By Rick Palsgrove
For most of the year, Groveport’s Blacklick Park is a pastoral, tranquil place, but for two days this October it will become foreboding and haunted.
On Oct 20 and 21 from 7:30-11 p.m. the park will host the “City of Groveport Blacklick Haunted Park” where ghouls, monsters, and other assorted things that go bump in the night will be there to give visitors a Halloween fright.
Three friends who share a love of Halloween – Bruce Smith, Scott Clinger, and Larry Geis – came up with the idea for the haunted park as a way to raise money for Groveport Madison Human Needs and the Groveport Food Pantry while also providing an outlet for frightening fun.
“Each of us has set up elaborate ‘haunted houses’ at our own homes during trick-or-treat and we always wanted to do something bigger like this,” said Smith.
Added Geis, “All three of us get to check something off our bucket list by creating this.”
Smith noted that one year the scariest thing at his house on Beggar’s Night was himself.
“One time I was in costume and took off my mask and a kid saw my normal face and he screamed and ran!” laughed Smith.
The three friends pride themselves on their Halloween skills.
“We’re the masters of distraction,” said Clinger, who said a key to a good haunted house or haunted park is creativity and providing the unexpected.
Smith said it will take the group, along with some other friends, a couple of days to set up the haunted Blacklick Park, which will include an approximately 80×40 foot area featuring 15 to 20 relentlessly scary monsters, fearsome scenes, and eerie music.
“We have so much scary gear we forgot we even had some of it,” said Smith.
In addition to an enclosed haunted area, Geis said, “It’s also an open air scare with monsters popping out of trees and bushes.”
When asked why they like Halloween, Geis said, “Fall’s my favorite time of year. It’s a time of bonfires and roasting marshmallows and also of vampires and werewolves. My wife likes Christmas. I’m Halloween.”
Clinger likes the change of the season and the scary movies that get shown this time of year.
“Like ‘The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,’” said Smith with a smile.
Though Smith, Clinger, and Geis will be giving out scares at the haunted park, they also have their own Halloween style fears.
“Spiders!” said Smith.
“Bats. I don’t like it when they’re flying overhead,” said Clinger.
“I don’t like snakes!” said Geis.
Clinger said he has high hopes for success for the haunted park.
“This is going to be great,” said Clinger. “We hope to make a lot of money for charity and for everyone to have fun.”
“We want some screamers!” added Smith.
Admission to the City of Groveport Blacklick Haunted Park is $5 per person for all ages. However, organizers state the event is “very scary” so parental discretion is advised. In addition, Smith said if you bring a City of Blacklick Haunted Park flyer to Little Italy restaurant on Groveport’s Main Street on Oct. 20, 21, and 22, Little Italy will donate 10 percent of your order to Groveport Madison Human Needs and the Groveport Food Pantry.
Blacklick Park, 799 Blacklick St., is located at the eastern end of Blacklick Street in Groveport. Parking is available in the park’s small parking lot as well as in the large, nearby municipal parking lot located near Ace Hardware.
For information call (614) 836-3333.