HUNTINGTON, N.S. — Although thousands of people buy tickets for Fright Night each year, not everyone is able to check “trail bravery” off their bucket list.
“We’ve had grown men unable to complete it,” said Johnny Huntington, manager of the Two Rivers Wildlife Park.
This is the 16th year for the park’s annual Fright Night trail.
Two years ago, a group of 15 international students showed up to enjoy the frightening tour.
“They only got about 200 feet into the trail and had to turn around,” Huntington said. “They were on their hands and knees, trying to find a way out.”
Last year a spooky maze was set up and a couple and their son went through.
“The man and woman came out but couldn’t find their son,” he said.
Park got security involved and everyone was searching for the boy, figuring he got lost in the maze.
“We looked everywhere,“ said Huntington, only to discover the boy had found it all a little TOO heart-pounding.
“He went back to the car — and he was 16-years old.”
“It’s all quiet until the first group goes in, then the screaming starts and doesn’t stop”
— John Huntington, manager of Two Rivers Wildlife Park
More than 6,000 attend Fright Night each year, which involves 200 volunteers assisting in the construction of the trail that stretches more than a kilometre in length, with a number community groups taking on a spooky theme for each of the eight cabins or countless displays on the trail.
Over the years, the park has amalgamated terrifying touches such as live rats — contained but very visible and quite noisy — and even live eels.
“It’s all quiet until the first group goes in, then the screaming starts and doesn’t stop,” Huntington said.
“There’s been some wet pants, I can guarantee that. It happens every year. One girl coming out last year said, ‘I think I peed a little.”
A few years ago, park attendant Mike Timmons was dressed as Beetlejuice, hiding the bushes. Huntington was on the trail and a man was walking through in front of him, coaxing a young boy along who was obviously scared. All of a sudden Timmons stepped out of the bushes.
“The guy took off running down the trail with the boy. He then walked back to me and said: ‘You owe me $6.95 for my shorts,’” Huntington said, laughing.
From our archives:
This year the trail entrance includes a 38-foot castle leading into a dungeon and another section will see people walking into the mouth and through the belly of a snake.
The Scotchtown Volunteer Fire Department is one of the groups involved this year and have a horrifying accident scene set up on the trail. The Sydney Animal Hospital has set up an ER room designed to bring nightmares.
Kathleen MacDonald of Albert Bridge says she goes to Fright Night every year with her family, including mother Nancy.
“Every year my mother tries but ends up waiting at the entrance for us,” she said.
“She’s coming again Saturday, but I know she won’t get far. She never does.”
MacDonald said the trail is changed annually, with new chills every year.
“One thing that never changes is how scary it is,” she said.
“It’s so much fun, though, I wouldn’t miss it. It’s our Halloween tradition.”
Park attendant Haeley Langlois said this year various organizations will be helping collect the money at the gates and after the event has finished the park will be giving them a monetary donation. As well, Soulvaria Virtual Reality is going to be set up just before the lineup. For $5 (cash) people can participate in their "games" for a spook before entering the trail.
- Two Rivers Wildlife Park Fright Night is being held Oct. 19, 20, 26 & 27. Gates to the park open at 7 p.m. and to Fright Night at 8 p.m.
- Tickets are $15 and available at Rona-Don Ray Lumber in Sydney Mines; Cameron’s Building Supplies in Glace Bay; Gillis Building Supplies in Sydney River; United Farmers Co-op in Sydney River; Keltic Kubota at 70 Dodd St., Sydney.
- Entertainment is provided for those waiting in line.
- A children’s Fright Night party will be held Oct. 28 with a modified trail, and everything from free treats to tractor rides, live entertainment and fireworks.