** This review was published in 2012. For the most up to date event information including accurate hours, dates, admission visit Lindenhurst Park District **
Central to the event is the Haunted Trail which winds through the woods and consists of several scenes which are staffed by volunteers from various local organizations including the Jaycees, Cub/Boy Scouts, and different school groups. Admission to the path is just $1 per person. Let me tell you these groups go all out! I was so impressed by the creativity and effort put into the scenes by the volunteers. Remember the Halloween episodes from Roseanne? These are just as good. WARNING: It’s definitely a scary haunted trail complete with blood and gore so use your best judgement in knowing how much your little ones can handle.
We attended the earlier trail walk (first starts at 4:30 pm the second starts at 6:30 pm thinking the daylight would make it less scary. Even in the daylight it was pretty gruesome, but zombies and murderous clowns tend to seem less frightening when they are offering candy aplenty. Bring a bag to collect it all. The ghouls aren’t stingy in handing out candy. The night time trail is said to be exactly the same, but I’m sure the darkness lends to the creepy factor so I’ll leave that for when the kids are older.
After we hit the trail, there were lots of other activities. We purchased tickets for $0.50 each and redeemed a few for kiddie games like bucket toss or fishing. Kid-friendly body art was also available like face painting, temporary tattoos, and airbrushed hair-dye. If you’re hungry, use your tickets for goodies at the “Witch’s Kitchen” for anything from candy to a big bowl of chili. My family of four managed quite well with only $10 worth of tickets. Along with the $3 for the trail (baby was free) it was a night well spent on only $13, complete with hot cocoa, a sugar cookie, and popcorn to share.
We thoroughly enjoyed the wagon ride through McDonald Woods. It was a zippy ride as wagon rides go and the kids enjoyed the quick turns and zooming up and down hills. I was surprised at the speed but enjoyed it all the same. It definitely offered the prettiest views of any fall wagon ride I’ve been on. The scenery in McDonald Woods is simply breathtaking. The cost is just $1 per person but you can ride free by donating canned goods for the Lake Villa food pantry.
The fun keeps going at this party. You can let the kids burn through their sugar on the moon bounce or grab a hay bale and park yourself in front of the stage. Performances throughout the evening included storytellers, music, juggling, caricatures, magic, and a costume contest. A fire engine and ambulance were also on display and my kids were delighted to walk away with plastic firefighter helmets. Simply the perfect complement to their Pumpkin and Transformer costumes!
No bonfire that day due to winds, but normally the fire would begin after dusk.
Overall, not only a fun time, but a well run event as well. I felt they had good crowd control and despite long lines the staff was able to keep things moving. Even parking wasn’t so bad. Still, with little ones I find it best to come early and leave early and leave the night time crowds for the bigger kids. We plan to attend annually and I look forward to when the kids are old enough to brave the trail at night – BUWAHAHAHA!!!!