by Dan Holland
For its final night of the season on Halloween, Bloodview Haunted House, which normally hosts a myriad of shrieks and scares, hosted a marriage proposal in the midst of the Towpath Road attraction.
The prospective groom arranged the Oct. 29 encounter weeks prior with Steve Gwiazda, director of the venue.
“He called and asked if we would help him out with a marriage proposal onsite, and I agreed to it,” Gwiazda said. “It’s another niche item for us to help put Bloodview on the map. … He came out a couple of times and we walked through what he wanted to do and how we would do it.”
Logan Schildhouse of Olmsted Falls arranged with Gwiazda to do a “quick switch” with a cast character upon entering the “Hell Room,” where he would slip back into a cast corridor and quickly change into a hoodie. The hoodie read, “Will You Marry Me?” on the front, and Schildhouse also had a quick splattering of fake blood applied to his face.
As part of the plan, Schildhouse would then be reinserted into the scene just ahead of his prospective fiance through a cast door and make the proposal.
Schildhouses’s now fiancé, Kaitlyn Barge, is a big fan of haunted houses and horror movies, but he is not.
“I let them know that this isn’t something that’s characteristic of something I would do – I’m a scaredy cat,” said Schildhouse. “But she loves all of this stuff. She loves haunted houses and the gore. So, I wanted to do something that would be special for her that she would never forget and be on a level that she deserves.”
Not only was Barge taken completely by surprise by the encounter, but she also became a bit panicked when the “switch” occurred.
“We were going through and it was actually kind of nightmarish. I had no idea where I was going, and I called to Logan, and he suddenly wasn’t there,” said Barge. “I was almost in tears. I was about to have a moment.”
“When I walked around the corner, I suddenly saw cameras and a news crew, and I had no idea what was happening,” she continued. “I didn’t realize that Logan was sitting in a chair in the scene, and he suddenly fell at my feet. Then he popped up on one knee in front of me with a ring and proposed.”
Barge, who is an ER/trauma nurse, and Schildhouse, who works for a Cleveland brewery/restaurant, met several years ago through a mutual friend but lost track of each other after she moved out west for a short period of time. The pair reunited last year via social media in part due to each’s love of outdoor winter sports.
The rest, the couple said, is history.
“All day today, he kept pushing for us to go to Bloodview Haunted House, and he never wants to do anything like this,” Barge laughed. “He told me he had won two tickets through his work. He kept it a complete surprise.”
Thankfully, Schildhouse said, “It couldn’t have worked out any better than it did.”
In the days following, not only was the couple’s engagement featured on local news stations, it also fell into the national spotlight on CNN news.
The Bloodview Haunted House is owned and operated by the Broadview Heights Lions Club. ∞
Photo (above): Kaitlyn Barge accepted Logan Schildhouse’s proposal and shows off her sapphire engagement ring.