TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A local haunted house built entirely by a college student that has operated for the past few years, that also benefits charity, is entering its final year.

Andrew Long, a junior at the University of Florida and a budding architect, started “Haunt for HEP” in 2017. “HEP” stands for the Homeless Empowerment Program of Clearwater, which donations from the haunted house benefit every year.

Andrew Long and his family started their front yard display years ago with a few Dollar Store tombstones.

It’s grown to lights, a mausoleum, church props, working animatronics and more.

“Everything you see in our display was designed and hand-made by Andrew over the last seven years. We only use store bought items for accents, lighting and sound,” said Andrew’s father, Michael Long. “It started with a simple graveyard and some cheap props which today has grown into one of the largest residential haunts in Florida.”

Andrew decided in 2018 to use everything he had built to raise money to benefit HEP, an organization he had volunteered with previously.

“Andrew played baseball for years and was very successful, but his junior year in high school, he decided to start doing set design with the East Lake High School theater program and working on Haunt for HEP full time,” Michael said. “These activities made up the bulk of his portfolio for his submissions to universities.”

Haunt for HEP has around 10 scare actors each night from the theater program who will be playing various roles throughout the haunt.

“[They] really bring our display to life. We are proud that through our partnership with HEP we are able to provide Florida Bright Futures hours to all our volunteers,” Michael said.

In 2020, Haunt for HEP received two awards from the Halloween Yard Haunts and Props group. Michael explained the group runs a contest every year for residential haunts in the US. His son’s haunt won awards for Best Walkthrough Display and Best Pneumatic Prop for their “Swinging Torso.”

Andrew creates and posts “how to” videos while he is making the haunt’s big props. His dad said to date, several of the videos have received 10s of thousands of views, and the family is receiving photos from people across the country, showing them how they’re using the videos to build their own props.

To date, Haunt for HEP has raised over $22,000 solely through donations online and in-person at the haunt. One hundred percent of what they raise goes to the Homeless Empowerment Program.

The goal this year is to have raised $30,000 in donations by the end of the event, so the Longs are asking everyone to come out and enjoy the display.

You can visit Andrew Long’s Haunt for HEP on Oct. 29 and Halloween from 6:30-10 p.m. and Oct. 30 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

The haunt is located at 3425 Brian Rd S, Palm Harbor.