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Dr. Slaughter’s closing after two decades

Business & Money

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IDAHO FALLS — After 18 years of screams and scares, the staff at Dr. Slaughter’s House of Terror is saying goodbye.

“The staff and myself are retiring and we don’t know yet what the D.A.R.E. board is going to do,” founder Darrell Wagner tells

Wagner is the creative mastermind behind the attraction and said profits from Dr. Slaughter’s go to the Idaho Falls D.A.R.E. project. In an October story, he said they’ve raised over $1.7 million dollars for the drug and alcohol prevention program. The program covers school districts in the Idaho Falls and Swan Valley areas.

Although Wagner gave ownership to the Bonneville County/Idaho Falls D.A.R.E. board, he and over 20 staff members have run the operation. Wagner said each year they have almost 100 volunteers and an additional 20 dancers from the Living Dead Dance Team.

“It’s sad in a way but you’ve got to figure 18 years — that’s almost somebody’s career,” Wagner said.

Wagner started Dr. Slaughter’s in his basement in 2000 while hosting a birthday for his niece. He decided to open the attraction to the neighborhood.

His brother was on the D.A.R.E. board at the time and Wagner wanted to give back. Eventually, it became a staple for D.A.R.E. fundraising efforts and is now the haunted venue that’s been on 1st Street for years.

Wagner said his crew is hosting one last weekend on April 13 and 14 for $10 per person.

“My main objective is to make a few extra dollars for D.A.R.E. before I leave, and also to thank the community for all their years of support,” Wagner said.

He said he’ll miss the dedicated Dr. Slaughter’s family most of all.

“The kids will make me cry they always do,” Wagners said.

Wagner said he recommends all of the haunted houses in eastern Idaho for a good scare and, now that he’s retired, he may even visit some himself.

“Go to each one. Go to Virginia theater in Shelley, go to the mill up in Teton,” Wagner said. “They’re all cool enough to go to once. Go out and have fun.”