Ghouls, witches and clowns scare up a storm for a good cause

EAGLE LAKE, Maine — A chilly evening and creepy clowns did little to deter approximately 500 people from taking on this year’s Eagle Lake Fire Department Haunted Forest, Saturday. Organizers had promised a bigger and even more frightening event this year, which seemed evident by the scary sounds and flickering lights emanating from deep within the town forest. 

High school freshman Ethan Bouley of Fort Kent, was in line with some friends, waiting for his turn to enter the ghoulish woods.

“I’m not scared,” he said. “Just anxious.”

“I m looking forward to everything, and watching some people get a scare,” said his friend Lance Daigle.

These witches stirred up a scary brew, Saturday night, as part of the Eagle Lake Haunted Forest. (Don Eno)

The annual event serves as a fundraiser, with all of the proceeds going to the fire department. On Monday, organizers were still tallying up the final amount raised.

“We had a great turnout, and people for the most part were very respectful,” organizer Robert St. Germain, a self-proclaimed Halloween lover, said Monday.

Germain was adamant that his volunteers, most of whom were in costume, not touch people as they were guided through the forest, and he expected the same behaviour from participants.

Bouley’s mother, Cindy, who went through the haunted forest on Saturday with her son and his friends, said that while there were some scares and graphic stations along the way, she was not overly frightened by the experience.

“I laughed all the way through,” she said Monday. “I had a few jumps.”

Bouley said her favorite part was the station with a live horse.

“The boys thought is wasn’t real at first,” she said. “When it moved, they jumped.”

The line of participants grew Saturday night, as more and more people arrived, with cars being parked all along both sides of Devoe Brook Road.

Helping to prepare people for the frights ahead, masked clowns and jesters prowled the parking lot, sometimes saddling up quietly to those waiting. Screams and laughs could be heard all night, even before participants walked into the dark forest.

“We were told that many people enjoyed it,” St. Germain said. The event started at about 7 p.m. and “we stayed open till about 11:45 p.m.”

St. Germain said the expanded forest event this year was made possible by the addition of several local sponsors with more than $2,000 raised, mainly from local merchants, to help pay for props and decorations to put on the show. There were about 40 stations or themes set up along the nearly half-mile of path through the forest.

This year, organizers also reduced the event from two nights to one, and moved it from October to September, to make the presentation easier logistically for the volunteers and to take advantage of anticipated warmer weather.

“And, a huge thank you to all the volunteers that helped make this event happen,” St. Germain added.

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