"This year, we have added a haunted trail section and a claustrophobic squeeze tunnel that is 16 feet long," said Tom Sheets, Haunted Barn director. "The haunt will last longer, with lots of surprises from professional actors, who will play on every one of your worst fears! If you thought chainsaws and a butcher with real meat were scary last year, that will be the least of your worries this year. The Haunted Barn will play on all of your senses so you will not know which way to run!"
The Halloween Festival and Zombie Run organized last year as a new fundraiser for the Signal Mountain Middle/High School Sports Boosters were an instant hit. Event chairperson Amy Speek was thrilled with the success of last year’s Zombie Run and Halloween Festival.
"When I saw shuttle buses full of people still arriving at 8 p.m., and the line wrapped around the property for the Haunted Barn, I knew we hit it out of the park!" Speek said of the inaugural event.
The Zombie Run takes place on Saturday, October 28, and will include a 1-mile not-so-scary run or walk starting at 5 p.m. near the McCoy House. The 5K trail run starts at 5:30 p.m., with zombies thirsty to grab flags off your flag belt.
Any runner that finishes with a flag is considered a "survivor," and if not, that runner is "infected." Costumes are encouraged.
The cost for the Zombie Run is $35 per runner on race day, and all registrants will be guaranteed a race T-shirt. The first 300 registrants will also be guaranteed flags.
"I thought the trail and the run course were perfect," said Curt Koontz, a local physician and Ironman finisher. "It was really fun to have the zombies coming out of the woods as we ran. The property is beautiful, and then to be able to celebrate at the festival afterward really made it a wonderful experience. I can't wait for this year!"
Race director and local runner Eden Lusk said there were more than 300 people race participants last year, including runners from Atlanta and the Tennessee Valley. "It was exciting to witness all different types of running enthusiasts and ages, from fun runners to those who compete in several races a year," Lusk said.
You don’t have to run though to have fun at the Halloween festival, which starts at 5 p.m. and ends around 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 28. Shuttles start at 4 p.m. with continuous pick-ups at Walden Commons, Berkshire Hathaway/Subway parking lot and Pruett's Grocery. There will be a less scary version of the Haunted Barn, in addition to smashing pumpkin baseball, human inflatable foosball, a bounce house, cotton candy, pie in the face, ring toss, football toss and many other kid carnival games and refreshments. The movie "It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" will be shown on the side of a barn throughout the night, with hay bales providing seats for kids and families.
Various food trucks, including Chick-Fil-A and Grilled Cheese Emergency, will be on site Saturday. A beer garden and wine vineyard will also be set up in a separate entertainment area for adults, where college football games will be on big screens.
Paige Smith said last year’s event blew her away. “The attention to detail was amazing! There was literally something for everyone,” she said. Her family didn’t want the evening to end.
"What I love most about this becoming an annual event is that it’s truly more about bringing our community and families together," Speek said, noting that the event attracts many families from off the mountain, as well.
Festival armbands for unlimited activities (haunted house, concessions and food trucks excluded) will be sold for $40 until October 17 and will be $50 during the Saturday event. Individual tickets can also be purchased on the day of the event, so bring cash.
Go to signalzombierun.com to register for the race, buy advance tickets and check all information.