WOODLAWN —The Woodlawn Haunted Woods attraction has been a labor of love for its creator, Brian Copple.
It began modestly 13 years ago as a small trail featuring five horror scenes that took visitors about 10 minutes to get through.
Now, though, the attraction has grown significantly to include 22 scenes and an acre-an-a-half corn maze. The primary Haunted Woods trail is now roughly a ¾-of-a-mile walk through the woods on Copple's property.
Copple, a great fan of Halloween and horror fiction, said he spends much of his time during the year preparing the trail for the public. The goal is to be scary, but also family-friendly.
“We don't do all the nasty blood-and-guts type stuff,” Copple said. “We kind of cater to the family-type stuff, more family-oriented.”
The Woodlawn Haunted Woods opens for this season on Friday and Saturday night. It will then be open each Friday and Saturday night after that until Nov. 1 and 2, which are the last dates.
The trail's “kid time” begins at 6:30 p.m. This is when the scarier parts of the trail are covered up so smaller children can go through. Then, at 7:30 p.m., the “all scare” program kicks off for adults and older children.
“As soon as it gets dark, then it's no-holds barred,” Copple said. “It's a free-for-all then. I mean, you're going to get scared.”
Brian Copple handles the construction portion of the trail while his wife, Shari Copple, does the advertising and public relations. There are also some 40 to 50 volunteers who help out.
“They're doing a really good job out here,” said Misty Fultz, a supervisor who has helped with Haunted Woods for three years. “I think each year it gets maybe just a little bit better.”