Haunted forest, junkyard offer loads of spooky Halloween fun

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By Greg Summers

There’s nothing wrong with a good scare this time of year, especially when it’s for a good cause.

Halloween is only 16 days away, “witch” means you’re probably looking for  terrifyingly terrific way to get your scare on.

Beginning tonight, you’ll have that chance.

The Lancaster County Rescue Squad Haunted Forest opens at sundown in the woods adjacent to the squad equipment building on Great Falls Highway.

The rescue squad’s Tim Rouse, said last year, almost 1,500 showed up for a frighteningly good 20-minute walk, with the 20-plus squad members doing most of the scaring along the way. The annual fundraiser is now in its 23rd year.

“That’s quite a while to be scaring people,” Rouse said, laughing.

Proceeds from the haunted forest are used to purchase new equipment and help defray operating expenses. Behind a spring photograph sale, the haunted forest has become the all-volunteer agency’s second-largest fundraiser.

“All the utilities have to be paid and this goes a long way toward doing that,” Rouse said.

As far a parental rating, Rouse said the haunted forest would get a PG.

“We aim to scare people and have a little fun in doing it, but we don’t want to give kids a big dose of nightmares,” he said.  

“We have some new monsters like ‘The Overlord’ for everyone to meet, along with some old favorites like ‘Twitch the Killer Clown.’ Believe it or not, we have folks who come back every year just to see old Twitch.”

Rouse said church and youth groups who would like to come together should call (803) 285-4234 to make special advance arrangements.

“We don’t mind staying late to accommodate anyone, but we try to get out of there as close to midnight as we can.”

Haunted Junkyard

When the fog rolls in (from the fog machines) and the fire barrel gets lighted, it’s time for a dog-howling PG-rated hayride through the junkyard at Mahaffey’s Used Cars and Parts on North Rocky River Road in the Buford community.  

But beware.

There could be a chain saw-wielding zombie around the next turn hiding in the trunk of a Firebird.

Now in its second year, the haunted junkyard is a fundraiser for the Buford High School Relay For Life team, which is led by the school’s Beta Club.

“We’ve been working on it since the beginning of the school year,” said BHS senior and Beta Club member Kaylee Mahaffey. “It’s become the biggest project we undertake. We hope it’s going to be bigger and better than last year.”

The haunted junkyard is 7 p.m. until, on Oct. 23-24 and 30-31.

Last year’s haunted junkyard raised $1,960 for Relay for Life. The BHS team will be selling refreshments, too.

It was a pretty good idea that went over better than anyone thought. “Almost 500 people showed up once word got out.” said Brian Mahaffey, of Mahaffey’s Used Cars and Parts.

“I was shocked,” Kaylee Mahaffey said. “I didn’t think the turnout would be as good as it was.”

The Relay For Life team also has a womanless beauty pageant in the works for November, said BHS senior Adam Cabe, 17.

“Everybody knows someone in their family or has a friend who has been affected by cancer in one way or another,” Cabe said. “That’s why we’re doing this.”

Groups who want to take the horror-filled hayride together should call (803) 416-6729.

“A few groups do call ahead,” Kaylee Mahaffey said. “One group asked us to stay, so we did stay open a little later for them.”

Want to go?

WHAT: The Lancaster Rescue Squad’s annual Haunted Forest

WHEN: Sundown Oct. 16-17, 23-24 and 30-31, until the last screamer leaves (Rated PG)

WHERE: 1356 Great Falls Highway (beside Second Baptist Church at 10th Street Extension) 

HOW MUCH: $8 per person; proceeds go toward rescue squad’s operating budget and equipment purchases

INFORMATION: (803) 285-4234.

WHAT: The Haunted Junkyard, co-sponsored by the Mahaffey family and the Buford High School Relay For Life team

WHEN:  7 p.m. Oct. 23-24 and 30-31, until the last screamer leaves (Rated PG)

WHERE: Mahaffey’s Used Cars and Parts, 1475 N. Rocky River Road

HOW MUCH: $5 per person; proceeds go to Relay For Life 

INFORMATION: (803) 416-6729.