Haunting begins at Wentworth Gardens

Body: 

Strange things have been seen at Wentworth Gardens this month — a shadowy shape, a bright flash of a figure, a ghostly apparition popping out of a wall.

Things are about to get stranger. The Haunt at Wentworth Gardens, a maze filled with ghosts, ghouls and a smattering of blood, opens Friday.

The carnival of horrors covers three bays of the greenhouse and promises thrills of all sizes, shapes and descriptions. Jump scares? Check. Creepy masks? Check. Strobe lights? Check. Small staring children? Check. Skeletons? Blood? Spiders? Check, check and check.

Clowns may even be present.

The greenhouse haunt is run by Boy Scout Troop 212 out of Poplar, but it's not for the faint of heart.

"There's a misconception that because it's the Scouts this is for little kids," said Alex Hoegen of Brule, whose son Willem is in the troop.

Last year, the Scouts held the haunt in a barn at the Oulu Corn Maze. They said one visitor passed out; another threw up. One was chased to his car by fiends.

"It's not just walking through with people saying 'Boo,'" said Kaleb Dixon, 16, of Oulu.

"It's way more involved," said Willem Hoegen, 15.

The troop gears its scares toward teens and adults, although there will be a less scary walk through option available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday during Wentworth Gardens' Fall Fest.

The unfiltered version will be open from 6:30-10:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night through Oct. 28.

"I think it's going to be fun," said business co-owner Gary Kane. "They've been working on it a month. Come on out and support the Boy Scouts."

Troop 212 provided 1,000 hours of volunteer service in 2016. Five Scouts completed community service projects this year to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

For the older Scouts, scaring others together has been a bonding experience and a chance to see everyone's vulnerable side.

"It's great to see our friends who act cool at school just break down," said Ryan Granquist, 15, of Poplar.

They said there's an energy and excitement that comes from scaring, and entertaining, others.

"It got more fun as more people came," said Kyle Granquist, 13.

This year's haunt is three times bigger and located in a high-visibility spot in the town of Amnicon off U.S. Highway 2. Parking is free.

The maze has been taking shape all month. Sunday, final touches were underway and "scarers," ranging in height from over 6 feet to 3 feet, prowled through the greenhouse.

"I need blood," called Becky Bourque as the troop prepared to give family and friends a preview.

Paramedic Darren Peterson of Lake Nebagamon prepared a body in a back room.

Asher Gilderman, 12, described spraying guts with foam.

"I'm just excited to see how it's come together from the first work day to now," said Eagle Scout Tyler Davis, 17, of Lake Nebagamon.

The parent committee and Scouts teamed up to build the maze where once there were only plants.

"They've really done a great job," said troop leader Mark Granquist.

The Hoegen family provided the inspiration. For nearly a dozen years, they've been staging haunted houses to support youth organizations. When they moved to Douglas County from New Jersey, they brought their passion with them.

"It's a great fundraiser," said Jennifer Hoegen. "It's fun."

Admission to the haunted greenhouse is $10 per person, with a $2 discount for everyone who brings a nonperishable food item for the Rural Care and Share Food Shelf.

"Our troop helps out at the food shelf," said Willem, by carrying bags of food out to cars.

Concessions, holiday wreaths and Boy Scout popcorn will be available for purchase at the event. Money raised will be earmarked for scouting activities and adventures. Last year's haunted maze proceeds sent three Scouts to the National Jamboree.

Learn more about The Haunt at Wentworth Gardens on Facebook.

Fall fun at Wentworth Gardens
The Haunt at Wentworth Gardens
Where: 4474 S. Wentworth Road.
When: 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 28. Less scary walk through 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $10 admission; $2 discount with nonperishable food donation.

Wentworth Gardens Fall Fest
What: Hay rides, bounce house, train rides, petting zoo, face painting, kettle corn and more.
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Cost: $5 admission, kids 3 and are free.