Slight Fright at Markoff’s

By: Whitney de Valroger Managing Editor

Halloween comes but once a year, and what better way to spend the holiday than being scared on a haunted trail? Unfortunately the trail in question, Markoff’s Haunted Forest in Poolsville, MD, did not necessarily frighten me beyond giving me a few thrills.

Markoff’s Haunted Forest is a Halloween staple for many thrill seekers. The 19 year old attraction is open the entire month of October and boasts giant bonfires, food, and scares. However, my experience left me asking, “Where were the scares?”

After being assigned a number at the admissions gate, an open waiting area with large bonfires awaits you. While you wait for you number to be called, activities like a zip line and “Death Jump” are available for additional fees. Once your group is summoned, you and your group embark on one of two trails filled with costumed ghouls and what some may consider freaky decorations, although personally, I was not wowed.

The scares of the trails rely mostly on the antics of actors dressed in various costumes. From swamp men to deranged clowns to chainsaw wielding maniacs, the actors played their roles well, never breaking character and always trying to scare my group. While screams of fright were heard from other trail goers, I could not help but laugh the whole time.

I am not the type that is frightened easily; I find these events more entertaining than frightening. The sudden appearance of a ghoulish zombie does not startle me, and any fear that does grip me rapidly dissipates. Once over the initial fear, I soon realize I am in no real danger and sit back to enjoy the show.

I was most entertained with the reactions of females in my group rather than the scares the trail offered. Their expressions of fear are priceless and spark a smile on my face instead of a scream.

I do applaud the decorations used along the trail. From a spooky fog-filled graveyard to an animatronic dragon, the props were the highlight of the outing.

The haunted trail is open until the end of the month, Thursday through Halloween Monday. I recommend going in a group of no more than 6 (scare-able) people. If you scare easily, then I highly recommend a visit. If not, stay inside and watch Evil Dead. See more information at www.