Pataskala Haunted Forest

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Spooks will be out beginning this weekend in Licking County, when the 19th annual Pataskala Haunted Forest opens at 8838 Refugee Road.

Duane Ashbrook, a member of the Pataskala Lions Club, said there's nothing like a walk in the woods, where "anything can happen."

The approximately 15-acre haunted woods has long been taken over by the crazy Murdock family.

New to the haunt is a mine shaft, Ashbrook said, as well as "what a little church would look like if the Murdocks were in charge of it."

About 50 creatures inhabit the woods, where many strange things have been reported to happen, according to Ashbrook.

When visitors begin their walk, they will meet one of the Murdocks, who will spin tales of the family, he said.

Brave guests can check it out when tickets are sold beginning at 7 p.m. on Oct. 3 and 4. The Haunted Forest will be open Friday and Saturday nights throughout October and on Nov. 1.

Admission costs $10 and parking is $1, with all proceeds going to the Pataskala Lions Club and Southwest Licking Youth Football. The Pataskala Lion's Club benefits Pilot Dogs for the blind, Sight First, Eye Research Foundation, Central Ohio Lions Eye Bank, the Diabetes Association, Leo Club and Youth Outreach, among others.

For the younger crowd, Johnstown's Mystic Manes 4-H Club will host its fifth annual "Haunted Trail and Fall Festival" from 8 to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Oct. 17 and 24, at NatAlex Stables, 13461 Jug St. in Johnstown.

Guests will be taken by wagon to the Haunted Trail, where they will then walk the path.

"We'll have eight scary scenes," said Laura Tyler, club adviser. "It's put on by 4-H children. It can be comedy central."

This year's scenes include a zombie theme, vampire scene, an excerpt from the movie "Alien," a decapitated head scene, and "a couple of random surprises," Tyler told The Independent.

Each year the equine 4-H club members have earned about $1,200 from the fundraiser, which helps them sponsor a fun show, purchase jackets and bring awareness to therapeutic riding.

"It's such a cool thing," Tyler said. "They begin working on props after the Hartford Fair. It's cool to see them get excited about it. They can't wait to work in the woods."

The Mystic Manes currently has 16 members, ranging in age from 8 to 18.

"The Haunted Trail is a fun thing for the family to do on a Friday night," Tyler said. "We have arts and crafts for the kids who don't want to go on the trail. There are concessions, games and crafts available."

Cost is $5 per person, with children under 5 being admitted free.

For more information, call Tyler at 614-899-6772.

For the thin-skinned Halloween fan, the Licking Park District will offer the 13th annual Drive-Thru Haunted Park, allowing guests to enjoy five scenes from the safety of their vehicles on Oct. 22-25 in Infirmary Mound Park.

Mary Beth Sills, special projects coordinator, said guests will travel by a barn, a Marie Antoinette scene, invasion of the body snatchers scene and a mummy scene, among others.

"We try to do something new every year," she said. "We'll sell glow necklaces and limited food and drinks will be available."

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Haunted Park will run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Admission is $20 per vehicle. For more information, call the park district at 740-587-2535.

All proceeds from the Haunted Park go back to programs and facilities of the Licking Park District.