‘Valley of the Haunted’ attraction raises money for Boys and Girls Club
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.
“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.
Valley of the Haunted raises money for the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County.