Halloween tradition grows

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
The home of Junior Trail in Madison Township is a spooky place every Halloween.

It looks like a typical suburban home, but, for the last six Halloweens, the backyard of a house on Clearwater Drive in Madison Township has taken on the ghostly presence of a haunted house.

"Six years ago my daughter felt like she had gotten too old to go trick-or-treating, so she suggested we do something for the neighborhood kids," said Junior Trail, co-creator of the haunted house. "A lot of the professional haunted houses are too expensive for some kids to visit. We wanted to do this for the kids who can’t afford those places. Kids can come to ours for free and it’s safer."

Trail, and co-creator Mike Schweinsberg of Groveport, began working five to six nights a week on this year’s haunted house in August. The enclosed complex – complete with eerie sounds and lights and several chambers filled with ghostly beings – winds for 125 feet through Trail’s entire backyard.
"It gets bigger every year," said Trail.

An unforeseen problem arose this year when the whipping winds of Hurricane Ike on Sept. 14 destroyed their work and they had to start over.

"The neighbors were worried we wouldn’t be able to finish it in time this year, but we did," said Trail.

Trail said the haunted house is popular with young and old.

"The kids line up for blocks to get in," he said.

Schweinsberg said the haunted house is appropriate for all ages.

"We like to give parents and teenagers a fright, but we lay low for the little kids so they don’t get too scared," said Schweinsberg. "It’s all in fun."

When Halloween is over Trail and Schweinsberg will take a couple of weeks to dismantle the haunted house and store it away till next year.

"It takes all summer for the grass in the yard to grow back, but then we do it again," laughed Trail.

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