Haunted Forest prepares to scare

Hope Marasco, Backcountry Wilderness Area coordinator, sets up one of the skeletons for this year's Haunted Forest just south of Rocky Heights Middle School. The two-night event will feature of variety of scares and startles from 7-10 p.m. on Oct. 26 and 27. Photo by Courtney Kuhlen | ckuhlen@ourcoloradonews.com
Highlands Ranch's second annual Haunted Forest will be from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 26-27. Photo by Courtney Kuhlen | ckuhlen@ourcoloradonews.com
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Is there anything creepier than zombies coming to life in the middle of the woods on a cold, wet fall night under the light of the moon?

Perhaps a chainsaw-wielding clown chasing you down a ravine or werewolves feasting on elk bones around the bend might be one response, or a headless horseman riding through the trees from nowhere ready to take you to the land of the dead.

If you have it in you or if you dare, then venture into Highlands Ranch’s backcountry this weekend, but beware, you may not make it out alive.

For the second consecutive year and the first with ample time to prepare and plan, the Backcountry Wilderness team is beckoning you to enter the Haunted Forest.

Open from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 26-27, and starting behind Rocky Heights Middle School, 11033 Monarch Boulevard, Highlands Ranch, the adult-friendly (or not so friendly) freak fest will have just about everything one could ask for in a Haunted House. Yet instead of taking it inside, come rain or snow, the fright will all occur along a three-quarter-mile-long trail filled with graveyards, low-hanging trees and lots of hidden surprises.

“There will be a lot of jumping out,” said Backcountry Wilderness Area coordinator Hope Marasco, adding that one of the thrills will be people not being able to differentiate between which ghouls and skeletons are props and which are real.

“The imagination just goes wild in the dark,” Marasco said. “It’s so much fun to be able to create this, envision it and watch it materialize.”

Marasco said that this year’s forest will be much scarier than last year’s, as they learned after the first go-round that they need to keep the thrills coming and maintain a degree of consistency from beginning to middle to end.

Advanced tickets can be purchased for $8 at any HRCA Recreation Center. Tickets are $12 at the gate. There will be no will-call available and there is no wheelchair or stroller access available. It is recommended that participants be 10 and older.

If you are interested in volunteering to help scare people, please contact Eric Grover at eric.grover@hrcaonline.org no later than Friday morning. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.