The student news site of Downers Grove North High School

DGN Omega

The student news site of Downers Grove North High School

DGN Omega

The student news site of Downers Grove North High School

DGN Omega

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Happy halloween: Woodridge Haunted Forest Walk review

Alayna Todnem

To say I hate haunted houses would be a lie; however, it is a truth that when I attend one, I refuse to lead. Instead, I am found in the middle of the group, clutching onto whoever was unlucky enough to be in front of me. I enjoy the thrill of haunted houses, but only after the whole event is over.


Surprisingly, I have not frequented the Woodridge Haunted Forest Walk, even though it is two minutes away from my home in Hawthorne Hill Woods. The Haunted Forest Walk, which has been a tradition for many years now, is hosted October 20th and 21st by the Woodridge Park District and various other local groups, such as the Boy Scouts. There are two times when one can attend; a day option, which the Woodridge Park District website recommends for children 9 and under, and a night option, which starts at 6:30. 


The one time in elementary school that I attended the day walk, I remember being fairly scared and in awe that other people my age were unafraid throughout the whole walk This year, I chose to attend the night walk in hopes of refreshing my memory and viewing the event without the lens of a little girl clutching to her siblings. 



Hoping to go through the walk not too late, my friends and I headed over to the Woodridge Park District, where tickets were sold. Snacks and candy are also available for purchase for people to eat while waiting for the hayride which brings people to Hawthorne Hill Woods.



We stepped into a long line, which wound out the back door and around the playground beside the pond behind the Park District. Looking around, there were many different age groups and types of people. A majority of the audience were families with small children. Many of these kids, brave enough to walk through the dark woods, were dressed in Halloween costumes. Multiple groups of middle schoolers and a few groups of high schoolers and adults were also present. 

SPOOKED OUT: Kids take pictures with scarers while waiting in line for the Haunted Forest Walk.
(Alayna Todnem)


The line moved excruciatingly slowly. Eventually, the volunteer workers stopped letting people into the line, presumably because the event was set to stop at 9:30. One thing to help pass the time was a volunteer scarer who wore a gas mask and metal knee and feet pads. The volunteer  slid on the ground and scared people waiting in line. Another worker, near the front of the group, did magic tricks to keep the crowd engaged during the long wait. 



Finally, after almost an hour and a half of waiting, we got to the front of the line. Sitting on straw hay bales in the wagon and hearing Halloween music playing from a small speaker set the mood. The wagon slowly brought us to our final destination, and anticipation grew as we neared the start of the haunted forest walk. 



Volunteer workers at the entrance let groups into the walk in intervals. This allowed for our experience to be mostly held within our own group, which we appreciated. We continued through the walk, which consisted of multiple tents or sections of different scary scenes. They ranged from a haunted school with a lunch lady serving “human guts” to a haunted cemetery with “live” ghosts. The walk was very interactive as there were many scarers (both young kids and adults) who would try to jump scare or even follow people. Feeling safe enough to lead, likely due to the short stature of many of the scarers, we finished the walk in record time. To make this experience more unique, people are able to vote for which section was their favorite at the end of the walk.


Was the long wait worth it?

I think having the different sections made a successful haunted walk because it allowed for a range of different levels of scary. It was clear that this experience was for a younger audience based on the amateur designs of the haunted sections and the unprofessional skills of the volunteer workers. I wish I had gone to this local haunted forest walk more often as a kid, since now this is the type of haunted house where I don’t mind being the one in the lead.

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About the Contributor
Alayna Todnem
Alayna Todnem, Opinion Editor
Ready for her first year with Omega, junior Alayna Todnem is excited to be an opinion editor. When not struggling to find story ideas, she can be found running cross country and track, watching her current movie or show obsession (Parks and Rec at the moment!), or wasting money on every wavy hair product she sees. For questions or movie recommendations, feel free to reach out to [email protected]

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