By Erin O’Donnell
It is just after sunset, while walking closer and closer to the entrance, distant screams of startled patrons are heard. The Trail of Terror of Wallingford, Conn is one of New England’s largest Halloween attractions, and simply calling it a “haunted house” would be an understatement.
The Trail of Terror’s line entrance is accompanied by Dracula, who directs you to the proper line, whether it’s general admission or speed pass. With general admission being $10 and the speed pass $20, it is an affordable, charitable attraction since many of the proceeds go to the Red Cross.
Even waiting in line is part of the attraction. Characters quietly lurk through the lines and trigger a chill as they make an appearance to unsuspecting guests. Heavy metal music and performances deter from the wait, building the anticipation of reaching the entrance. There are even refreshments such as hot chocolate sold in line. All of these efforts make the wait enjoyable.
Going through the attraction takes around 30-45 minutes to walk through, whether you’re with a group of friends or brave enough to attempt it alone. To give an idea of what lies inside the terror of The Trail; it isn’t for the faint of heart.
The Trail of Terror is supported by hundreds of volunteers who don’t merely dress up in costume, they become their character. Ghoulish looking faces, frighteningly happy clowns, creepy life-like dolls and deadly zombies are all apart of the performance every weekend in October. The enthusiasm of the volunteers and the convincing sets are what makes this attraction so enormously thrilling.
Ultimately, what makes the Trail of Terror so unnerving is the fear of the unknown. Walking through The Trail is a mystery; you never know what awaits you around the corner.
Wayne Barneschi, the director and creator of The Trail of Terror said that it has improved each year, at what started out as a small attraction in Barneschi’s backyard. When asked about the birth of The Trail, Barneschi says that it’s been 18 years, and three years in his backyard before that.
This year has been claimed to be the best year yet, as The Trail of Terror gets new scenery every year.
“We get together and present new ideas around January to February. We take into account sight, smell and visually what really scares people. We strive to make it more of an experience than something you just look at.” says Barneschi. “We sold out just about every night.”
The Trail impressively acquires an abundance of customers every October and continues to grow with each year. The Trail of Terror brings nightmares to life and haunts guests that leave them coming back each year for more.