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Scouts seek to spook at haunted greenhouse

Members of Boy Scout Troop 212 and volunteers set up a graveyard scene Sunday, Sept. 23, for The Haunt at Wentworth Gardens, which begins Saturday, Sept. 29, in the town of Amnicon. They are, left to right, Ryan Granquist, Jack Huber, Noah Korpi, Willem Hoegen and Kaleb Dickson. This is the fourth year the troop has held the Halloween haunt. It took place in an Oulu barn its first two years, then moved to Wentworth Gardens. Maria Lockwood/mlockwood@superiortelegram.com

With Duluth's Haunted Ship in hiatus this year, a troop of Boy Scouts is encouraging thrillseekers to take explore an Amnicon greenhouse filled with spooks.

"Most phobias you can think of we have here," said Willem Hoegen, 16, assistant patrol leader of Troop 212. "We have tight spaces, loud noises, spiders, red lights, strobe lights ..."

Add dolls, clowns, a spinning vortex, a hall of cloaked figures and a midway streaming with fake blood.

"If they want to come out and be scared, here's the place to come," project leader Brenda Granquist said.

The entire haunt is indoors, housed in 7,000 square feet of greenhouse space at Wentworth Gardens. Visitors are sent through the maze in small groups, instead of a steady stream, to maximize the scare potential

"It's a much better experience for people," said Ryan Granquist, 16, senior patrol leader.

The scouts have added new props from the now-defunct Iron River Fire Department haunted house to the event and researched local attractions to see how theirs stacks up.

"Having been through the Haunted Ship and Haunted Shack, definitely something that sets us apart are the different ways we scare people," said Noah Korpi, a non-scout who has been volunteering at the troop's Halloween fundraiser for years. "It's a lot more than just a 'jump scare.'"

The Haunt at Wentworth Gardens, right off U.S. Highway 2 about 10 minutes out of Superior, relies heavily on costumed volunteers instead of animatronics.

"Actors who are very animated and very good at what they do when it comes to scaring," said Kaleb Dickson, who's been involved in the annual haunt since it began.

That gives them the flexibility to mix things up if someone shows up for a second trip through the maze.

"We'd love for them to come back," Ryan Granquist said.

Due to popular demand, the troop has added non-scary walkthroughs of the greenhouse every Saturday from 6-7 p.m. Everyone who brings a nonperishable food item for the Rural Care and Share Food Shelf gets a $2 discount.

"We set out to do this to really raise funds for the kids to enjoy the adventures of scouting," Brenda Granquist said.

Last year, the haunt netted about $5,000. A portion went to fund troop projects and trips; part was doled out to volunteers on a per-hour basis. Korpi donated his proceeds last year to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

They also collected about 15 laundry baskets full of food for local families in need.

Now in its fourth year, the Halloween event has become much more than a fundraiser.

"One of the unintended consequences of this was the relationship-building between the older kids, the younger kids, the families that participated," Brenda Granquist said. "We had boys that hadn't been active and were really jumping in and just having a really good time together."

It is a great bonding experience, according to the teens.

"It's just a really fun time scaring people," Hoegen said.

"I look forward to this all year long," Korpi said.

The troop volunteered more than 1,600 community service hours in 2017, including a Brule River cleanup, Eagle Scout projects and keeping a 5-mile stretch of the North Country Trail clean. The public has a certain image of them.

"Boy Scouts are walking elderly ladies across the road and stuff like that. They're kindhearted," Brenda Granquist said.

That doesn't stop these scouts from cooking up some creepy scenes.

"We're breaking that stereotype here," Ryan Granquist said.

"We're scaring the grandma," Dickson said.

The Haunt at Wentworth Gardens runs Sept. 29-Oct. 27 from 7-10:30 p.m. each Friday except Oct. 5, the night of a home Tiger football game, and 6-10:30 p.m. every Saturday, with a non-scary haunt for the first hour.

Admission is $10 for the scary haunt, $5 for the non-scary walkthrough.

For more information, visit "The Haunt at Wentworth Gardens" on Facebook.

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Other spooky events

Haunted Shack

The Haunted Shack is serving up scares at a new location. The annual event, which benefits Minnesota Special Olympics, includes a haunted house, haunted hayride and haunted trail through the corn at 1781 County Road 1 in Carlton, Minn.

The seasonal haunts take place from 7-10 p.m Fridays and Saturdays and 7-9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays from Oct. 12-27. There will be an ultimate scare on the final night, 7-10 p.m. Oct. 31. The Haunted Shack will host one kids day for the faint of heart, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 27.

All children under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

A donation of $15 includes all three attractions. Bring a nonperishable food item for the local food shelf and get $2 off; bring a coat for the Northland Coat Drive and get $5 off.

Visit hauntedshack.com/home.html or the "Haunted Shack" page on Facebook.

Flashlight tour

A flashlight tour of Fairlawn Mansion takes place from 7:30-10 p.m. Oct. 13. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and college students, $5 for students. Tours leave every half-hour beginning at 7:30 p.m. Bring a flashlight.

Not recommended for children age 5 and under.

Call 715-394-5712 for information.

Oulu Corn Maze

Take a trip through the Oulu Corn Maze, which can be found on the Ken Johnson Farm on 2595 Pudas Road, a 40-minute drive from the Twin Ports.

The corn maze will be open from noon to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday beginning Sept. 29 and ending Oct. 28. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for children age 11 and younger. The annual attraction includes a chance to visit with some of the barn animals, a hay ride to and from the maze and a cup of hot cider or hot chocolate.

Visit oulucornmaze.com or its Facebook page, or call 715-372-4148.

Engwall's Corn Maze

The Engwall's Corn Maze began Sept. 15 and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 28 at 4749 Hermantown Rd., Hermantown. The maze will stay open through 9 p.m. Oct. 6, 13 and 27 for flashlight tours.

Admission is $8, $7 for children under age 12 and free for children under age 2. Hayrides are $4 and corn cannon shots are three for $1. Visit engwallscornmaze.com or its Facebook page, or call 218-727-1177.

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