My son and I showed up at a library expecting one of those book sales. Oops! Somehow, I got the wrong date persisted in my iphone calendar. Sadly, there was no book sale. We were off by a week. However, the trip proved worthwhile. I came across a curious poster for some sort of trail of terror through the woods. I decided that my son and I would visit this trail of terror after I finished up teaching Sunday School at our Unitarian Church. What I did not realize at the time was that this was a very special, annual event was sponsored by a camp that provides special programming to individuals with autism and other special needs.

When we showed up, it was a dull and dreary day. The weather and out of the way location of the event likely contributed to it being likely populated. I didn’t expect much. However, I was eager to figure out just where it was we had driven to. Almost immediately, it was obvious that this was some sort of working campground right in the middle of a small town. I thought it a bit strange, but my son loved it. There was a pool, playground and other outdoor recreational accoutrements appropriate for camping.

Camp Playground

Camp Playground

As per normal, I had to tear my son away from the playground so that we could explore the actual event itself. As one might expect, we discovered more of those carnival games that colored our whole Halloween season.

The games were quaint and fun. However, the real fun at the event was the haunted cabins. Apparently, camp staff had cleaned out all of the cabins and re-purposed them for the event. Each cabin that we entered had a different theme. One cabin was set aside for face painting and tattoos. A few cabins had themes suitable for small kids. The first batch of cabins had Candy Land, Willy Wonka and Rain Forest themes. The Candy Land and Willy Wonka cabins consisted of teens stationed around the interior of the cabins. Each teen had a game on offer and willing children were treated with candy for playing along. The Rain Forest cabin had one teen leading children through an array of rain forest scenery all the while prompting children to locate certain animals. The next grouping of cabins had more scary fare. The Dark Woods Circus cabin had an entire circus rammed into its small space. Side show acts, fortune tellers, trapeze artists, sword swallowers and so forth all piled inside with creepy effect. A Haunted Toy box had a myriad dolls and stuffed animals hung from the ceiling. Monsterous little kids circulated around the dark spaces of this cabin. A mad scientist’s lab and fortune teller hut rounded out the ring of cabins comprising the event.

Finally, we made our way to the Haunted Trail advertised in the library. The trail was quite fun. It was a real trail leading into woods behind the special needs camp. Local high school students decorated the woods surround the trail with old school furniture to create the illusion of a defunct school that had been bulldozed over and almost all but vanished. There was accompanying story to go with the spectacle and our trail guide–an undead school jock–made sure to reveal the sad and spooky tale bit by bit as we made our way deeper into the woods. Along the way, other undead school denizens like cheerleaders and gym teachers were sure to jump out at us and liven things up, so to speak.

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