Project Graduation’s Haunted Trail returns Oct. 19

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By Elisabeth Moore

Winding trails, fake blood and masked figures hidden in areas that you would least expect it. As textbooks are traded out for spell books and school wear for costumes, the Owen County senior class prepares for their second annual Haunted Trail.
Located in the fields by Itron, the Haunted Trail is a one of a kind experience created by Owen County Coroner Mark Garnett as a fundraiser for Project Graduation. With the help of the seniors and their parents, the trail is now entering its second year in Owen County.
“We were having a meeting one night, and we were just trying to find ways to raise money,” Garnett said. “It was getting close to October when it just hit me, let’s do a haunted house. It just took off from there.”
The Haunted Trail began in 2016 when Garnett was tasked with finding a fundraiser to help his daughter in the senior class. Originally, Garnett sought to make a haunted house, but once he walked by Itron, he said a haunted trail made more sense.
While creating the first Haunted Trail, Garnett gathered other parents of the seniors to help form an affordable and family-friendly trail that could cater to all of Owen County. As the trail was being built, Garnett also enlisted the help of Halloween Express, who sponsored the trail by donating thousands of dollars worth of Halloween costumes and props that would be used throughout the trail.
With costumes, props and a trail coming together, it wasn’t long until Garnett and the other parents were able to spread the word about a haunted trail coming to Owen County. By the end of their hauntings in 2016, the Haunted Trail led roughly 1,000 people through, which raised almost $5,000 for Project Graduation.
“Originally, we wanted to have a haunted house and we looked everywhere to try and find buildings and stuff like that, but we couldn’t get access to anything,” Garnett said. “Me and my wife had been walking out there (near Itron) and it just hit me. I thought ‘nobody has ever done a haunted trail here before.’”
This year, the Haunted Trail will be combining the costumes and props from last year with a new and improved trail that is bigger and longer than before. Admission for the trail is the same $5 as the previous year, but a $15 fast pass was added for those who do not want to wait in line.
While Halloween approaches, Garnett said he would like to create a trail that can draw people into Owen County instead of people driving elsewhere to find other Halloween events. In turn, this will allow the trail to grow in size and even more money can be raised for Project Graduation.
“(Haunted houses) are just so popular now,” Garnett said, “I mean, people are going to different counties in groups and are hitting each place. Last year, we had people from Frankfort and all different counties.”
While the trail itself has gotten bigger, more was added to the event itself, like a corn maze. There will also be food catered by Rick Wilhoite and a redesigned front entrance so participants will not have to wait as long to enter the trail.
“I’ve always just loved Halloween ever since I was a kid,” Garnett said. “The group of us together that are doing this, it seems like we all had a blast and we’ve gotten so close. The parents from last year that helped might have been people that we hardly talked to or maybe just didn’t know. But after it was all over with, everyone was best of friends.”
The Haunted Trail will be open from 7:30-11 p.m., Oct. 19; 7:30 p.m.-midnight, Oct. 20-21; 7:30 p.m.-midnight, Oct. 27-28; 7:30-11 p.m., Oct. 30 and 7:30 p.m.-midnight, Oct. 31.
If you have any questions, visit “Haunted Trail – Owen County Project Graduation” on Facebook.