EWING, Va. — Wilderness Road State Park will host the annual Halloween special event, Pumpkins in the Park, on Friday and Saturday.
Highlighted by the wildly popular Haunted Trail Hayride, this year’s event will again feature children’s activities, contests and the community based trunk-or-treat. Admission is just $5 per vehicle each night.
The Haunted Trail Hayride is a 30-minute, spine-tingling journey along a wooded trail that features spooky scenes, amazing props and scares behind just about every tree. Despite the success of the Haunted Trail Hayride in previous years, the headlining event has once again undergone a significant upgrade.
“We listened to our guests, so we are turning it up a notch when it comes to the Haunted Hayride. The guests wanted scarier, well they are getting scarier,” said Mike Brindle, the event’s coordinator. “We’ve added more scenes (now about 18-20 in total), new lighting effects to illuminate the scenes better and creepy sounds to bring each scene more to life. We have put a strong emphasis on an in-your-face approach which will better immerse the riders into each scene. There will be much more interaction between the riders and the ‘monsters’ on the trail.”
Brindle added that oftentimes, the scenes will extend out onto the trail, and even around the wagon the riders are on. “We want the riders to get up close and personal with our ‘monsters’,” he explained.
The always popular Wet Willie the Pirate returns to entertain the crowd as they wait to board the hayride. You can bet Wet Willie will have some stories to tell, including one about the haunted land that riders will face along their hayride journey.
The children’s portion of the event will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Karlan Mansion.
“We altered the time for the children’s activities last year, and it seemed to be a popular move,” explained Brindle.
Children’s activities include: pumpkin painting, face painting, costume contests, the community based trunk-or-treat and more.
To help meet the demand of costume-clad candy seeking children, the park is encouraging area churches, businesses, organizations and families to come out and participate in order to make the trunk-or-treat a community event.
“It’s the support from the community that truly makes this event a success,” explains Brindle. “It’s the community that helps to assure the children have a fun and safe Halloween experience. It’s the trunkers that make this a true community event. ”
Those participating in the trunk-or-treat park on the Karlan Mansion lawn to distribute candy from the trunks of their vehicle. Each trunker is encouraged, but not required, to dress up, decorate their vehicle and create signs recognizing their church, group, business or family.
As an added incentive this year, the park will award a prize to the best overall display by a trunker.
Those wishing to participate in the costume contests should meet at the stage area at the Karlan Mansion by 6 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the costume contests in three categories, ages infant-3 years, ages 4-7 and ages 8-12. The winner of each contest will receive a $25 Walmart gift card.
Refreshments will be available both nights, with the park’s Friends of Wilderness Road State Park support group also offering up popcorn, bottled water, soft drinks and the always popular Pumpkins in the Park t-shirt.
Some of the classic Halloween scenes on the haunted trail will return but, of course, will have a new added twist or two. The Wilderness Witches continue to haunt the trail, while the Grim Reaper is desperately searching for new residents for the Karlan Cemetery.
Also, rumor has it two popular characters from years past will return.
“A lot of our guests have asked us to bring back two characters (scenes) in particular,” Brindle stated. “Riders this year may very well get their wish.”
The park is striving to make this year’s event the best yet, with the focus to remain on providing a fun and safe Halloween experience.
This event is sponsored by Friends of Wilderness Road State Park. For more information, or to find out how your church, group, business or family can help make this event a success, please call the park at 276-445-3065, via email: email@example.com or by visiting the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park’s website: www.friendsofwildernessroad.org.