By Stephen Smoot
For centuries, cultures have seen Friday the 13 as an ill-starred day. From the Friday October 13th, 1307 arrest and suppression of the Knights Templar in France to the much more recent fictional tales surrounding mayhem at a place called Crystal Lake, people often regard the date with fear, or at least discomfort.
And now a group of Shinnston High School students will bring good, if somewhat spooky, doings to the day in Shinnston this year.
This is the first time that students are putting on a Halloween event on the rail trail. They are working under the name EPIC Tourism Grant Executive Planning Committee, formed after they received a $15,000 award for rail trail improvements, event planning, and other projects. The group meets twice a week to plan the Haunted Trail and future events.
Other student groups, such as the Agriculture Mechanics class, have pitched in to help put together props for the trail. The National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America, DECA, Student Council, the track team, and middle schoolers have also joined to work on making the program a success.
Parking for the Haunted Trail will be at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.Preparations for the spectacular scarefest have involved building “scare stations” to surprise and shock walkers on the trail. After the hike, participants get to have fun on an old fashioned tractor ride back, where they can have hot chocolate and s’mores to take away the chills from the ghoulish delights and also the fall temperatures.
Meanwhile in preparation, students have been making and putting up signs around the community to get the word out. The cost of attending the event is $5.00. As Julie Yearego, the teacher who has advised the group, explains, the money “goes into an account for future events.” Students want to create a program that is “self-sustaining, not just a one and done.”
She added that “it’s a great deal and will be a lot of fun.”
The student group has already started looking ahead to plan future events, currently planning a fun event for Christmas involving the trail.
Not only do such programs bring more fun to the citizens of Shinnston, they also attract visitors from around the area and give tourists more exciting and fun options as they visit the city.
Yearego says that the entire project helps to build a stronger sense of community among the students. She explained to them that if they leave the community, they can always take pride in the fact that they worked and succeeded in making Shinnston a better place.
“This will be a nicer town” as a result of their efforts, Yearego said.