Gruesome monsters and haunted adventures will monopolize the Arboretum at the 9th Annual Haunted Garden.
The Haunted Garden is open to anyone who dares to take the journey of twists and winds through the arboretum and come face to face (or face to monster) with their fears.
Excursionists will be taken on tours through the garden in groups of 10-15 at a time. The tour will end at the Haunter’s Ball where games, activities and treats await the survivors.
Since the Haunted Garden can be too scary for little ones, kids ages 3-6 can attend the Children’s Party.
There will be a costume parade, games, crafts, pumpkin patch tours and treats for the kids. The friendly monsters will be on the guest list for this party.
This is the second year that Sydney Harrington, Haunted Garden coordinator, is running the event.
With the help of the staff, Harrington set up a new route and included an area that has never been used before.
Altogether, there will be 12 different themes including Deadman’s Grove, Gruesome Graveyard, Wicked Woodlands, Voodoo Jungle, Pirates Plunder and Biting Botanicals.
“We will have about 45 people out scaring in the garden,” said Harrington.
Harrington said attendees can expect to see significant props this year that were built with the help of Fred Kinney, Cal State Fullerton design adviser, and three prop design students, Alexandra Giron, Danielle Hollows and Emily Smith.
Cady Lee Nulton, a proud monster, has participated along with her family in the past six Haunted Garden events. As soon as Halloween is over, she starts preparing for the next year.
“I begin thinking of ideas for new characters and makeup and how better to scare people,” said Nulton.
Nulton and her mother are different characters every year and her stepfather and stepbrother are always werewolves.
Quality talent is brought to the haunted operation, as Nulton’s mother and stepfather are former Knott’s Scary Farm Haunt monsters.
Live animals will even make an appearance at the event. Cheryl Rendes, from Wonders of Wildlife, has participated in the Haunted Garden since the beginning.
“(She) will be bringing more snakes and creatures of the night to share with everyone,” Harrington said.
Set up for the event has already begun. Between setting up the lights, audio, fog machines, decorating the route, the front entrance and the pavilion, Harrington said it takes about four days to complete.
The Arboretum is creepy at night and has potential to become one of the best haunts in California and perhaps even in the U.S., Nulton said.
“The path has changed several times, we constantly get new people, scares and themes,” said Nulton. “Since Sydney has taken over, the Haunted Garden has gotten even bigger, badder and scarier.”
Harrington works directly with staff from the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum. She is also in contact with groups on campus who have helped promote the event.
“Volunteers such as Janice Gross, and Bill and Inge Wallace, have contributed countless hours and energy to the event,” Harrington said. “We also were fortunate enough to have a group of five CSUF advertising students help out with marketing.”
For the future Nulton would like to get rid of the one path and instead have several and let people wander on their own with their own flashlight.
“When left alone, the safety factor is abandoned and real fear can set in,” Nulton said.
The Haunted Garden will take place Friday and Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and the Children’s Party will be Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The expected turnout is over 500 people per night.
Tickets can be purchased at the gate or discounted pre-sale tickets can be purchased until Oct. 25 at FullertonArboretum.org.
Guests are advised to keep up with their tour, so they do not become one with the horrific sights of the garden, and prepare to be haunted.