By Teresa Varley
It was a haunting night when some Steelers players got a jump on Halloween and hosted a fund-raiser at the Hundred Acres Manor Haunted House in Pittsburgh's South Park.
Kicker Jeff Reed and long snapper Greg Warren organized the event, which benefitted Animal Friends and Homeless Children's Education Fund.
"It's an unbelievable event," said Sara McNally, the Office and Events Manager for the Homeless Children's Education Fund. "The Steelers have given us such a commitment. Even more players are getting involved because of how much fun they have had. To have them all take part for a good cause is exciting. It means a lot to us. It's a pretty neat community event. This is neat for the kids to know the Steelers were here supporting them."
The idea was for the Steelers to hide out in the haunted house and scare those brave enough to make their way through, but they got scared a bit themselves when they got a sneak peak tour and made their way through the haunted house's "graveyard" and "psych ward," with every turn in the house providing something unexpected.
"We were all grabbing on to each other," said Warren. "There are all these big guys running around and we are all latching on to each other like we are with our girlfriends."
Seeing some of his "tough" teammates get spooked in the haunted house was entertaining for center Justin Hartwig.
"It was a blast," said Hartwig. "It's funny because I was with all of my teammates. We were following each other really close so people didn't have as much of an opportunity to surprise us because we were sticking close together. There were a few but I won't name names, but there were some large dudes that were jumping around and screaming."
Fellow offensive lineman Chris Kemoeatu admitted to getting startled a few times by those who occupied the haunted house.
"I jumped a couple of times," said Kemoeatu. "I wasn't really scared, but I was surprised by some of the things. Back home we go to some small haunted houses, but nothing like this. I never went to one as big as this one."
After getting scared themselves, the players had the chance to turn the tables and spread out in the haunted house and scare those who toured. They were made up in some seriously scary face paint, put in costume and then made their way into some sneaky hiding spots throughout the house.
"I look scary already so it was not hard to go out there and scare some people," said Kemoeatu.
Hartwig got some hearts pumping while jumping out from behind a wall in a dark corridor, while Reed startled people as he "laid dead" in the graveyard, many thinking he wasn't a real person, and then jumped out at them.
"That's why I came," said Hartwig. "I wanted to scare the socks off somebody. We are pretty intimidating looking like we are, but with the makeup it was even worse."