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A Stalk in the Park: Haunted Woods Combines Hotel, Maze and Other New Scares

The Orland Park Lions Club expanded again on their Halloween Haunted Woods this year with a whole new theme and other creative ways to get people to scream.

A hotel, subway, boathouse and a New York police car aren’t common sights in Orland Park.

But little is common about the Orland Park Lions Club’s Haunted Woods attraction either.

Last year, the club added a whole new dimension to the house at the end of the woods trail, with a maze entirely in the dark, use of black lights to make a room full of doll heads appear out of the darkness, walls that literally closed in on people and other mind trickery.

“The path might be the same, but we’re trying to create a different scene and atmosphere each year,” said Scott Copeland, of the Orland Park Lions Club and Prepared to Scare Productions. “The community has embraced us as an affordable haunt, and in return we want to give them a show.”

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This year, a dark maze appears closer to the beginning, followed by a playground that’s not exactly a happy place and onto a maintenance shop, with a man nearby who should be treated cautiously. Past the new boathouse, attendees will find it’s a lot easier to check into the new Park View Hotel than to get out. Whole arrays of new haunts await people in the hotel, Copeland said.

“All I can say is there is an elevator involved,” Copeland said. “There are a lot of cool effects.”

For over 20 years, the Lions Club have held the Haunted Woods to offer area residents an affordable attraction, while raising money to sustain their various charitable efforts and also to help stock the Orland Township Food Pantry. Admission for adults is $10, though a non-perishable can of food brought to the haunt leads to $2 off on admission.

“This haunted attraction is completely designed and haunted by volunteers,” Copeland wrote in a release. “It is the dedication from many volunteers who have helped for many years that makes this attraction such a success.”

Lions Club members Kevin McCabe, Jen Wlodarski and Copeland help lead the efforts, which begins with planning and research in January. A handful of volunteers formed Prepared to Scare Productions, studying potential haunt builds throughout the year.  Carl Sandburg High School students, Boy Scout Troop 378, Cub Scout Troop 383 and Orland Township Youth Commission members also participate.

Haunted Woods will also offer a children’s-themed Trick or Treat haunt on Saturday, Oct. 27 in the afternoon, with a toned down version of the woods.

Despite last weekend’s rainy weather, about 500 people came to enjoy the attraction. For the remaining two weekends, haunt organizers recommend dressing for any kind of weather.

“Every year there are brand new themes and haunts,” Copeland said. “It’s all about keeping it fresh.”

  • What: Orland Park Lions Club presents the Haunted Woods: A Stalk in the Park
  • When: 7 p.m.-11 p.m.  Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 25-27. Last tickets are sold at 10 p.m. Trick or Treat hours on Oct. 27 are 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
  • Where:14800 Ravinia Drive, south of the Orland Park Civic Center.
  • Price: $10 for adults, children under 5 admitted for free. $2 off with a can of non-perishable food. $3 admission for Trick or Treat.  VIP tickets available for $15 with reduced wait times (no discount available for VIP tickets).
  • Other info: Free parking available on site, and a concession stand will be running. For more information, visit the Lions Club website and Prepare to Scare online.

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Looking for more Halloween stories?

  • Enter to Win Tickets to the Orland Park Lions Club's Haunted Woods
  • Haunted Houses Abound in October
  • Enter to Win Patch’s Best Halloween Costume in America Contest

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