The usual tranquil wooded area of Cool Creek Parks’ will turn into a horror scene complete with zombies and chainsaw welding masked men for the annual Halloween-themed Haunted Trails Oct. 28 through 30.
Haunted Trails features guided group tours through several different ghoul- and ghost-themed fright stations along the park’s trails and paths for thrill seekers older than 12.
“It takes an army of parks staff and volunteers to stage this thing. Everybody loves the number of hours they put into this thing,” said Don Nicholls, resource development specialist with Hamilton County Parks and Recreation.
Nicholls said the event is one of department’s best fundraisers as many fright stations are manned by high school students.
“Band students, key clubs and thespians can earn as much as $2,000 for their organizations,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for youth groups.”
Nicholls said this year’s event will include 13 to 15 fright stations. He said staff members keep an eye on groups on the trails, especially those that seem to know it all.
“Teens that can’t be impressed, those are the ones we target. We know we’ve done our job when we quiet down those groups,” Nicholls said.
Northern Lights will provide stage entertainment, music for guests stand in line, hay rides, a camp fire and storytelling.
For younger children, Nicholls said a Trick or Treat Trail is available from 6 to 9 p.m. He said the area is now committed to children and away from the Haunted Trails.
“It’s a fright-free zone,” Nicholls said. “In the past, we had a place that the Haunted Trail dumped out to. It didn’t seem right to children being there.”
The Trick or Treat Trail activities include craft stations, a Not-so-scary Nature Trail, Spook-tacular shelter, live owls with a wildlife educator, Monster Mash dance area and marshmallows at the campfire ring. Cost is $1 and is designed for preschool and elementary-aged school children and their families.
“There are lots of fun, different activities at multiple stations,” Nicholls said.
The Haunted Trails • 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 28 through 30 • Cool Creek Park, 2000 E. 151st St., Westfield • Cost is $5 • www.myhamiltoncountyparks.com.