Halloween is always a big event for my family. We love dressing up and scaring kid, teens, and parents. Normally we'd be headed out of town to create a Haunted Halloween trail through the woods at Airyn's mother's place. It's sooo much fun. We've been hosting this haunted trail for about 8 years now. It's was originally set up between the boy scouts and Airyn's mom for some safe holiday fun for young kids. Now it has grown to the point that high schoolers are showing up to be scared.
It's a big fun weekend. We carve a path through the woods, hollow out sections of underbrush and create scenes, usually we have a base theme for the year. Last year was Children of the corn, so we had corn stalks, a "living" scare crow, there was a request for Dracula to make a come back. So we set up our coffin and had a vampire. Then there was an orphanage area with some young girls playing dead, but moving as people walked by. And Wolf's smashing hit from the previous year, the Spider lair featuring small spiders (young kids dressed in black, with spiders painted on their faces). We added some sudden sound and motion shockers. A body dressing in jeans, flannel, and a ski mask (made of wood logs, and pvc pipes) let lose to Wolf's high pitched blood curdling scream to bang and rattle the chains on a very study gate right beside the walk path.
It was a huge success, The Trail in open Friday and Saturday night for about 3ish hours depending on the length of the line. The second night we saw a lot of the same people coming through from the previous night, and even more making more then one walk through. It's always good when you can scare the older participants. We know they come to the trail to be scared, so when you get that terrified reaction of the older teens hurrying down the path away from you, it is very gratifying. We have had pants soiled, and friends (who know everyone on the trail) get surprised and stumble back off the trail. One year we even had a hayride for the young characters, and the boy scouts. where we had someone throw up. She came back the next year for more scares, and to be a character on the trail again. No one has been traumatised, they all come to be scared because they know it's safe, no one will hurt them, touch them or even get very close. The fear is all in their imagination. We purposefully use natural lighting, tiki torchs, candles, and Jack-o-lanterns so the lights is soft and flikering. And the jack-o-lanterns are anything but friendly looking.
We often set up carnivorous pumpkins, where large pumpkins are eatting smaller ones. and a giant pumpkin king who appears to have torn several large pumpkins apart. then we have the parting pumpkins. With a toxic glowing one (we use opened glow sticks and poor the goop on/in the pumpkin) with warts, I take a ghost pumpkin and turn him into a vomiting pumpkin where multi colored pumpkin guts are spewing out of it's nose and mouse spaces and appear to have hit another pumpkin who has a shocked look on it's pumpkin face. There are several pumpkin scene along the trail, we like to spread them out so that they can be appreciated.
Personally I think the younger characters get more scars then us adults. With the crowd being predominatly elementary, and middle school age, those kids seem more scared of creature in there size then of adult sized monsters. One year we had a great unexpected extra scare for a couple groups walking down the trail for the first time. We had a family with several young kids, when the kids are really young we get informed so that we can tone things down a bit, but this one family had one kid who was really scared any way, and was crying and saying he just wanted to go home really loudly. Was great to see the next group of kids looking at this youngone worriedly. Made me think we should set something like that up purposely for next time.
This year we have decided we all want a break. setting up, designing, and creating the areas and costume is very tiring. It's a lot of hard physical work. So this year Airyn's mom is visiting us and we are gonna party out in the city. Friday night we'll be have smore crafted in a friend's fireplace, drinks, home made pizza, and a fun board game (Small World). Loud music, and goofying drunken dancing, and did I mention DRINKING. Saturday we'll be meeting up with some friends at a gay friendly block party. Sadly my group will contain mostly straight people. Sunday will be a recovery day at home with hot tea, coffee, and a warm breakfast. But there is sooo much to do, I'm not sure I'll have time to sit down till Sunday. It'll be a blast.