By ALISA MANNA
The Canfield Scaregrounds Haunted House and Hayride has terrified the masses since 1992. This year, it featured not only one, but three separate horrifying attractions. Though the Scaregrounds always provided the haunted house and hayride, it added new elements to intensify the experience.
“We added more electronic devices to create a headless horseman and bodiless head,” main manager Tara Stitle said. “They’re shocking.”
Another recent development was the Maze of Mist, an attraction that comes with any purchase and is growing in popularity.
The main attraction, the haunted house, was made up of dark corridors and scary scenarios, not to mention unsettled patrons who were face-to-face with “hands-on” monsters.
“It’s real energetic, loud and in-your-face scares,” house manager Dan Daugherty said. “It’s a lot of fun to go through and to work at.”
The Maze of Mist was said to be the most disorienting because of the fog and sharp corners.
“It was claustrophobic because people were packed in there, making it easy to run into things,” Howland resident Michael Madgar said.
The tamest of all attractions was the hayride, according to make-up artist Joe Glenn. The 1.1 miles trip around the Scaregrounds was family-oriented and not as intense.
“There are funny scenes to little scares,” he said.
Stitle said the Scaregrounds started with main promoter Dominc Baragona, who used Halloween events to advertise for his radio station.
“He had a mind for this,” Stitle said. “He developed all scenes, but had a large team to help implement everything and put it into motion.”
The Canfield Scaregounds’ crew only had eight days to build everything and then they’ll have four days to tear it all down. Stitle called the event a “temporary haunt” because they don’t have the ability to work on it year-round. Stitle and the crew began recruiting the small haunted army in September, and had tryouts the first weekend of the event. The monsters got to pick what stations they wanted to work out and their costumes.
The 130 live monsters working at the Scaregrounds are not only creatures in waiting, but a family. Some of the crew worked at the Scaregrounds since the beginning, and others had only worked for about five years. Either way, both were considered veterans.
“One year, I came here as a customer and I knew someone who was working,” crew member Justin Ziegler said. “I asked how to get involved and started as volunteer.”
He and member David Coffin both agreed that it’s the best job they’ve ever had and that there’s never a dull moment on set.
Everyone at the Canfield Scaregrounds was in the same mindset: It’s fun to scare and be scared.