Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Ray Routhier firstname.lastname@example.org
KITTERY — Steve Workman stood in the woods in the dark Sunday night, explaining the finer points of being a zombie to 20 youngsters from a New Hampshire church group.
Steve Workman of Kittery is the creator behind “Night Terrors,” a haunted walk now being held at Take Flight aerial adventures on Route 1 in Kittery.
Jill Brady/Staff Photographer
WHERE: Take Flight Adventures, 506 Blue Star Memorial Highway (Route 1), Kittery
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Oct. 25, 26, 30 and 31; Walks begin at 7 p.m.; A children’s scare-free session will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and a “light’s out” session will be held Nov. 1.
HOW MUCH: $12 for the walk, $39 for Zombie Zip Tours being offered at the same time, on the adjacent zip line and ropes course operated by Take Flight Adventures.
MORE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS
Check the websites for prices, times and haunting specifics.
Destination Haunt, 249 Lord Road, Lebanon. destinationhaunt.com
Field of Screams Haunted Hayride, at the Ballpark, 7 Ballpark Way, Old Orchard Beach. oob365.com
Fright at the Fort (Fort Knox), 740 Fort Knox Road, Prospect. fortknox.maineguide.com/fright
The Haunting, Parsonsfield Seminary, 504 North Road, Parsonsfield. Parsonsfieldseminary.org
Trail of Terror, Rait Farm Homestead Museum, 2077 State Road, Eliot. raittfarmmuseum.org
The Gauntlet at Harvest Hill Farms, 125 Pigeon Hill Road, Mechanic Falls. Harvesthillfarms.com
It was opening night at “Night Terrors Haunted Woods Walk,” a volunteer-driven Halloween event created and run by Workman.
For Workman, a 41-year-old organizational consultant and Halloween buff, the moment was the culmination of a life-long passion for scaring people in creative ways.
As a youngster, he made haunted houses in his basement to scare his brother, and in his front yard to scare neighborhood kids. As a young man, he organized a haunted attraction at a public swimming pool in Portsmouth, N.H., and did Halloween events with local recreation departments before launching “Night Terrors” 10 years ago at his home on Bridge Street, with lots of volunteer help.
He filled his yard with costumed spooks and hand-built props, and asked for donations to cover the thousands of dollars he spent. He finally decided last year that the thing had gotten too big, attracting hundreds of people and cars each night. This year, Workman accepted an offer from Charlie Williams, owner of a zip line and aerial adventure park in Kittery called Take Flight, to hold “Night Terrors” there.
Now, with revenue from a $12 admission charge, plenty of parking and plenty of deep, dark woods for his spooky sites, Workman can continue what has become an annual tradition in Kittery.
And he can do it at a higher, scarier level.
“I remember being in fourth grade and seeing my uncle put a plastic skeleton and a witch on his porch and waiting to scare people. I thought that was the coolest thing,” said Workman. “To me, it’s about the creativity. About getting all these people together and creating something that’s fun and scary. We don’t have money for animatronics; we rely one hundred percent on people power. Which is pretty effective for scaring.”
So far, Workman’s bigger and better haunted walk has gone over well. More than 300 people showed up for a “sneak peak” session Sunday night, and more are expected for the event’s remaining seven dates, through Nov. 1.
ALL-VOLUNTEER HAUNT SQUAD
Workman’s knack for making spooky spectacles out of plywood and make-up seems to draw people to him. Some of the volunteers assisting Workman on Sunday have been helping him make Halloween nightmares a reality for years.
Lorelei Gilman, who met Workman at the pool in Portsmouth, takes a vacation from her job in Frederick, Md., every year to work at “Night Terrors.” On Sunday, she was the gatekeeper, sending people into the woods.
“I love the fact that Steve has the vision to take an empty field and woods and come up with something really fun for everyone,” said Gilman. “I love Halloween, and I love volunteer efforts that really come together. That’s why I’m here.”
Unlike many haunted attractions around Maine at this time of year, Workman’s “Night Terrors” is staffed wholly by volunteers, 40 to 50 people who do all the scaring. No electronically operated spook machines, no animatronic gadgets, just folks dressed in shredded clothes and drenched in white face paint and fake blood.
Workman entices community groups to work as haunters by letting them sell refreshments to the scared crowds to raise money.
ROVING MONSTERS, SCARY MAZE
The volunteer workforce spent about three weeks building this year’s “Night Terrors.” Just minutes before it opened Sunday, volunteers were climbing trees to secure lights, and Workman was giving lessons on zombie behavior and other scaring tactics.
“Zombies don’t ever say ‘boo,’ ” said Workman, talking to the youngsters from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth. “Don’t run at people. If you just follow them around, that’s enough. That will freak them out.”
(Continued on page 2)