The Perry Firefighters Association welcomed a sizable crowd of daring souls to the first horrifically fun evening in the Haunted Barn Saturday.
Located in the west end of Caboose Park at First and Willis in the Perry Open Market Building, the Haunted Barn will welcome intrepid souls Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23-24 and again Oct. 30-31. Admission is only $5, with no distinction made between the brave and the chicken.
The first bodies invited into the ghoulishly grotesque grounds will be at 7 p.m. with the terror ending only when the last brave souls have taken the risk of negotiating the fog-filled labyrinthine layers of spooky sights and sounds.
Saturday’s grave-opening night witnessed a steady crowd willing to be surprised and startled, from a stout-hearted seven-year old to grown-ups looking for a good scream.
Perry’s Heaven Smith and Anna Walker, both 12, said the Haunted Barn was a big improvement over the Haunted Forest displays of past years.
“This lasted a longer and had more surprises,” Smith said. “I thought the clowns were real scary.”
Walker said Smith “shoved me in front and made me go first” which added to her fun. “It was definitely worth it,” she said.
Perry’s Gabby West, 14, and Kaylea Alexander, 14, both had a screamingly good time and said they planned on experiencing the scare a second time.
Nick Hidlebaugh, 17, of Rippey, brought Courtney Morlan, 16, of Jefferson to Perry specifically to go through the Haunted Barn.
“I kind of forced her,” Hidlebaugh laughed. “But it was worth it … it was a lot of fun.”
Morlan, who was one of many throughout the night that ran screaming out of the exit, admitted being “a little scared” at times but quickly added “that is what you come for and what makes it fun.”
Those standing in line and hanging about could clearly hear the blood-curdling screams and startled squeals of those inside the maze-like passageways. Loud thumps and bangs, various undefined sounds of terror and the unmistakable buzzing of a chainsaw only helped build the sense of dread and anticipation.
Young girls smiled and nervously laughed while the boys milling about tried to look unafraid. All were eager for their 10-minute trip through goose-bump land, with friends trying to decide who would go into the haunted halls with who and in what order, as meal-sized units of only four, five or six are allowed entrance at one time.
“There was this really dark room we kind of got lost in — I liked that,” 9-year old Nathan Warmack of Earlham said. “It was really scary, which was great.”
Almost unanimous among the survivors was the opinion that the final moments were the best.
“The way it ended was really cool,” Gavin McDivitt, 8, of Yale, smiled, an obvious sense of relief on his face. “I knew something scary would be coming but didn’t know what it would be. It was great.”
His 10-year old sister Bella admitted to being scared “a few times” while the youngest McDivitt, 7-year old Lily, was all smiles because she “made daddy (Jeff) carry me the whole way!”
One of the spectral entities residing in the Haunted Barn said it was looking forward to the next two weekends of watching visitors jump when surprised and eliciting screams from the unsuspecting. The ghastly personage said it hoped for even bigger crowds on each of the next two Friday-Saturday dread-filled dates.
“We need more bodies!” it moaned.