Around this time of year is when goblins, ghosts and ghouls come out to play. It’s also when folks want to get scared or scare their friends. This year, the Upper Cumberland has many happy haunting places for people of all ages. Some scarier than others and some more centered on the kiddies. This October, The Oracle has provided some information on a few attractions sure to get any Halloween lover in the spirit of the holiday.
Hidden Hollow Haunted House and Hay Ride
Hidden Hollow just off Mount Pleasant Road is filled with spooky adventures. A scary hayride takes you through a forest and stops at creepy scenes filled with skeletons, ghosts, blood and ghouls. There are things lurking and waiting to jump out at you to make you squeal.
“Ninety percent of our decorations are homemade,” said Vince Taylor, Owner of Hidden Hollow. “We buy a few things like the hanging masks, or we will buy a mask and then make the body.”
As you go up the hill on the back of a trailer, there are scenes lit with strobe lights. The scenes are filled with fake blood, skeleton bones, missing limbs, spiders and turn back signs. The people who work there make many of the decorations.
“We get the yellow gloves and we spray them with foam and that kind of makes hands,” said Taylor. “Or we get the latex gloves, spray that insulation foam in there and it hardens so it makes a hand and then you just paint it red. It’s just little tricks like that make the scenes.”
After the hayride, participants get off and walk to a shed splattered with bloody tarp where they’re met with a scene of a torture chamber with a man covered in his own blood begging for someone to help him.
“Our chain saw broke,” said Brandon Hunter. “It got caught on one of the volunteer’s shirts so when the y’alls came up, we had to come up with something.”
Hunter has been working at places like this for 11 years but has worked at Hidden Hollow the longest.
“I practiced on my mom,” said Calvin Medley, who portrayed a guy in a wheelchair covered in blood. “My favorite part is entertaining people.”
It’s not all just scaring the guests with this ghostly crew. Everyone pitches in and has a good time even if it’s just getting the jump on each other.
“We’re all the time trying to spook a spook. Trying to scare your help, they’re all macho, and say ‘You can’t scare me,’ then you step out and they squeal like a little baby,” said Taylor.
Flynn’s Lick Spooky Hollow House and Hayride
The next stop on our ghostly tour brings us a little farther out of town. Past the city of Gainesboro, in Jackson County, lies a small community by the name of Flynn’s Lick. This is the home of Flynn’s Lick Spooky Hollow Haunted House and Hayride.
A drive of roughly 30 minutes beginning at Tech will bring you to the small community center. After paying for your ticket, you will be given a ticket stub with a number, so relaxing is a highly recommended suggestion. Once your number is called, it’s time to load up. You take a seat on the trailer with more daring souls before entering the ride of your life; or afterlife if you prefer.
Flynn’s Lick Spooky Hollow Haunted House and Hayride consists of a five-mile hayride with a haunted walk-through at the end. Participants make a stop at four different spots on the hayride, which are set up and acted out by members of the community.
“It’s a lot better this year. There’s one more extra stop,” said Travis Agee, volunteer truck driver for the event.
“This is our 26th year. It started as just a community thing for the children in the community,” saud Tyler Smith, director of the haunted house. “A couple of years into it, it looked like it was something that was going to continue to grow, so we started off with 43 a person and a tractor trailer, and that’s grown into 3400 people a year, even people from surrounding states. Still keeping eight dollars a person for the last 12 years.”
All proceeds from the haunted house go to both the fire department of Flynn’s Lick and to the Jackson County Rescue Squad.
“It really impacts our entire county, it’s a really great fundraiser,” said Smith.
This haunted adventure even has a few secrets behind the scenes. There are four stops to make on the wagon before you get to the house at the end of the road.
“The first stop is the Jackson County hydro Coalition, the second is the Flynn’s Lick Fire Department and the next two are kind of a coalition of just everybody in the county,” said Smith.
It takes a lot of people to put on this big of a show, and when asked about the number of actors within the production, Smith said, “At the house we have approximately 12 to 15 on a given night but throughout the hollow, close to 100.”
The first scene is a party where a teenage girl is drinking and her friend, who is not drinking, is trying to convince her not to drive. The scene ends as you pull off to head into the hollow. On your way back, you encounter another scene with these two actresses but now it’s later on, after the party. The non-drinking teen has been involved in a crash caused by the drinking girl. The sober girl lies on the ground and recites a poem before two mock paramedics place a sheet over her and the scene goes dark.
The Haunted Hollow is big for their messages against drinking and driving. A scene always plays out the message, but half of it is the beginning of this ride.
“Lot of young kids need to see that and adults,” said the Ribera Family, a group of riders on the first wagon of the night, with a few who were reoccurring participants for the past two years.
For the thrills and chills of the Halloween theme, Flynn’s Lick seems to be doing something right. Opening night, Oct. 17, gave them a record of 451 willing victims to climb aboard. Are you brave enough to join them for the rest of the month?
For those with smaller children and a sense of adventure, there is a new attraction to behold just off Cookeville’s U.S. Highway 111. Right across from 111 Flea Market on West Netherland Road sits a menacing l
ooking trailer with the words Fear Farm.
In this brand new, unique attraction, fight the outbreak of zombies as you arm yourself with paintball guns and climb aboard a specially made zombie-hunting vehicle.
“It’s just the zombie trucks are just so neat. Just watching the bullets go in and it’s just fun. And everyone just feels like they’re the terminator,” said Charles Roberson, director of events at Fear Farm.
While there is no age limit on the Zombie Hunt, parental discretion is advised. Your adventure begins with practice shooting and then it’s on to the real deal. Have no fear about contracting the zombie virus, the zombies do not climb aboard with passengers, but they will stumble within shooting range of paintball guns.
For the sensitive survivor, no zombies were hurt in the making of this production. All zombie actors are fitted with the utmost protection against paintballs.
“They have full paintball helmets. That’s front and back protection and then they have a mesh that goes over the top. Then they wear layers, we got catcher’s mitts, we’ve got layers, pad guards. And probably two or three suits,” said Roberson.
The price of the Zombie Outbreak Hunt is $25 but this also includes a trip into the haunted corn maze. Visitors are given a light and sent into the rows of corn to make their own way out. More actors are hidden in the corn maze waiting to give unsuspecting victims a real treat for their dollar. The maze includes dead ends, zombie babies, clowns, blow horns, body parts, sound effects and a lot more spook-tacular fun.
“I started with some church groups. I knew some college church groups and went from there,” said Roberson about his actors. “And then I needed more. I have over 100 employees that have worked here at one point or another. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes.”
The Fear Farm is fun for the whole family, both young and old.
“I let the last one [zombie] have it,” said Bailer Davis, with his parents Kevin and Rebecca Davis.
“Great family fun. We’ll probably be back again this year,” said Rebecca Davis.
These are only three of the many attractions found around the Upper Cumberland, but many more await daring souls. Will you be brave enough to take up the challenge of these haunted Halloween adventures?