Pumpkins, Mazes, and Things That Go Bump in the Night

Whether your tribe loves picking pumpkins or taking a hayride, you’ll find plenty of farms welcoming families this month

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Ghouls lurking at the cemetery.

Fun and Frights at Spooky Nights

Shelby Farms embraces the Halloween spirit with a new October event

Spooky Nights begins this month at Shelby Farms and promises spooktacular fun. Every Friday and Saturday night in October, from 7 to 10 p.m., families can learn about night animals on the Nocturnal Hike, take the Headless Horseman hayride, play Zombie laser tag, and paint pumpkins. It’s the brainchild of events manager Natalie Wilson, who brought together a talented team of artisans to create the month-long event.

Spooky Trails centerpiece is the Haunted Trail (ages 12+), a .6-mile bridle path transformed into a ghoulish fright fest. Screenwriter/filmmaker/Zombie Walk mastermind Duane Craig has crafted the storyline that unfolds as visitors venture down the trail. He draws his inspiration from horror films of the ‘70s and ‘80s but kept details under wraps. Bringing each scene to life will be a troop of volunteer actors (more than 100, we’re told) from the Indy Acting Studio, Lisa Lax Studio, and the University of Memphis. Suffice to say, zombies, evil clowns, and little dead things will be lurking.

The Haunted Trails creative team includes (l to r) Ian and Lexi Pretznow, Andy Gilbert, Duane Craig, & John Paul Graham.


The park also tapped the Kilgore Crew, whose haunted house near the Wolfchase Mall has become legendary, last year attracting 1,500+ visitors. Lexi and Ian Pretznow, along with their friend and pneumatics pro, Andy Gilbert, take Halloween mischief seriously. “This is our dream,” says Lexi. “The home haunt is elaborate, but this will be a bigger scale. It’s fun to take it to the next level.” Rounding out the troupe is sculptor John Paul Graham, an art teacher and graduate student whose gargoyles and statuary will decorate the grounds.

In addition, a host of park staff members and volunteers have done their part to sort out electrical issues, build staging, and ready the park for its October debut. Happy haunting! — Jane Schneider


Discount coupons at shelbyfarmspark.org. Pay at the entrance for the Haunted Trail ($10/person) or Nocturnal Hike ($10/family). Pay for other activities on location: zombie laser tag ($5/per game), hayride ($5/person), & pumpkin painting ($3/per pumpkin).


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