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Dubuque family turns home into haunted house, raises money for charity

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) — A family turned their home on Burden St. in Dubuque into a haunted house 15 years ago, now they use it to raise money for charities in the community.

The Salwolke family started their halloween display traditions in Dubuque 15 years ago and over the years it has grown in popularity bringing in about 1,800 visitors on just Halloween night alone.

The haunted house has not only grown in popularity, but it has also grown in size over the years. Cathy Salwolke says she and her husband Ross add new, spooky elements to their display every year.

Salwolke says they started they built the haunted house in honor of her late grandmother who loved the haunted holiday.

“She loved the holiday and loved the children in their costumes and everything and so she sent my uncle home to give out candy while she was on her death bed so the kids wouldn’t be disappointing,” she explains. “So we did a little display for her in her honor.”

As the haunted houses popularity grew, the Salwolke family decided to make it about more than just Halloween, they turned it into an opportunity to fundraise for community charities.

“Because we get so many people we thought it’s got to be done for the community, so we started with the Dubuque Food Pantry which we’ve done for I think 14 years now and every year we choose a second one because people bring money.”

The haunted house is free to walk through, but if visitors do bring money it is donated do the Dubuque Veteran’s Freedom Center. They are also collecting canned goods to donate to the Dubuque Food Pantry.

All ages are welcome to walk through the haunted house, but Salwolke warns they dress up in spooky costumes and scare visitors on Halloween night. She encourages younger kids to come during the day to see the haunted house when it is not so spooky.

The haunted house is at 2750 Burden St.

Cori Hanna

Today in Iowa reporter

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