Every year, the Castle, run by the Fortune Society opens it's doors to thousands of trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood and hosts a free haunted house. The Castle is a supportive housing institution that houses 60 formerly incarcerated men and women at different stages in their re-entry process. Initially, the community was reluctant to welcome the Castle into the neighborhood, fearing the safety of the community but over the years, the Fortune Society's work has shown the Castle's neighbors that with adequate support, stable housing and a community these people make great neighbors.
Now, parents from all over New York City bring or send their kids to the Castle on Halloween. Not only is this event valued by parents and children in the neighborhood, residents of the Castle also get great joy and fulfillment from hosting this event. Several of the Castle's residents say that the haunted house is a way that they can give back to their neighborhood that gives them a sense of security and acceptance in their re-entry process. A feeling that is few and far between for a population that is too often defined and vilified by the events that led to their incarceration for and not for who and what they have overc0me as people.
See the story on Buzzfeed news here.