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Best Kept Secrets: The Trail of Terror
Now that Halloween has truly arrived, the list of the best local haunts culminates with what is widely regarded as one of the best — and scariest — attractions in New England.
The Trail of Terror in nearby Wallingford has received acclaim from satisfied customers and critics alike, earning itself Connecticut Magazine’s “Best of 2008″ seal, Fright Times Magazine’s “Best Outdoor Attraction” award, and more. Now in its 14th year of operation, the Trail, which is the masterpiece of Wayne Barneschi and his “Boo Crew,” has greatly expanded, featuring over 300 costumed actors in 30 unique scenes throughout the trail.
As the popularity of the Trail of Terror has grown, so has the line to get in, which sometimes has customers enduring four to five hour waits.
Despite the lengthy wait times, customers return year after year to walk the trail, which takes approximately forty-five minutes at its current size. Among the haunting displays throughout the trail are graveyards, morgues, orphanages and demented circuses, as well as some new additions such as the meat locker at the “Road Kill Café.”
The trail has been rated “47 skulls out of 50″ in areas such as Scares, Special FX and Originality by visitors on the Web site of the Haunted House Association (hauntedhouseassociation.org), which serves as a directory for establishments that specialize in Halloween-themed events all over the U.S.
While the Trail of Terror may be a secret to some, Connecticut natives are likely to have visited this horror fest, or at least know someone who has. Freshman Amy Morozuk visited the trail last Halloween and she vividly recalls the terrifying experience.
“I remember when we got there we waited in line for like, three hours. At first, things just kept popping out at us, but then the further we got in, there were characters that were stationary, and we thought they weren’t real, and then they would scare you to death when you least expected it,” Morozuk said.
“There are characters in some scenes that you recognize from different movies, like the little girl from ‘The Exorcist,’ but the whole time you are walking through there are people in costumes following you around.”
The Trail of Terror is not your typical collapsible haunted house. Despite an operating season of roughly one month, a great deal of time and preparation goes into ensuring that customers will enjoy an authentically scary experience.
“You go some places, and you can just tell that they are sort of low-budget. Sometimes the props and stuff just aren’t that good,” Morozuk said. “But at this one, everything just seems real. Even the fake blood doesn’t look fake, and the actors are great, too. They seriously get into their characters.”
The numbers appear to reflect Morozuk’s feelings as a customer. During the last two seasons, the Trail was able to bring in $100,000 each year.
Barneschi and his staff donate 100 percent of their profits to the Red Cross, which might make it a little bit easier to dole out the $10 admission price. Tickets can now be purchased in advance online (trailofterror.com) to guarantee admission before it is sold out. So, for a dose of frightful fun, is the Trail of Terror worth it? Amy Morozuk and many other satisfied customers seem to think so.
“It is totally worth the wait and the price. I hope I get another chance to go this year,” Morozuk said.