Bigfoot, ghouls provide frights for Halloween

NEIGHBORS

November 02, 1993|By MAUREEN RICE

On the average day, you won't find Bigfoot anywhere near Carroll County, but Halloween brings out the strangest creatures.

Bigfoot stalked men, women and children Friday night at the McKeldon area of Patapsco State Park in Marriottsville.

Some, especially the very young, were actually frightened, but most roared back and continued on their way undaunted.

Bigfoot may not return next year, but the other spooks and hauntings probably will, in what will be the 12th annual Halloween Spook Hike at the park.

"This program has been very successful for the past 10 years," said Ranger Neil Herrick, "but this time, at the 11th annual Spook Hike, we have a private sponsor. We've never had one before, but we really wanted to prepare a quality evening for the community."

Two years ago the hike didn't take place because the park's budget didn't have the money, although the volunteers were willing.

"The maintenance staff and a lot of volunteers put the hike together," Mr. Herrick said. "They put a lot of time into it. And having the private sponsor means that we've got the ability to really make a quality event."

When you're talking spook hikes, quality means volunteers so well-dressed that I saw grown-ups jump with surprise. I even saw a woman so wrapped up in the spirit of the evening that she jumped when a ranger strolled by -- in his uniform!

I saw gravediggers. I saw ghouls. I saw a nun I took to be a statue -- until she suddenly stepped toward me. Yes, I jumped.

I saw headstones, eyes glowing in the trees, and the Big Bad Wolf. I saw headless bodies hanging, sprawled on the ground and leaping out from behind trees.

I saw children clutching their parents' hands -- and I know that some of those hands ached from the clutch, because mine did, too.

"I really enjoyed it," said Mike Shenk, a Sykesville resident. "I wish I'd had my camera. I thought it was really well done, and they were very sensitive to the kids who really were scared. One of the spooks took off her mask to show my daughter that it really was just-pretend."

Mike Shenk, 8, thought it was scary, but enjoyed it anyway.

"I'm going to write a story about it in school," he said. "I liked the vampire and the gravedigger, and I liked eating the pizza."

Many enjoyed a slice of pizza as they waited to stroll under the eerie castle front that marked the beginning of the hike. The pizza (you guessed it -- Bigfoot) was donated by Pizza Hut, which sponsored the hike.

Missed it? What a shame. Don't miss it next year.

*

The vampires walked Sunday, but if they didn't get your blood, plan to join the students at Liberty High School in Eldersburg and give some to the Red Cross.

Jennifer Barvir, Student Government Association historian, has organized a blood drive to be held in the auxiliary gym there Nov. 10, starting at 8 a.m.

"We're hoping to bring in at least 50 donors," Ms. Barvir said. "We've done this before, and we've always had a good response."

Anyone 17 or older who weighs more than 117 pounds is eligible to give blood, and many of the seniors intend to do so.

"We have a really big turnout of the kids every year," said Shelly Bailey, one of the school's secretaries. "They're really looking forward to this."

The older students can sign up in their homerooms, and you can call the school for an appointment if you'd like one. Walk-ins will be welcome, of course.

All of the seniors will view a movie on Monday that should calm pre-donor nerves and explain just what happens to your blood when you give it to the Red Cross, including how it is tested and sent to the ultimate recipient.

"I've never given before," Ms. Barvir said. "Last year I was too young, but I helped out with the blood drive anyway. We do this twice a year, and the SGA needed someone to organize it, so I agreed to do it.

"Since I'm old enough to give blood now, I'll donate as well as help sign people up when they come in."

To make an appointment, call the school at 795-8100.

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