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Haunted Trail coming to scare you

Walking in the woods in the dark at the Northland Arboretum, with no flashlights, is expected to be a frightful time. The annual Haunted Trail is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Cost is $5 per person to walk the trail that winds arou...

DeAnn Caddy looks through some decorative Halloween pumpkins at the Northland Arboretum in order to get ready for the Haunted Trail. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)
DeAnn Caddy looks through some decorative Halloween pumpkins at the Northland Arboretum in order to get ready for the Haunted Trail. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

Walking in the woods in the dark at the Northland Arboretum, with no flashlights, is expected to be a frightful time.

The annual Haunted Trail is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Cost is $5 per person to walk the trail that winds around the arboretum. All proceeds go to the arboretum and canned goods will be accepted for the local food shelf.

But beware, flashlights cannot be used and young children should be accompanied by an adult because the students involved in putting the Haunted Trail together plan to be along the trail scaring people who walk by.

Each year, students on the Forestview Youth Advisory Council work on getting the haunted trail ready with help from volunteers and service groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Brainerd High School Key Club and adult volunteers in the community, including several who work at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center.

Lisa Stawarski, the FYAC adviser, said there are about 18 FYAC students working on the Haunted Trail and hundreds of other volunteers, who help each year. Everyone has a role in scaring people who come through the Haunted Trail.

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There are less students involved in FYAC this year, but Stawarski said there are so many volunteers that it will be another great year.

"This could never happen if it wasn't for all the community volunteers and service groups who help out," she said. "It's pretty cool to see the young and old work together and they have so much fun doing it."

Stawarski said there is a theme each year for the Haunted Trail, but it is never revealed.

The mission for the advisory council is to have fun and to work together on a plan for the trail, while working with people of all ages and generations. The students learn patience, teamwork, planning, organizing and also find out what works and what doesn't, said Stawarski.

Stawarski said the whole idea behind the Haunted Trail is for the students to have fun and feel connected. She said it is a great program for a large group of youth to be involved in, especially if they enjoy theater.

Seventh-grader Isabel Bundy has been a member of FYAC since fifth grade and has volunteered with the Haunted Trail. Isabel said she enjoys dressing up and scaring people at the Haunted Trail.

"Some of the people cry, some of them are unfazed and most of them scream," she said. "I like to work the Haunted Trail because I like to see people's reaction. Sometimes you have to back off if you scare them too much."

Eighth-grader Trey Pike has been involved with FYAC for 3 years, working on the Haunted Trail. Trey enjoys working with the Haunted Trail "because it's different from all the other volunteering activities the group participates with. I think the Haunted Trail is really cool. The volunteers set it up to look really scary, and everyone gets to offer their own ideas."

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Trey also likes to scare people who go by.

"It's really funny listening to teenage girls scream and having teenage guys hide behind their girlfriends," Trey said.

Brainerd High School junior Ava Figliuzzi, who is involved in Key Club, has worked on the Haunted Trail for two years. Figliuzzi said before she started working on the trail, she was a spectator and she would be the one who got scared.

Now she is excited to be the one to scare the people who dare to walk the trail.

"It will be really fun to get dressed up for the Haunted Trail," said Figliuzzi. "The Haunted Trail is always really fun. It's a lot more work than I thought it was."

Figliuzzi said it is nice to see all the volunteers who help make the Haunted Trail a success. Figliuzzi said her classmate Camryn Schmidt, and the Key Club adviser, Wendy Vandeputte have also been helpful.

Michelle Burris, who helped start the Haunted Trail 12 years ago, said there is always something new at the Haunted Trail, as the theme is different every year. She said all the volunteers and students come up with their own "haunts and scares" to make the event fun.

"People will have just have to come and experience it for themselves for the excitement of it," Burris said. "I am looking forward to a really good trail this year. All the groups are excited and have great ideas that are fun and different from years past. People will not be disappointed."

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JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.

Related Topics: FORESTVIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL
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