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Chamber of Commerce hosts first Haunted Woods Walk of the season

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — As the sun set behind the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle, volunteers for the Haunted Woods Walk dressed in their ghoulish outfits and took to their hiding places along the wooded trail, preparing to give visitors an unforgettable fright. 

People stood one after another in the dark outside of the trail entrance for the walk to begin. Distant screams could be heard from beyond the woods — sending an eerie warning to the visitors who waited to enter at their own risk.

The winding trail led groups one by one through the woods, with signs posted around each turn, urging people to turn back. 

Deep into the woods, volunteers dressed as evil clowns, witches and even reanimated ghosts wielding axes, hid inside of an abandoned school bus, and jumped out at passing visitors. 

Other volunteers dressed as spooky twins with ripped tights and blood-smeared tutus skipped through the trail side by side.  

Early before visitors made their way to the woods, teens from high schools around the area met to prepare for the evening. Presque Isle High School student Georgia Gardiner has volunteered for the walk for the last three years.

Gardiner has an affinity for makeup. Specifically, she likes to create bloody gashes and melting-skin looks. She has done most of the volunteers’ makeup over the last few years. To get the popular, skin-melting-off-the-face look, she put liquid latex around her mouth and painted on black lipstick.

For many years, the Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce has held the Haunted Woods Walk to offer people a night of spooky Halloween fun, which also doubles as an opportunity for high school students to stock up volunteer hours. 

The event is very weather-dependent and hasn’t always cooperated in years past. 

Floyd Rockholt from the Chamber of Commerce said that this year wasn’t the worst weather he’s seen. He recalled one October, when the event was held at the Aroostook State Park, there was snow on the ground. 

They had to start a bonfire to keep warm, surrounded by piles of white snow, he said. 

This season, the crisp October air nipped at visitors who stood in line outside the trail but no snow fell. For a few people, the weather was still  too cold to begin the walk at all. 

For those brave enough, people can take the Haunted Woods Walk again on Saturday night, between 6 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and the profits will go toward the Chamber of Commerce to put on more community events, Rockholt said.

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