“Old Salt River Haunted Forest” set to Thrill Community with Scares

The creeps and ghouls will be back again this year to scare local residents as a part of the Old River Haunted Forest’s three day event.

The Haunted Forest began four years ago as an idea Mark Wilcox had for a Halloween-themed community event. He originally approached the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival committee about using one of the pavilions in Salt River Park, but the committee suggested that he use the woods behind the park.

Mark cleared out the woods, and recruited performers for what was the first annual Salt River Haunted Forest. Admission was free.

Today, the Haunted Forest is made up of several scary stations, and is put on by twenty-two volunteers, some of whom design their own costumes and makeup.

Karl Geiger, another organizer and volunteer, described what makes a walk through the Haunted Trail different from other venues. “The forest is a different type of scare than what a haunted house is. Here in the forest, you see the scare coming, but you just don’t know when it will be. In a haunted house, behind every blind corner you know something is going to jump out. Here [in the Haunted Trail] you can see this is a station, and then you know that something is going to happen. It takes a lot of creativity to heighten the scare and make it exciting for the people.” Karl said that the performers will “feed” off of visitors’ reaction to a scare. “If [the actors] get a good scare out of somebody, they are going to follow that person a little bit through the trail.”

Tours through the haunted forest will be available from Thursday, October 22nd until Saturday, October 24. Thursday’s scares will be toned down for families and run from 6 to 8 p.m., and cost $1 per person or $5 per family. On Friday and Saturday, the Old Salt River Haunted Forest will be open from 7 to 10 p.m., will cost $3 per person and $10 for groups of 5 or less, and will be geared for visitors 13 years old or older. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

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