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Frite Nite: Almost 2,000 take on riding stables’ Trail of Nightmares

Zombies join the fun at the Trail of Nightmares at the Fort Rucker Riding Stables Frite Night Oct. 25. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Zombies join the fun at the Trail of Nightmares at the Fort Rucker Riding Stables Frite Night Oct. 25. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: October 30, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 30, 2014) -- Werewolves, zombies, killer clowns and even a headless horseman awaited hundreds of thrill seekers during Fort Rucker’s scariest night out.

Organizers deemed the Fort Rucker Riding Stables’ Frite Night a huge success, terrifying about 1,900 people during its two-night engagement, according to Aida Stallings, business manager for the community recreation division.

“Friday night we had about 700 people come and Saturday was busy, with about 1,200, which for us is great in a four-hour window for each night,” she said.

Before embarking on the Trail of Nightmares, people waited in line by the hundreds outside the mouth of a giant clown – the entrance to the spectacle.

As people boarded the trailer to head to the entrance of the trail, they were tailed by a headless horsemen who set the tone for a proper spooky night.

As they entered the trail, they were greeted by werewolves who chased trail walkers into a webbed nightmare – a tunnel completely made of webs, and some were in for a surprise as a giant spider fell from the trees right onto its unfortunate victims.

“Spiders are one of my biggest fears, so the part of the trail where the spider came down got me,” said Jeremy Kegan, military family member. “I couldn’t stop laughing after that because how much it made me and my friends jump – it was so great!”

People also had the chance to go through the boogeyman’s home, a haunted cemetery, the Maze of Screams and take a turn under the big top.

“They really went all out this year,” said Amy Riften, civilian. “I was surprised at how long the actual trail was and the way they fixed everything up was just crazy. It was really creepy and I absolutely hate clowns! There were so many clowns, but I really had a great time and I’ll be coming back next year for sure.”

Stallings said it was important that everyone who attended had a good time and one satisfied customer, Kamal McCune, veteran and wounded warrior, said everyone involved made sure he and his wife, Kristal, had a top-notch experience.

“Aida stayed with us the whole time and the (military police officers) were great,” said McCune. “They even moved some of their props to help us through.

“It was so freaky,” he continued. “I’m from Detroit, Michigan, and I’ve been to haunted houses and hay rides up there, but this was way better. I can tell they put a lot of effort into it and it was great.”

That effort was the combined work of 234 volunteers who donated their own personal time to make sure that Frite Night went off without a hitch, said Stallings.

“I had volunteers from Soldiers to retirees to patrons (of the riding stables) and families come out to help put on this production,” she said. “Our Wiregrass community is just the best, and this production took staff and volunteers about four months of planning and building.”

Stallings said the most challenging part was coordinating with the actor-volunteers to make sure all the scenes were manned at all times, so that all patrons were able to get the full experience.

When the people going through the production are happy, that’s what makes it all worthwhile, she said.

“The most rewarding part is all the positive comments that we receive as our guests exit the last part of our event, and the smiles, the laughter and just them talking about the experience,” said the business manager.

“Halloween is my favorite time of year,” said Kegan. “I can’t believe how much they actually put into something like this. I’m really glad they did, because it made my Halloween experience just that much better.”

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/137284/

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