The forest will echo with maniacal laughter this weekend by the Johnsons’ home on Cragwood Way. The Johnson family’s Haunted Forest is now a decade-old tradition, but new animatronics, characters and scare tactics will make the trail more elaborate and scary than ever.
The Johnsons began hosting the Haunted Forest as a way to attract trick-or-treaters, who previously weren’t coming up the long driveway to their home on Halloween. These days, it’s a community event. A team of 30 dead-icated volunteers keep the trail alive with surprises for more than 500 visitors.
Each year, the Johnsons add more animatronics to an already elaborate trail of spooky spectacles, like mechanized monsters, smoke machines, and a surgeon who’s not averse to eating on the job. The first leg of the trail is fairly tame and suitable for young children — there’s an exit for those who aren’t feeling up to the more hard-core frights deeper in the forest.
The Johnsons do not charge admission for the Haunted Forest, but they do collect donations. This year, donations will go to the Breast Cancer Coalition and the Brian K. Song Memorial Scholarship Fund, which goes to a football player at Winston Churchill High School.