Teen serves up scares at Lehman Manor haunted house


Photo by Kary Hernandez

The Colossus animatronic at Lehman Manor was a favorite among guests.

By Kary Hernandez, Reporter

St. Charles East High School student and YouTuber Miles McCabe, also known as Brick Thunder, recently created Lehman Manor, a haunted house at his (parents’) home at 2760 Lehman Drive in West Chicago.

Lehman Manor, which was open to more than 3,500 members of the public this past weekend, included a variety of actors and scares.

Two versions of the haunted house were offered: a no-scare, and a full-scare. (Photo by Kary Hernandez)

On his YouTube channel, McCabe showed viewers his home’s progress, offering a behind-the-scenes vlog about his haunted house and others. McCabe offered two options for viewing the haunted house, which included more than 100+ animatronics:  a “no scare” and a “full scare” experience. Admission was free to the public.

While parking was limited at the event, the wait to get inside the home was minimal. A hostess greeted guests, who started their tour of Lehman Manor in the garage. The hostess provided thrill-seekers with instructions as to where to go in the house, and advised them as to the parts of the home where they would experience dark and foggy conditions. She described the house as a maze.

“The garage portion had the best scares and we got some great footage of the scares this year. We also keep the more professional props near or in the garage, also making it my favorite,” said McCabe via email.

Guests were indeed confused about where to turn once inside the nearly pitch-black garage, but upon finding a small door, they were led down a hallway, past frightening animatronics and a number of Halloween-esque decorations, including a science lab helmed by Dr. Frankenstein, and what appeared to be a Walking Dead recreation.

The tour did not end inside the house: guests were directed to the backyard, which was filled with numerous clown animatronics. In fact, McCabe’s haunted house featured more than 100 different animatronics, each of which cost between $300-400.

“The larger items, like Colossus, is $14,000. Lighting was sponsored this year. Other costs vary per year,” said McCabe, referring to the massive animatronic positioned at the front of the house.

Both the interior and exterior of the house were decorated for Halloween. (Photo by Kary Hernandez)

“Colossus was my favorite part from the haunted house,” said Chandler Jefferies, a junior from St. Charles North.

Many of McCabe’s props were obtained from stores such as Spirit Halloween, Home Depot and Lowe’s, but also Distortions Unlimited, a Colorado-based company that offers larger creations. He obtained his first animatronic in 2014.

“I was fascinated in how it worked and the reaction it got from people who came trick or treating. Each year, I would add one or two props, and it went crazy from there,” said McCabe.

For McCabe, planning the haunted house is a yearlong process that involves attention to location, safety and budget. Friends and family volunteer as actors to add to the frights. McCabe’s parents are fully supportive of their teen’s passion for Halloween and enjoy participating in the process.

“People tend to want to volunteer as it’s a lot of fun for everyone involved. This year we had auditions and everyone who auditioned wanted a role and got one,” said McCabe.

“It was very well put together,” said Jefferies.

According to Lehman Manor’s Facebook page, planning has already begun for Halloween 2023.

“I enjoy seeing people’s reactions. Everybody seems to really enjoy themselves and the crowd is growing each year. We hear a lot of screams and a lot of laughter. People have a great time and I like that,” said McCabe.