October 20, 2011

Screamapalooza: Experience haunted Maine with array of Halloween events

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

Me? Scared on a haunted hayride? Please.

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

Masks! Cleavers! Participants on a haunted hayride in Scarborough get some unexpected company.

Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

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WHEN: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Sunday; until 9:30 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Saturday. Through Oct. 30.

WHERE: Scarborough Downs Road, Scarborough

HOW MUCH: $13; $9 ages 6 to 12; free for ages 5 and under (cash only)

INFO: 885-5935; hauntedhayridesmaine.com


This is what I told friends and family before I ventured to the Original Haunted Hayrides located on the Scarborough Downs access road.

But after I'd stood in line for half an hour, was corralled cattle-style into a holding pen and finally hopped onto a hay-covered wagon, I felt a twinge of apprehension.

This occurred right around the time our two guides commanded that we ride with our legs dangling vulnerably over the edge.

As the wagon pulled by a green John Deere tractor slowly lumbered across a muddy field toward the entrance to the dark forest where the treetops swayed ominously, my bravery dissipated into the cold, night sky.

Nor did my confidence return when our guides informed us that we could call them Jason (as in "Friday the 13th") and Bubblegum. Not exactly the sort of names you want to scream out in hopes of being saved from the clutches of an undead beast.

Once we'd entered the dark forest -- where we could see no farther than the outline of underbrush that crowded the narrow track -- an algae-covered swamp monster emerged silently from the blackness and peered closely at each of us, as if searching for a fellow wetland companion.

The creatures of the night only got worse from that point on. As did the screaming we could hear in the distance.

About halfway through the 40-minute ride, we stopped at the witches' shack for free samples of Spider Soda and Poisonous Popcorn. Unlike the ghouls we'd encountered previously, the green-faced witches were downright polite. They reminded me more of Elphaba in "Wicked" than the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz."

All too soon, this friendly reprieve came to an end, and we were once again rolling through the haunted woods at a snail's pace.

Every rustle of leaves or snap of a twig set my heart racing with anticipation of a demented clown or a crazed wizard emerging from the gloom and snatching me away to its lair.

My fears were realized when two goblins jumped from the darkness and grabbed my legs, trying to pull me from the wagon. I clutched the arm of my burly companion and managed to stay put, but my mental state hovered somewhere just south of sanity.

And let's not even talk about the chainsaw-wielding psycho. I will remember him in my nightmares.

Original Haunted Hayrides runs Thursday to Sundays through Oct. 30, and is just one of dozens of Halloween-related events kicking off this week in southern Maine. If you need more to make your hair stand on end and make you scream until your throat feels like you've been chewing glass, check out our list on pages E29-31.

But don't blame us if you have trouble sleeping afterward.



A selection of short, Maine-made horror films.

WHEN: 7 and 9:15 p.m. today

WHERE: Nickelodeon Cinemas, Portland


INFO: damnationland.com


Hear tales of long-dead residents inside the oldest resting place in Portland.

WHEN: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. today to Saturday and Oct. 27 to 29; tours leave every 15 minutes

WHERE: Eastern Cemetery, Congress Street, Portland

HOW MUCH: $10; $5 for kids under 12

INFO: spiritsalive.org


Explore the Twilight Trail, the Buried Alive Cemetery, the Execution Center and the Lebanon Laboratory during this creepy walking tour.

WHEN: 7 to 9 p.m. today, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday; 7 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Through Oct. 30.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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A cemetery is the last “haunt” on the Original Haunted Hayride in Scarborough.

Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

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Portland Ballet will lead the audience in a dance from “Thriller” at the Symphony Spooktacular on Oct. 30.


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