‘Val­ley of the Haunted’ at­trac­tion raises money for Boys and Girls Club

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRAD KRONER

Spe­cial from the Bar­gaineer

— Two hun­dred years ago, in the woods of north­ern Harford County, a mur­der­ous mother named Mary went miss­ing af­ter she butchered her chil­dren one by one for food, when the fam­ily’s food sup­ply be­came scarce.

You can still hear her sin­is­ter lul­la­bies in Camp Hid­den Val­ley in White Hall to­day.

At least, that’s how the leg­end goes, ac­cord­ing to the team be­hind the Val­ley of the Haunted, Harford County’s new­est haunted at­trac­tion.

Dwayne Noe, Camp Hid­den Val­ley’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, said com­ing up with the story was a team ef­fort.

WHITE HALL

“Sev­eral peo­ple in the main of­fice had sick minds — no I’m kid­ding,” he joked.

The staff comes up with a dif­fer­ent theme each year, Noe said.

“This year, they’re all starv­ing and mom is eat­ing them all,” he said. “It’s a lit­tle dark and deep and very sick. Twisted minds. I tell [the staff] that reg­u­larly.”

While the story be­hind the val­ley is sin­is­ter, the cause be­hind the at­trac­tion is more char­i­ta­ble.

“It’s a fundraiser for a non­profit,” he said, ex­plain­ing that all of the pro­ceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County. “That’s our sole mis­sion.”

The club helps pro­vide a safe place for kids to learn and grow while par­tic­i­pat­ing in “life-en­hanc­ing pro­grams and char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment ex­pe­ri­ences,” ac­cord­ing to the club’s web­site.

The kids pay $20 a year to go to the Boys and Girls Club ev­ery­day af­ter school where they can re­ceive tu­tor­ing and play games, Noe said.

“They can be safe un­til 6:30 or 7:00 at night when mom and dad are get­ting home. And many of them are fed din­ner. Not only are they be­ing kept safe and kept off the streets, they’re be­ing fed din­ner to keep them healthy as well as ac­tive and safe,” he said.

In its se­cond year of op­er­a­tion, the Val­ley of the Haunted has seen sig­nifi- cant growth.

“Last week­end was our first week­end, and we had 568 come out on Fri­day and Satur­day night and 500 come out to Lit­tle Haunt on Sun­day,” Noe said. “We’ve dou­bled last year’s to­tal on how many peo­ple came here.”

The key, he said, was ad­ver­tis­ing and word of mouth.

“We ad­ver­tised bet­ter this year, and word got out,” he said.

Noe said that the at­trac­tion is “rea­son­ably priced,” of­fer­ing a good bang for the buck.

“It’s not as ex­pen­sive as other at­trac­tions,” he said.

Camp Hid­den Val­ley re­lies on a mostly vol­un­teer staff to op­er­ate the haunted at­trac­tion.

“We have a huge vol­un­teer staff,” Noe said. “We only have three em­ploy­ees at camp that are year round.”

Noe added that they have the per­fect venue for a haunted at­trac­tion.

“You’re walk­ing through an ac­tual day camp,” he ex­plained. “You’re there walk­ing through the woods in a very se­cluded area. You are not any­where near civ­i­liza­tion.”

The at­trac­tion, which isn’t rec­om­mended for chil­dren un­der 10, fea­tures a 1.2 mile long walk­ing trail through the woods that is sprawl­ing with ghosts and zom­bies. The at­trac­tion runs the last three week­ends in Oc­to­ber. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit val­ley­ofthe­haunted.com.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF “VAL­LEY OF THE HAUNTED”

Val­ley of the Haunted raises money for the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County.

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