ROCKINGHAM — “Do you wanna get eaten?”
On any other day but All Hallows’ Eve, that might be an odd question for a 16-year-old to ask her 2-year-old cousin. That was, in fact, the question of the night Thursday for Scotland County residents Cheyanne Oxendine and young Kyron Tunstall as the two joined hundreds of others waiting in line for the opening of the eighth annual Trunk or Treat and Haunted House at Browder Park.
Both were dressed for the role; Oxendine selected an exquisitely divine outfit, including a sky-blue dress shirt and plenty of fake blood. Kyron opted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a detective with the Rockingham Police Department, and dressed as a junior police officer.
Kyron’s answer, for the record, made it known he’d rather do the eating — and of candy, not flesh.
That’s exactly what he and up to 4,000 other children and adults were able to do after visiting more than two dozen stations on the soccer pitch behind the Browder Park clubhouse. Then came phase two of the evening’s operation. The haunted house, organized by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and staff by employees and their teen-aged kids,
Kim Williams, events coordinator for the city, seemed an odd choice to oversee the — pardon the pun — execution of the haunted house. She’s a fan of Halloween, but her answer whether she’d subject herself to the horrors was answered with an emphatic “no.”
“I do not like to be scared,” Williams insisted.
Williams does, however, like to see children and adults alike have fun. That’s what was in store for them inside the clubhouse, which was converted into a handful of scenes from scary movies. Props and blood-spattered walls, chainsaws, fog and strobe lights played a supplemental role to the human engagement.
Scenes included Michael Myers from the Halloween cult fame, along with Freddy Krueger and, lastly, Beetlejuice. Some kids might not have known of the character, featured in a movie of the same name in 1988.
“They will by the end of the night,” said Mark Rohleder, of the city’s maintenance staff. “It’s pretty neat.”
Rohleder said approximately 1,500 people showed up the first year to the free event. Since then, “it has blown up” in popularity.