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Come to Clifton for Haunted Halloween

Boo! That probably didn't scare you, but the creepy creatures lurking in Clifton's Eight-Acre Park sure will.

And they're dying to meet the public, Saturday, Oct. 30, from 7-11 p.m. along the town's fifth-annual "Eight-Acre Trail of Terror." Tickets are $5/person at the entrance and parking is $5, but the chills and thrills are free.

"It's going to be very scary," said haunted trail committee member Diane Dygve. "It's a half-mile-long trail, so it takes a good 30 minutes to see everything, so people will get their money's worth."

Under dark of night — often accompanied by weird sounds and mysterious fog — courageous visitors enter the forest to be scared silly. And you never know who'll jump up from out of nowhere and frighten you.

Clifton residents Brant Baber and Ester Pline will portray Count and Countess Dracula, and Jeff and Michelle Stein and their two children will do their spooky best in Scarecrow Alley — a long walkway with scarecrows on either side.

In the Civil War hospital scenario, unfortunate soldiers will undergo surgery with little more than whiskey for anesthesia. Actors include Kathy and John Kinter, Lev Buller, Sam Ackerman and Merv and Judith Rosen.

Always a frightening sight are those participating in the chainsaw massacre. Mac Arnold, Ken and Alex Buckley and Royce Jarrendt are some of the crazed woodsmen who'll be wielding chainsaws at unsuspecting travelers through the forest.

Visitors should also beware of David Thompson who'll be a deranged hunter, as well as Bill Curry and Megan Dygve who are male and female witchdoctors. Steve Goetzinger is one of the odd, vegetation-covered "moss men," Helen Buller is a goblin and Dianne and Jolanda Janczewski will be pointy-hat-wearing witches.

Alex Buckley will do double duty as an evil clown, and there'll even be a bloody debate between "George Bush" and "John Kerry," with look-alike Tom Conaty in the role of Kerry.

And for the second year in a row, Cox Communications is sponsoring "Monster Movies Under the Moon." They'll be shown free, throughout the evening, in an adjacent field. This year's features will be "Casper," "Wolfman" and, hopefully, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon."

Nearly 90 people are either participating in the spoody scenarios or helping as volunteers. The event is a fund-raiser for the Town of Clifton. However, proceeds from the refreshments will go to the Clifton Betterment Association to renovate an old barn for community use. Cocoa, apple cider and pizza will be available, as will spooky Halloween treats such as "finger" cookies.

Haunted trail chairman, Chris O'Donnell, calls the event completely unique. "Walking through the woods is scary enough, but you never know when someone is gonna jump out at you. It's cheap family entertainment and a good way to get the fun scared out of you."

His five-person committee has worked since the beginning of September, and he said the toughest part is organizing the volunteers and "making sure we have the right people for the right skits. But I've got a great committee; I couldn't do it without them."

O'Donnell said setting up the park is the easiest part: "We usually can knock that out in a day or two." And he can hardly wait. "I enjoy Halloween — it's one of my favorite holidays," he said. "I'm a kid at heart, and I enjoy scaring people and watching them enjoy themselves."

"This is a great community event," he continued. "The volunteers enjoy putting it on, and the public has fun seeing it. Last year's attendance was huge and, hopefully, this year will be just as successful."