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OH, THE HORROR

October 4, 2012 12:10 am

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Something wicked this way comes at Wicked Woods in Spotsylvania. Forget cable; we've got our own horror story here.

BY JESSE SCOTT

BY JESSE SCOTT

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

If you've opted out of Halloween festivities in years past, now is the time to get with it.

Halloween is a time to let go of reality, let your hair down and have a legitimate reason to scare that neighbor who always plays his music too loud.

The frightful yet playful holiday can serve as wonderful motivation for the entire family to celebrate, together, for days and weeks on end. Think of it as the birthday month you've always wanted or the Christmas that spanned the course of weeks.

Halloween is what you make it. So, get moving and get in on the action!

Fortunately for families in the Fredericksburg area, there is plenty to do this Halloween season.

From scary forests to horror-themed roller coasters, you're bound to get your spook on without having to travel a frightful distance.

Here are four options to celebrate Halloween the right way this October:

HAUNTED HILL

Haunted Hill, in Partlow, has grown into quite the spine-tingling attraction over the years. It's so scary, in fact, that there is a disclaimer on its website.

The Haunted Hill experience is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m. throughout October and will close on Sunday, Oct. 28. Haunted Hill will also host select Kids Days during daylight hours to accommodate the younger demographic.

Nearly 10 years ago, the idea of Haunted Hill grew out of the basement of Spotsylvania resident Allison Mastin. The Partlow resident used to host a haunted house in her basement for her children and their friends. The basement became too crowded, so Mastin moved the haunted house to the family's expansive barn.

After jam-packing the barn nearly six years ago, Mastin decided to expand Haunted Hill to nearly 100 acres down the road and open it to the public. Ever since, it has been an absolute hit, attracting upwards of 350 visitors per night.

Haunted Hill features a hay wagon ride and a terrifying, mile-long trail that boasts tunnels, mazes and nearly 40 gruesome-looking actors that always pop out at just the right time to scare you senseless.

"Our trail is definitely not recommended for children under 12," said Mastin. "This isn't Fun-Land. We are here to scare you."

WICKED WOODS

Sticking with the creepy woods theme, there is another utopia of fright in Spotsylvania County. Wicked Woods is its name and scaring you senseless is its game.

Wicked Woods is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays in October from 7 to 10 p.m. The grounds will also be open on Sunday, Oct. 28.

The wooded property boasts three unique attractions, including two haunted houses (Murder Manor and Insanitarium Asylum) and the Haunted Forest.

According to the event's organizers, the Haunted Forest is just like walking through your worst nightmare.

"It's a very thorough production," said Erik Sayenga, owner of Wicked Woods. "We work on it all year long and it's like we walk you through a horror movie set. We take you out of the real world and into a haunt that you can't buy at the Halloween store."

Wicked Woods also prides itself on its intricate costumes and genuine scares.

"We make our own masks, our own clothes and everything down to our own fake weapons," said Sayenga. "We try to give everything our own unique twist so we can really scare our visitors."

HALLOWEEN HAUNT AT KINGS DOMINION

Just when you thought roller coasters were scary enough, Kings Dominion added another layer to the fright.

The Doswell theme park kicked off its Halloween Haunt on Sept. 28 and will be scaring parkgoers for a month strong. Halloween Haunt is included with park admission and is about more than just an occasional black light or fog machine.

The festivities include 10 terrifying mazes, six "scare zones" designed purely to frighten anyone who dares to walk through and six Halloween-themed shows.

"Halloween Haunt is all about transforming the park into a spooky Halloween extravaganza," said Gene Petriello, communications manager for Kings Dominion. "We don't really give a recommended age range, but a 4-year-old would probably be scared out of their mind."

For the younger crowd, Kings Dominion does offer Howl-O-Fest on Saturdays and Sundays in October from noon to 5 p.m. The festivities include pumpkin painting, treasure hunts and a foam pit.

So, if you're looking for a family-friendly environment and a scream that doesn't end at the coaster, it looks like Kings Dominion is the place to be.

FREDERICKSBURG JAYCEES HAUNTED HOUSE

Lordy, lordy the Jaycees' haunted house is almost 40!

The Jaycees have been providing screams for a good cause for years. This year's Seven Gates of Hell haunted house is no exception.

Located in an eerily transformed suite in the heart of Central Park, the Jaycees' experience is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays in October, starting at 7 p.m. The house was built by volunteers who worked together for three months to create a scary spectacle.

"This year's house has a maze layout where people find themselves walking into dead ends," said Jennifer Yager, chapter president of the Fredericksburg Jaycees. "They have to find their way through the house and ultimately find their way out of hell."

The space features dark areas, closed spaces, an overwhelming amount of fright-inducing confusion, and the occasional person jumping out at you.

For 10 bucks, you'll definitely get your money's worth in excitement.

"We're one of the cheapest and scariest haunted houses around," said Yager. "We're also a community organization everything we do goes back to the community so we can do more fun things in the future."

Jesse Scott is a freelance writer and Fredericksburg native. Email him at
Email: jesserobertscott@gmail.com.




What: Haunted Hill Where: 10400 Edenton Road, Partlow When: Fridays and Saturday in October, 7 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 28, 7 to 10 p.m.; Kids Day, Saturday, Oct. 20 and 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 21 and 28, 1 to 5 p.m. Cost: $18; $5 per person for Kids Day; $2 off admission for military Info: 540/582-9536; thehauntedhill.com What: Wicked Woods Where: 6220 Massey Road, Spotsylvania When: Fridays and Saturdays in October, 7 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 28, 7 to 10 p.m. Cost: Haunted Forest, $15; Murder Manor, $7; Insanitarium Asylum, $7; Combo Pass (all three attractions), $25 Info: 540/895-5786; wicked-woods.com What: The 38th Annual Fredericksburg Jaycees Haunted House Where: 1380 Central Park Blvd. When: Fridays and Saturdays in October, starting Oct. 12; doors open at 7:30 p.m. Cost: $10 Info: 540/371-6005; jayceehauntedhouse .eventbrite.com What: Halloween Haunt 2012 Where: Kings Dominion, 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell When: Select dates in October Cost: Free with park admission Info: 804/876-5000; kingsdominion.com




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