Friday, October 30, 2009

Haunted Woods

When our house changed hands in the late 70's, the family knocked down the old greenhouses to the north and partitioned the several acres of land into lots. A cul-de-sac was put in and houses built on those lots. They intentionally made the lots large, some almost an acre in size. Some of those lots have been partitioned again, but two houses on cul-de-sac still have large lot sizes. One is .44 acres and the other is .87 acres. Both lots are heavily wooded and they have no backyard neighbors. The land behind them is owned by the factory and is used as a maintenance road. It is essentially junk industrial land that no one uses. It's unfortunate as it runs alongside the river and could have been prime residential land instead of worthless, unused industrial land.

For the last 12 years these two families have hosted Haunted Woods on their land. Every two years the venue changes from one back yard to the other. This gives time for the woods to recover from the abuse they receive. The families create a maze-like path in the woods and decorate it with a seemingly limitless supply of cobwebs, animated spooks and props. They have landmarks like the "Wall of Severed Heads" and the "Tunnel of Terror." There are three tours that they offer. The first is early in the evening, while it is still light out and there are no live spooks. The second has spooks, but if the tour guide has a red light, the live spooks are put to sleep. The third is the full on, no holds barred, live spooks tour. The live spooks are mostly neighborhood kids dressed up in costumes who jump out you and try to scare you into wetting yourself.

The families have a suggested donation of $1 a kid and $2 per adult. They take any profit from the event and donate it to a local charity. It runs every weekend in October and then for a few days leading up to Halloween.

We took the girls to the no spooks tour one evening before supper and Ms. Huis and I went on the full tour a few nights later. It's amazing how jumpy we were even knowing that we were safe. It's a great neighborhood activity that helps pull everyone together. We haven't had much to do with it yet, but I can see that changing as the girls get older.

Oh, and for the record Mouse, LIV.

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