Every day is Halloween on the streets of New Haven. Scares come around every corner in the ghosts of boyfriends past, ghoulish TAs and toothless flower merchants. But the rest of Connecticut steps up to the plate in October, offering a number of staged –and thus less frightening — hauntings. So hail your favorite monst — er, I mean, cab driver and get spooked.
The Amazing Maze in Middletown has two miles of winding paths, all interwoven into a living, growing cornfield. On weekends in October, people can take hayrides to the outer edges of the maze, where they embark on a spooky walk through the haunted field of corn.
Elizabeth Bondaryk ’07, who visited a corn maze in Massachusetts, said she would have been frightened if the maze had been haunted.
“You couldn’t see over the top,” she said. “You honestly couldn’t tell where you were going.”
Amy Broadbent ’07 said she “always has serious issues with large-scale mazes in general,” and she said haunted ones are particularly creepy.
“You’re scared and you’re lost, and it’s everyone’s worst nightmare,” she said.
One renowned Halloween destination is Wallingford’s Trail of Terror, named the nation’s best outdoor attraction in 1998 by The Fright Times.
The Trail of Terror, an outdoor haunted path, features 25 scenes from scary movies such as “The Ring” and “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” Visitors walk through a human freezer and a vortex tunnel, and they encounter voodoos, pirates, butchers, vampires and clowns.
“It’s definitely an adult scare,” said Andrea Balsamo, manager of the Red Cross branch in Wallingford. “We had adults come out crying. A few hyperventilated.”
Wayne Barneschi, founder and director of the Trail of Terror, said some adults even pee in their pants on the trail.
Younger readers looking to be spooked should visit the Haunted Hayride at the Guilford Park and Recreation Facility on Oct. 25. This 25-minute ride takes customers through a huge open field, where they watch graveyard scenes and simulated executions. At one point during the ride, an actor with an arrow in his back stumbles onto the wagon and dies there.
Each customer gets a “goody bag with candy, toys and Halloween trinkets,” said Tracy Guliani, an employee at the facility.
A simple visit to the graveyard could satiate your craving for goose bumps and a thumping heart.
Broadbent said she thinks graveyards are terrifying when “you’re alone in the dark and it’s windy and there’s a full moon out.”
But Ned Williams, treasurer of the Friends of Grove Street Cemetery, said he does not consider graveyards scary.
“I think of them as tranquil places, where people can think and observe beauty,” he said. “It’s a time away from the clitter and clatter of life.”
Williams said a visit to Grove Street Cemetery could even be educational. It is the oldest incorporated cemetery in the United States, and 50 famous people are buried there.
“[They include] Noah Webster and Eli Whitney — founder of the cotton gin, not the gin you drink,” Williams said.
For the more literary-minded Yale students, Mystic Seaport hosts Nautical Nightmares, a series of ghost stories, during weekends in October. Actors tell five legends and unsolved mysteries at different locations on the seaport grounds.
Mystic Seaport publicist Michael O’Farrell said last year’s visitors walked through a pitch black 250-foot-long building before hearing a ghost story at the other end. While they listened to the story, an actor stationed outside rattled the building’s glass windows.
“There were some screams generated,” O’Farrell said.
But O’Farrell insisted that the stories are not designed to “scare the heck out of you.” Instead, he said, they educate listeners about maritime legends while giving them a fun fright.
And hell if Yale students don’t like some education accompanying their terror.
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