Petrified Forest


Photo provided by: Rylee Malloy

One of the actors that walked around wore a snake around his neck and put on fire shows for guests. He also participated in scaring people waiting in the line.

Ashley Weston, News Reporter

The Petrified Forest is an annual Halloween event that celebrated its 13th year of horror with new COVID-19 guidelines. The event had three haunted houses that are made as trails outside, there is no roof as there are temporary walls put up for the event and objects or more half walls and props for hiding places for actors or added effects.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the lines were longer than past years as the actors and customers used to be able to walk around freely while waiting, but this year only the actors could walk around the long curved line. The houses were done quickly and in order, once a group would leave a house they would walk around an extremely short line into the next one after getting more hand sanitizer. The main line took time, but the actors were constantly moving around.

“The wait was pretty long but they kept us entertained with the people jumping at us,” sophomore Mercedes Donahue said. “I think I got enough entertainment outside of the houses. There was a lot of them and everytime they walked by they never missed trying to scare me and my friends.”

Actors walked around scaring people with things like loud tasers or they towered above people on stilts. The jumpscares start before entering the houses and the inside is filled with actors and props to make every turn and sound thrilling.

“There was a guy that had been following us and banging on a pan of some sort,” freshman Ellie Martin said. “I did not like that one bit. There was a guy walking around with a snake, I think it was a python, and he kept putting it up to people. I despise snakes very much.”

The houses were highly rated for their quality and planning, multiple people noted that they enjoyed the fog with green lighting spread across in a section of the second house. Everyone had their own way of getting through the houses as Donahue chose to try and ignore the actors to not get targeted while others may have screamed back at the actors to challenge them. Each person’s experience is different as no walk through is the same with the different scares and reactions.

“The houses were really dark, but what you could see were realistic,” Donahue said. “There was this one house where we had to walk on a bridge and the “monsters” would touch our feet or ankles and that was really scary, or when they follow you around the house.”

Adjusting to the mandates made for a new experience for the actors and customers returning. Everyone had to contribute to the mandates to make the event work according to guidelines to limit potential problems or complications with customers’ experiences or actors’ scarring while still partaking in them.

“Last year we didn’t have COVID so it was much different,” Martin said. “Everyone was required to wear a mask, and they sectioned people into lines instead of letting them walk around. They did all wear masks and honestly, I hardly noticed. It felt almost like it was a part of the whole attraction.”