CLOVER — The Clover Jaycees are treating children and adults with their own hauntingly ghoulish Halloween — complete with graveyard mist, creepy creatures and, of course, lots of screams.
The Jaycees will open its annual haunted trail Friday, an annual fundraising project for the past 20 years that raises money for its Christmas charities. The trail in a wooded area at the rear of Westgate Industrial Park features everything a fright-seeking fan could want for Halloween: zombies, chain saw roars and cannon booms, a creepy clown room and even a maze.
“I think this year, this is going to be one of the scariest years yet,” said Clint Armstrong, co-chairman of the project with Seth Dixon. “It’s all original this year.”
Armstrong said children who may prefer a slightly more toned-down trip through the haunted trail can visit from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. nightly — when volunteers will provide a more child-friendly version.
Scott Moses, who has been chairman of the haunted trail for many years, said volunteers have been busy setting up the trail with black plastic tarp, bamboo poles and other items for the past month.
When the fright opens Friday, some 40 to 50 costumed Jaycees members and others will do their best to scare up some fun for their thrill-seeking visitors. Moses said the trail has been a popular attraction for all ages.
“A lot of people,” said volunteer Lesa Jenkins, “come back for seconds.”
Armstrong said the maze, a new feature this year, promises to be especially challenging. There are three entrances into the myriad of narrow, winding passages, he said — but there’s only one way out.
He said the trail will probably take about 20 minutes to complete — unless you get lost in the maze.
Jenkins and others said proceeds from the maze will benefit the group’s big community Christmas project, called Santa’s Sleigh, and its distribution of holiday meals to seniors.
The group provided Christmas gifts last year to about 600 needy Clover-area children who otherwise would not have received any, she said. They also provided canned and boxed foods and turkeys to seniors at Christmas.
She said the group is able to present the maze with permission from York County Natural Gas, which owns the property.
A special feature this year — for youngsters who may prefer less frightening fun — will be Halloween carnival from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 26 for those 12 and younger with a daylight haunted trail tour, hayrides, a costume contest, treat bags and more.