published: Sunday, October 13, 2013
State park to get spooky for Halloween
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING -- Fright fans disappointed by the recent announcement that the Terror Trail had been canceled for this Halloween season can take heart -- officials at Highlands Hammock State Park have revealed plans for their inaugural foray into the macabre with the Haunted Hammock.
Andrea Nelson will be the Chief Spooky Ranger for the first-ever event, which is slated to run Oct. 25-26.
"We had been in the thought process of putting this on for several weeks and had even contacted the Humane Society to make sure we wouldn't conflict with them," Nelson said. "But they told us 'No, go ahead.'"
Since the announcement that the Terror Trail was canceled due to soggy conditions adjacent to the Humane Society location, Nelson said the pressure was on to provide "a really great event" for those who like to be frightened.
The main event will be staged in the picnic area, where there are pavilions generally rented out for family picnics. Instead, they will be converted to scary scenarios linked by paths for walkers participating in the evening. "We will have three different scenarios, one for each pavilion," she said. One will be set up as a living room, another as a kitchen and a third as a bedroom
Also offered at the Haunted Hammock will be "The Scary Tram Tour." Riders will be taken through the Hammock after dark, which is scary in and of itself Nelson said.
"It doesn't get much spookier than that. Plus, we will have some surprises set up along the way," she said.
The tram ride will be a different route than is generally run, with some detours and jogs. Nelson revealed it also will run at a much slower pace.
"We're going to go through some places where the forest is a bit more dense, places where cars cannot go," she said. "I am telling you, it is pitch dark out there."
For the younger set -- and those who want a bit more fun Halloween evening -- a "No Scare Kid Zone" will be offered. That will be set up in front of the CCC Museum and will involve carnival games with a liberal sprinkling of members from Toby's Clown Alley.
"We'll have some candy rewards for the games," said Nelson. "It will be kind of like game trick-or-treating."
A live DJ will provide music for the event, which also will serve as a sort of buffer between the scary and non-scary events of the evening.
While park rangers will be directing traffic and administrating the event, it actually is being staged by the Friends of Highlands Hammock State Park organization. The citizens' support group traditionally helps the park with a wide array of service and fundraising functions. The ghouls, goblins and other participants for this first ever event all will be volunteers.
"We have recruited some youngsters from the college and high schools and people from other areas to help us put this on," Nelson said. "Without the volunteers and our citizens support group, this event would not be possible. In fact, without them a lot of things we do would not be possible."
The event will be from 6-10 p.m. both evenings. Cost will be $5 for those ages 13 and up, youngsters 6-12 will be $2 with those 5 and under getting in free. All proceeds will go back to the Friends of Highlands Hammock.
Call Nelson at the park at 386-6094.
Dayscare Drama (by: Blindman~ - 10/13/2013)
Why did the little ghost start crying at the dayscare center? Because she wanted her mummy~
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