Land trust holds Halloween haunted hike
On Friday evening, families gathered in the lowering dusk at Smith Farm in South Dartmouth for Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust’s annual Haunted Hike.
Kids waved flashlights and glow-sticks and parents carried blankets and thermoses full of hot chocolate as they walked a path lit by lanterns and strewn with autumn leaves.
The path was bedecked with ghosts, gravestones, and skeletons, with a few aliens and zombies thrown into the mix.
Participants walked to a field decorated with jack o’ lanterns and hay bales, where storyteller Jackson Gillman entertained them with songs and spooky stories under the stars.
“It’s for ages six to ten, so it’s not really scary,” said DNRT Development and Outreach Specialist Kendra Murray before the walk.
She was dressed in a billowing black and purple robe, and planned to jump out and scare people during the hike.
“It’s fun. I mean, normally I sit behind a desk, so if I get to dress up and scare people, that’s a nice change of pace,” she laughed. “The kids absolutely love it.”
“Registration was kinda slow this year until yesterday and today,” Murray noted. “I think people were waiting to check the weather.”
She added that people also may have been afraid of the mosquito-borne Eastern equine encephalitis, which has claimed four lives in Massachusetts this year.
“But we’re all in long sleeves,” Murray said.
The hike was full to the brim with 120 people registered from all over the South Coast area. Hikers left in two separate groups.
Rebecca Hyatt from Taunton brought her daughter Shyla Norris, 8, to the hike for the first time.
“We saw it on Facebook, and we love Halloween stuff, we love nature,” she said with a smile.
Other participants were looking for some oddly specific frights.
“I wanna see snakes,” said eight-year-old Audrey Ostiguy. “I just want to be a snake scientist when I grow up! I love snakes.”
Her sister Emma, 6, was also straightforward about what she was most looking forward to: “I wanna see candy!”