Haunted Forest sends chills down spines

Xavier Strong

There’s something sinister haunting Forest Park.

Haunted Woods is held 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday of October at Forest Park in Topeka. The event is put on by Forest Park, the Jayhawk Council and the Boy Scouts of America, as well as other local organizations and volunteers. 

Forest Park dripped with horror on its opening weekend Saturday, Oct. 7. Bloodcurdling groans and screams of the undead pierced the night air to greet attendees. Hundreds of brave souls from across Kansas dared to enter the camp grounds and face the dozens of volunteer zombies awaiting them.The three thrilling main events featured at the event were the Haunted, Zombie Laser Tag and the Escape Rooms.

On the Haunted Trail, attendees followed a candlelit path through the Tulgey Woods as the undead terrorized and stalked those who dared to engage in the half mile hike. The climax of the trail ends in a horrifying maze and a chainsaw zombie attack. Admission costs $20 at the entrance, or $15 if purchased online. 

Adam Jenx of Jinxed Productions designed the Haunted Trail, and said that the trail is turning out to be everything he hoped it would be.

“I followed a group through just now and they screamed the whole way,” said Jenx.

The Zombie Laser Tag was everything one would want it to be: fast-paced, tense and high-action. In order to survive the hunt, attendees must shoot zombies as they claw at you from the surrounding foliage. If your gun jams or you forget to reload, you join the groaning horde of the undead. Friendly fire will also kill your teammates. Should you survive until the end of the hunt, the entire horde of zombies evolve from stumbling threats to terrifying runners to pursue you and get one last fright in. Sessions last up to five minutes and cost $5 per person for night sessions, or $4 per person for afternoon sessions between 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Haunted Forest also features three separate escape rooms. Designed by Keynundrum, a local business which specialize in escape rooms, the nerve-wracking series of puzzles delighted teams as they attempted to escape their creepy confines before the 20 minute timer ran out. Each session costs $10 per person for night sessions, or $8 for afternoon sessions between 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Mark Arganbright started the Haunted Woods fundraiser in the hopes that it would become an annual event to benefit Forest Park. He said that it has been largely a community effort to bring Topekans together, with the support of The Topeka Army Recruiters, Jinx Productions, Visit Topeka, KSNT News, V100 Rock and Keynundrum.