pm-10pm, and have a cleanup/prayer day on Nov. 1.

I realize that some may see “haunting a house” as inviting darkness; however, our intention is to shed Light on the dark aspects of addiction. The name Scared Sober ties into the theme of each room; for instance, addiction spins a web of lies, walking through a maze of darkness, gloomy funerals, pathways of destruction, and alternate realities. We are optimistic that this year’s Scared Sober Haunted House will be a safe way for community members to support us with their donations while having some Halloween fun.

This is a family event. The Scare Crew has a plan to “turn up the heat” to provide a bit more fright or to tone down the scare factor for younger visitors. We will not let children go through the house alone. Due to the nature of some of our rooms we don’t recommend anyone under 10; however, it’s ultimately parents’ discretion to take their child through. There are also strobe lights used within the house so those who may have seizures are advised to stay away.

Due to Covid-19, the Scare Team will be checking temperatures before entry, only allowing small groups that arrive together to walk through together, maintaining 6ft physical distancing, and requiring everyone to wear a mask (which shouldn’t be hard because it’s Halloween).

Come let us scare you sober Thursday Oct. 29, Friday Oct. 30, or Saturday Oct. 31 7pm-10pm! 

We are asking for a minimum $5 donation but if you can contribute as little as a $1 or as much as $10000+ that would be amazing. All the proceeds are going to refurbish and remodel this house. The renovation of this home will provide 9 additional beds for women in recovery and an apartment for our onsite house manager and her family. The SRH Board has a working plan to move residents in soon and we can only do that with your support!

For other opportunities to support Sunshine Recovery House please visit our website at sunshinerecoveryhouse.com, adopt-a-room, sign up for our newsletter, follow us on social media, go buy a milkshake at Unshakeable Milkshakes located in Union Hall, and stop by to pray with us on Sun. Nov. 1, 3pm-5pm.

Jennifer Tobin transplanted to Waco with her daughter for a fresh start in 2005. She has served on the Board of Directors for Sunshine Recovery House as Secretary since its formation in 2018.  Serving others is her joy; helping women while they learn to live free of addiction is her calling. Jennifer earned her Master’s in Educational Leadership & Advising from Angelo State and works full time in Academic Support & Tutoring at McLennan Community College.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

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  1. Suzy Johnson on October 17, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    I think this is a wonderful venture for you guys to embark on. You all will be in my prayers for everyones complete success. We need more people like you guys!

  2. Wendysherrill on October 18, 2020 at 9:23 am

    A great cause, and great leadership mrs. Tobin!

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