It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Ah, my heart leap this afternoon when I saw the first banner for Peterson Park's Trail of Terror!!
It's run entirely by volunteers and they must have an absolute mastermind planning it. They also have local children help scare willing patrons. It's an event run by familes... to scare the snot out of other families.
Each year it's differently themed. We've been there for Urban Legends, Evil Circus, and Chicago Ghost Stories. The long wait is peppered with great posters in the theme, including fake newspaper stories, spooky music, and creepy guys in masks who sneak up behind you. There is also a little food stand that sells hot cider and hotdogs.
I simply can't believe this isn't a professional haunted house. That's how good it is.
Last year featured a scary walk through a miniature corn maze, an amazing inflatable tunnel, and the best use of small children EVER. Spoilers for that part below. Do not read the green print if you want to keep it a surprise, assuming they use it again.
You enter a square room lit only by one black light bulb. The walls are painted black, spattered with neon paint. It looks empty. As you walk through, expecting something to leap out from the doorway, monsters erupt from the very walls! Scared the hell out of me and I'm usually pretty good at seeing the monsters before hand. The trick is that they use small skinny kids wearing black clothing and masks with matching paint spatters. When they plaster themselves against the walls and corners, they are next to impossible to see. I watched one little girl go back into her position and it was like she had vanished.
They always target the biggest male in the group, which is extra fun. They have Knut pegged as a screamer too! And it is extra fun when it's a little kid doing the scaring.
Really, really awesome and they totally have my respect. I'll keep going back as long as I'm in Chicago.
Here's the website with this year's information: http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/news.archive/park_id/433b5e34-bd4e-4fe5-a74e-81dedbacc96d.cfm