NORMAL — For two weekends leading up to Halloween, creepy creatures and classic characters will haunt a portion of the popular Constitution Trail.
The Normal Parks and Recreation Department will hold a non-scary trail from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 19-21, and a scary trail from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 27-28.
Each night is limited to 1,600 participants.
Admission is $1. For the first weekend only, a canned food donation will count for admission; visitors still may bring a donation the second weekend.
Kids can expect to see their favorite princesses, superheroes and classic Halloween characters during the trail’s opening weekend, said Angela Malone, aquatics and special events supervisor for parks and recreation.
Candy, hot chocolate, a balloon artist and face painting by The Zoo Lady await at the trail’s end, along with photo stations featuring costumed volunteers.
Visitors to the scary trail should prepare for more sightings of their favorite pop-culture, film and television monsters — from creepy clowns and zombies to the urban legend of The Slender Man.
Malone said some younger volunteers may participate in the haunt this year.
“You expect to see adults in costume, but you don’t really expect to see small children in super creepy outfits, so we’re hoping that can be a little bit of a shock value,” she said.
Both trails will include flashing lights and fog machines.
The lineup begins along the trail behind the Normal City Hall Annex, 100 E. Phoenix Ave. The attraction runs about a quarter mile from the crossing at Vernon Avenue to the Connie Link Amphitheater.
Parking is available at the annex and at Chiddix Junior High School, 300 S. Walnut St., with shuttles running between the trail’s end and the annex and junior high school parking lots.
Malone said it takes 450 to 500 volunteers to help town of Normal staff run the trail over the two weekends – that’s 82 to 100 volunteers each night.
”It’s a big undertaking, and I would say two to three months in advance we really get into it,” said Malone, adding she and other department staff have been busy since early August collecting costumes and decorations, organizing volunteers and building and repairing props.
Volunteer sign-up is available at nprd.ivolunteer.com/hauntedtrail until Oct. 15. Volunteer orientation will take place Oct. 16. Anyone unable to make the orientation may contact the parks and recreation office at 309-454-9540.