Welcome to Roushville

Whether you like to celebrate Halloween by trick-or-treating, watching scary movies or going to haunted houses, during the month of October, the Halloween spirit is alive. Logan Roush, of New Berlin, and his family have put on Roushville for 20 years, but this year, the haunted house is cancelled, as Roush is getting a double lung transplant at Duke University Hospital.

“I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects your respiratory and digestive systems. There’s no cure and eventually, it beats you down to where your options for life are to attempt a transplant or call it a life well lived and just enjoy what time you may have left,” he said.

Growing up, though, Roush also grew with Halloween, he said. His dad used to scare kids with a Talking Boris Skull in 1997. At 7 years old, Roush’s father started decorating their house for the spooky holiday.

“I began to realize I’d rather stay home and try to scare kids than go trick-or-treating and that’s when we started going deeper and deeper down the Halloween rabbit hole,” Roush said.

During high school, Halloween became a creative outlet for Roush, he said. He could build scenery and props and learned different painting techniques to recreate different materials such as stone, wood and metal.

Roush started planning his family’s yard to play out different themes and stories, he said. Once out of college, the family yard grew to become Roushville. The name is inspired by the family name to place atop of cemetery pillars that greet people at the entrance.

“I had thought about hosting a professional haunted house for years to benefit Cystic Fibrosis research, but with my declining health, I realized I could never physically host my own haunted house, so I settled on just doing as much as we could with our yard and garage,” Roush said.

The event has been free, but Roush decided to ask for donations once year to help a woman with a lung transplant, he said. This went over so well that they decided to continue the fundraising efforts to benefit PACFI (Pennsylvania Cystic Fibrosis Inc.). Over five years, Roushville has raised $7,000.

Hosting a haunted house is a lot of work and a year-long project from building to painting to researching new supplies and decorations, Roush said. To prepare for the haunting event, Roush travels to Columbus, Ohio, and St. Louis to see new products hitting the market.

Throughout the year, he will work on projects to prep for “build season,” beginning in summer and setting up the props from September to October, he said.

“Halloween night is extremely magical when all the lights are on and the fog’s obscuring all the decorations and all of the Halloween music is surrounding the property,” Roush said. “All for a couple days of enjoyment at the end of October.”

Roushville is cancelled this year because Roush will be away due to his transplant, he said. This time frame for him is important because he is healthy enough that he can recover from a transplant, but it also means he is sick enough to have a transplant he could not push it off past the Halloween season.

On Monday, he will move to Durham, North Carolina, to prepare for the transplant through rehab and clinical appointments, Roush said. If everything goes as planned, Roush should have the surgery within two and a half months. He has been working with Duke now for one year.

Roush has two nieces who he wants to continue to watch grow up, so he is pursuing the double lung transplant, he said. He has been looking into transplants now for four years.

So far, while being away from Roushville this year, he misses the creativity of the haunted house, he said. But as Halloween approaches, he’ll miss seeing his neighbors and friends who stop by the haunted house to catch up.

Despite not being able to host the haunted house, Roush will continue to celebrate the spirit of Halloween by watching his favorite Halloween and fall movies, such as “Hocus Pocus,” he said. He plans to buy Halloween foods and “pumpkin-flavored everything.” In addition to seasonal foods, he also hopes to visit different haunted houses in North Carolina.

“Now that I’m older, it’s remembering the thrill of what’s lurking in the dark during ToTing (trick-or-treating) and trying to be tough in your mask but looking over your shoulder at every noise you hear … That little bit of fear made you feel so alive and I think that’s the spirit of Halloween to me,” Roush said.

He anticipates being in Durham, North Carolina, for six to eight months and hopes to hold Roushville 2019 next Halloween, he said.

Roushville “really has been a huge part of my life and it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if we didn’t have anyone to share it with,” Roush said. “Don’t let Halloween be a thing of the past. Decorate, turn on your porch light, hand out candy, have fun. Make memories and celebrate the magic of being a kid.”