Chevy enthusiasts were among those who helped make the Haunted Woods this year.
That's why the front end of a 1956 Chevrolet jutted out at attendees at the 20th year's installment of the Orland Park Lions Club's Haunted Woods. Right as people thought they were finally past the haunts, two bright lights attached to a green rusting hood suddenly rolled out from behind a cloth.
"We like to give the customer something to look at," Bill McAdaragh said. "And it's fun collecting the stuff."
The Haunted Woods is an intensive labor of love. Before building the many parts of haunts throughout the woods — such as a cursed funeral, a creepy doctor's office and a masked chainsaw wielder's house — collecting materials goes year round, said Phil Bell, chairman of the Haunted Woods and a member of the Orland Park Lions Club.
Items for the woods are gathered from Craigslist, garage sales, Goodwill stores and even from participants' own homes, McAdaragh said.
"Last year was a lot of learning, but this year we really were able to add a lot," Bell said. "Using pulley systems, and the house we built at the end, we really made it our own. That was the best part for me."
The grand finale is a maze-like house full of sliding doors, creepy lighting and bizarre sights, all built by the participants in about three days before the woods open.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 378 and Cub Scout Troop 383, along with Lions Club members, Orland Township Youth Commission members, Carl Sandburg High School students and others helped in many different respects. From building the pieces, to installing displays, selling tickets, donning costumes and makeup to scare people in the woods, and gathering materials, the Woods takes hours of work on a lot of fronts.
With ticket prices at $8 or $2 with a can of non-perishable food, and children younger than 5 allowed in free, it was one of the more affordable haunts in Orland Park and Orland Hills in the days surrounding Halloween.
"We put in a lot of effort into the Haunted Woods, but it's not for our own profit," Bell said. "We keep it at a certain point where everyone can enjoy it, and it wouldn't cost a family a fortune to have fun."