By Megan Wirts
Ed. Note: The inimitable Ms. Wirts, columnist, comedian, and cheesecake creator extraordinaire, shares her TOT experience as only she can.
It’s that time of year again, where families are going to pumpkin patches, apple orchards and reveling in the wholesome autumnal season. It’s also the time where my family goes all out and celebrates our favorite holiday, Halloween! Our house has been decorated, costume ideas have been discussed and debated and our annual trip to the Trail of Terror in Holton has happened. All that we are waiting for now is the big night for a little trick or treating and spooky, scary, fun stuff.
“What is this Trail of Terror?”, you may be wondering to yourself. Well, I’ll tell you, it is the hands down best haunted trail that I have ever been to. This is the third year that I have been bestowed the horror, I mean honor, of covering the event for N3. The Trail of Terror has been a staple in Holton for the past 15 years. It is 10 acres of woods filled with up to 70 live monsters, that will scare the socks right off of you, or your hat or your glasses, which I have first hand experience with. Don’t worry, if you get halfway through the trail and it’s just too much for you to handle, you can go off to a scare free area and a trail worker will come pick you up and take you to safety. Also, if you are sensitive to strobe lights, this may not be the trail for you. However, if you are into screaming until you laugh, reliving childhood nightmares and enjoying some safe, fun frights, this is the place to go.
The past two years I was accompanied by my mom, my children and various other family members. This year, my mom sat the trail out. I know, many of you are sad to hear this. We were all a little disappointed too. If you know my mother, you know that she is over the top when it comes to being scared, and honestly it’s one of the most hilarious things to witness. The first year at least two of us left with scratches and bloody lips from her flailing about in fear. So, I guess this years trail experience was a little safer for all of us. Love you Mom.
On this fateful fright night, there were 9 of us in total ranging in age from 9 years old - me, that made the brave trek through the trail. The group included first timers and veteran trail attendees. We arrived just as the sun was setting, filled with great anticipation and excitement, ready for the adrenaline rush.
They split our group up into two, which was bit unnerving at first as we entered through the black curtain. I was counting on more people around me to protect me, but I was left with my teenage daughter, Raven, her best friend, Avery and my cousin Tyler. Once inside we were met by the heinous Michael Myers and our fearful foursome tried to keep him at bay as he followed menacingly behind us. The further we went all I could hear were the screams from our family up ahead and the loud thumping of my heart in my ears.
We then were greeted by a terrifying figure standing in the darkness that screamed in our faces as we passed by and the only way to get around them, was by entering a maze filled with creepy little girls and haunting lullaby music. I kept screaming, “Tyler, Tyler, are you behind me!”, “Raven, Avery, OH MY GOD!” “NOO, NOO, I DO NOT LIKE YOU!”. It was chilling and I am certain I will have nightmares.
The trail is filled with scene after scene of unspeakable terror straight from some of the best horror movies ever made. You will encounter Children of the Corn, The Exorcist, IT, that horrible clown from the Saw movies, an axe wielding maniac, Freddy Krueger, and a pig with a chainsaw, just to name a few. But, the part of the trail that really gets me, each and every year, are the chainsaws. The smell, the sound and the terrifying masked maniacs, is almost too much for me to handle. Every single year it makes me pee just a little bit. One of the first movies I remember watching as a very young child was Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I was much too young to have watched it,(but it was the 80’s) and it definitely stuck with me.
When all nine of us were safely out of the trail and reunited we were all buzzing with adrenaline and laughter as we relayed our tales of terror to each other. We all agreed that this year’s trail was the most frightening yet. I was even able to chat it up with Buffy Murphy, owner and operator of the Trail of Terror. When asked about her favorite part of the trail, her answer, “My family of 15 years!”. This isn’t just a chance to scare people senseless for Murphy, this is a labor of love and family. She says that the entire staff, newbies and returning members, are deeply committed to excellence. Which I have seen first hand for the past three years. The trail is a small family owned operation that competes against million dollar organizations in the haunted house industry and year after year they have won the title of “Scariest Place in West Michigan.” A title that I agree, is very well deserved.
Don’t miss your chance to get your scare on! The Tail of Terror opens to the public on October 19, 20, 26 & 27th, beginning at dusk until 11pm weather permitting. Tickets are $14 for regular admission or you can upgrade to VIP for $19, a portion of proceeds goes to the Dakota Dean Murphy scholarship fund. The Trail of Terror is located at 7582 Crocker Rd. in Holton MI.
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