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Learned a valuable lesson on a night walk through the woods. No ordinary woods. These woods were haunted, so we were promised when handing over all of our money. Or perhaps that is ordinary. I don’t ordinarily walk through woods at night, and certainly not down dirt trails with horror movie scores playing in the background and the occasional costumed creeper lurking in behind trees.

This lesson likely comes too late. If you’re an over-enthusiastic Halloweener, you’ve already hit up all of the haunted houses, mazes and hayrides within an hour drive. No? On the off chance you may be up for a scare this weekend and sitting on the couch watching movies in the dark isn’t doing it for you, put on some sneakers and go outside. Then go to New Jersey to Casola Farms and get yourself a ticket to the haunted woods trail.

There will be lines. Oh yes, but if you had something better to do you’d be doing it. So wait in line, get your ticket, then go wait in line some more. We went last Saturday and surprised that they sent you through with only the group you arrive with. This makes for a slow-moving line, but a better experience than marching through the course with a parade of strangers. And the vulnerability you feel entering the course with just one other person sets the perfect tone.

In truth, the farmers didn’t need to bother with nearly as many spooks as they did. Hearing the snap of twigs beneath your feet in sections where only the moon lights the trail delivers the rush you’re really paying for.

Now write this down: When someone jumps out at you, move your feet. If you scream you scream, just move. Unless you want to turn a silly fun thing into the kind of awkward moment you’d like to think you could leave behind if only for one night. In other words, don’t stand still and scream until the approaching creeper finishes approaching, stops in front of you and has to usher you on with a swing of his arm. Scares should only last a second. Once the moment passes your just screaming in some kid’s face begging him to give chase. And that’s only cute when you’re under 5.

As for attractions in NYC? I only went to the Nightmare and I’ll save you my rant on how bad that sucked. You’re welcome.

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