WORTHINGTON — Since last year's Building of Terror haunted house was so popular, Worthington Trojan cross country families have decided to do it again — with an all-new design and theme — next Friday and Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m. each night.

The idea to create a haunted house was brewed by a group of cross country parents — including Maria and Mark Thier, Linda and Kevin Shaefer, Angie and Dave Hoffman and Kelly Henkels — when they realized that the runners didn't have team warm-up gear.

Maria Thier explained that the Minnesota State High School League does not consider warm-ups equipment, so the school district does not have to provide them for the athletes.

"It just wasn't something the school, at that time, was going to do," Thier said.

So the parents combined their efforts and raised the needed funds to provide warm-ups for last year's runners. In addition to Minnesota's chilly temperatures, Thier pointed out that matching warm-ups are important for the athletes to feel like a team.

This year, 75 runners are part of the cross country program, so more warm-ups are needed, as is funding for other projects.

The Building of Terror "started out last year as just a brainstorm," said Linda Shaefer.

A building was secured from T&S Rentals in space at 628 10th Ave., behind Hair & Beyond salon. Labor and supplies were all donated, as well. The parents worked together to plan, build and decorate the haunted house, and the runners staffed it on the two nights of operation.

The group was unsure how the community would receive the project, but was pleasantly surprised at its smashing success.

"People said, 'I hope you're going to do this again,'" Thier reported. "It's grown into something the community loves to come out and do."

The cross country runners were skeptical last year about wearing costumes and working the building, but scaring folks turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of the whole season.

This year, "We're looking forward to it," said runner Nedoh Gyi.

"It's going to be better than last year," added Madison Shaefer.

This year, the design and theme will be completely different. Both parents and runners hope the Building of Terror will be just as popular.

To build excitement about the upcoming event, Worthington Middle School teacher Scott Burns created a trailer for the 2019 Building of Terror. Without giving away any surprises, it shows a sneak peek of what attendees can expect.

Building of Terror 2019 trailer embed

Also new this year, T-shirts designed by students from the WHS textiles class will be available for sale while supplies last. While patrons wait in line to get into the haunted house, they may also climb in a prop coffin and take spooky photos. Social media posts should use the hashtag #BuildingOfTerror.

All proceeds from the Building of Terror will benefit Worthington Cross Country. Once all runners have warm-up gear, funds may also go toward purchasing warm polyester gear that could be worn under jerseys as part of a team uniform, as well as other needs that arise.

"We want to make sure that athletes' needs are met," Shaefer said.

While the Building of Terror is open to all ages, children aged 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult.