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Hales Ruritan promises new frights, fears

Hales Community Haunted Forest, now in its 27th year, received a makeover this year with brand new scenes guaranteed to add some extra fright to those who wander through.
Robb Phillips with Paranormal Technology Investigations, East Tennessee Ghost Tours, said nothing is going to be the same this year. He said they have added new actors, scenes and music to the annual event.
“Everybody is always coming in and saying we have been to that a hundred times; it is always the same and never changes. Over the years, it has died down because it stays the same,” Phillips said.
“This year, we are changing it all.”
The Haunted Forest, he said, will start off mild and build as individuals walk.
“The further you go back, the more horrifying it is going to be,” Phillips said.
He said the second and fourth scenes are probably the scariest.
The idea behind the change is to get rid of the gory body parts, clown and chainsaw scenes and create a new-age haunted attraction with spirits. One of the new scenes includes a funeral, which he said will include some more gruesome body parts.
“We are trying to base it on hauntings and things that people are interested in,” he said.
Instead of heavy metal songs, the event will feature haunted songs of the forest.
“We are making some serious changes and hoping it draws some big crowds,” Phillips said.
This year, the Hales Community Haunted Forest, located at 152 Hales Road, will be held Friday, Oct. 24, Saturday, Oct. 25, Thursday, Oct. 30, and Friday, Oct. 31. The attraction opens at 7:30 p.m. with the parking lot closing at midnight.
Phillips said the forest will not close until the last person makes it through the last scene.
Hales Community Ruritan Adam Borden said he hopes everyone comes out and checks out the new haunted forest. In years past, he said, the event typically attracted a lot of attendance from the community.
Tickets are $10 a person. Admission is free for children ages 7 and younger.
Borden said although the haunted forest has changed and evolved through the 27 years, he has been tickled with the outcome of what Paranormal Technology has done with the Halloween attraction.
“We kind of changed the direction based on feedback,” Borden said.
The funds collected from the Hales Community Haunted Forest, he said, goes toward helping families in the community. Borden said they also purchase dictionaries for third-grade classes in the Washington County school district, as well as provide assistance to local food pantries.
As a nonprofit organization, he said the money generated first goes toward operation expenses, and the rest gets put back into the community.
The Hales Community Haunted Forest is sponsored by many local businesses with Empire Oil being the main sponsor this year.