10/15/12 — Park plans scary ride to mark Halloween

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Park plans scary ride to mark Halloween

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 15, 2012 1:46 PM

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Cliffs of the Neuse State Park superintendent Ed Wilkerson walks a trail at the park, which will be turned into the "Tunnel of Terror" during the Cliffs' haunted hayride.

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Zombies, ghouls and maniacal murderers will be on the loose at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park Oct. 27 as visitors brave the debut of the Campground Chaos Hayride.

In past years, the Cliffs has had a hayride haunted by ghosts of the Carolinas, but park personnel wanted to do something a little different -- and scarier -- this year.

Visitors will enter the gate to the park, and uniformed staff will direct them to the campground parking lot. The campground will be closed to campers the night of Oct. 27.

Park superintendent Ed Wilkerson said there will be 11 stations for the hayride.

"There will be zombies, Jason from the movie 'Halloween,' a werewolf, living scarecrows and more," he said. "The characters will be doing short skits for visitors. Each station will have its own theme. The tractor operators will slow down at each station."

Wilkerson said the hayride is for older children and adults, not small children.

For the other children, those 5 and younger, there will be a special, non-scary, hayride.

Each hayride will take about 20 minutes. The haunted hayride for older children and adults will be $2, and the children's hayride is free. The Campground Chaos Hayride will start at 7 p.m. and run until 11 p.m.

To get ready for Campground Chaos, the park will be closed all day until 5 p.m. Then it will open to the public for the Halloween event.

In addition to the hayrides, there will be a trunk or treat event for the children from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., also in the parking lot. Trunk or treat will be done by park staff and Friends of the Cliffs of the Neuse members. Cars will be decorated, and Halloween music will be playing to set the mood.

"We encourage children to come in dressed in costume," Wilkerson said. "The children will go from car to car trick or treating for candy.

Friends of the Cliffs of the Neuse will also be selling pizza by the slice and drinks that night in the parking area.

"We're expecting to have a good crowd, as in past years," Wilkerson said. "The whole park staff has really worked hard on putting this together."

Last year, about 1,000 people attended the event and about 3,000 attended the year before that.

"We've been doing the Halloween event five years now," Wilkerson said. "We do this as a service to the community to do something to give the community an activity where they can come out and celebrate Halloween in a safe environment and use the park, which of course belongs to everybody. "

This year, the event has also been moved from a Friday to a Saturday night.

"That put it out of conflict with high school football games," Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson promises that this year's Halloween event will be totally different from those of past years.

For more information about the Halloween event at Cliffs of the Neuse, call 778-6234.