Spooky sights crept onto the Poplar Golf Course on Saturday, Oct. 12. Volunteers hung spiderwebs, placed maze panels and stapled creepy decorations in place. A body lay under a sheet in one section; chains dangled from the ceiling in another.
Formerly held at Wentworth Gardens, the rural haunt has moved down the road to Poplar. Members of Boy Scout Troop 212 are still involved in the planning and expect to scare maze-goers, but they have handed control of the event to the business.
“The thing that we were really excited about was the fact that it’s going to stay in the community,” said Brenda Granquist, a committee member with Troop 212. “It just offers another entertainment opportunity right here locally.”
The Boy Scouts launched the haunt three years ago in Oulu and held it at Wentworth Gardens the past two years. Working together to set up the event led to camaraderie and friendship, Granquist said, but it sapped hours from other scouting pursuits. With the closure of Wentworth Gardens last year, the group was also seeking a new site to haunt.
Scott Simmons, co-owner of Poplar Golf Course, offered them one.
“We didn’t want to take a year off,” he said. “We wanted to keep the consistency and keep it going.”
The handoff was a good fit for the scouts.
“It’s been a ball and it definitely is great to see it go to an organization that’s going to bring it to the next level,” Granquist said.
Poplar Golf Course is invested in giving back to the community, she said. It hosted this year’s Poplar Fun Days and a winter sledding event. The business held meat raffles for the Poplar Volunteer Fire Department over the summer.
Part of the proceeds from this year’s haunt will go to the Boy Scout troop, Simmons said, and anyone who brings a donation of nonperishable food for the Rural Care and Share Food Shelf will get $1 off admission.
Setup has been a nightmare. The haunt was originally slated to take place in a trio of tents at the 18th hole. When strong winds shredded the tents, Simmons decided to move the maze to the clubhouse. It will twist under awnings and between buildings in sections.
The golf course is adding a haunted hayride to this year’s event, which kicks off Friday. Visitors should dress for the weather. Simmons is looking for a few good scarers, as well. Volunteers willing to provide some heart-pounding fun at the maze can sign up at the clubhouse or through the business’ Facebook page.
Granquist encouraged everyone to visit this year’s haunt.
“If they want to get scared, this is the place,” she said.
The Haunt takes place from 7-10:30 p.m. Oct. 18-19, 25-26 and Nov. 1-2 at the Poplar Golf Course. Admission is $10; $1 off with a food donation. A non-scary haunt without actors takes place from 6-7 p.m. Saturdays. Cost is $5.