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Haunted maze, ghost tour among Halloween highlights

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Organizers of two Halloween functions in McDonough this week say the events range from the child-friendly to the spooky.

The Henry County Parks and Recreation Department is currently hosting a haunted maze, titled "Curse of the Scarecrow," at Heritage Park. The ghostly festivties include a walking trail for people, ages 11 and up, as well as the Halloween Town.

On Halloween night, the Bell, Book & Candle used bookstore will host a special edition of the McDonough History & Ghost Tour, from 7-8:30 p.m.

The haunted maze has been a fall staple in Henry County since 2003. According to Michelle Dunn, accounts administrator for the parks department, the event has enjoyed increasing success with each passing year.

"[Several] years ago, we added a haunted school bus to the list of attractions," she said. "That's the one everybody talks about each year, and this year,it's even better. Last year, we had about 4,000 people come through the maze. That was when we had our first Halloween Town, and we had a huge response."

Dunn said certain aspects of the maze are altered slightly each year, to make the experience unique for those in attendance.

The event is scheduled to be held tonight, from 8:30 p.m., to midnight. The maze will also be open Monday through Thursday, from 8:30-11 p.m.

The cost of admission to the trail is $10, and $8 per person for groups of 10 or more. Kids can get into Halloween Town for $5, and children, ages 2 and under, will be admitted at no charge.

According to Dunn, a portion of the proceeds from the children's event will go to A Friend's House in McDonough. Hours for the Halloween Town village are 6-10 p.m., Saturday and 6-9 p.m., Monday through Thursday. For more information, call (770) 288-7300.

Shannon Cannon is the owner of Bell, Book & Candle, located at 45 John Frank Ward Blvd. She said the tour promises to put a spooky spin on an event featured regularly throughout the year.

She said the walking tour of several buildings on The Square, is typically held each Saturday from 5-6:30 p.m., but will begin later on Halloween to create a "creepier" atmosphere. "We will start at the bookstore and go out to The Square," she said, adding that a number of ghost stories will be told along the way.

"We will also go into many of the buildings in the area, and tell the history of McDonough, which is fascinating."

Cannon noted that certain elements of the tour provide a glimpse into McDonough's history, which some local residents may have never known about.

"There are buildings in the city are connected to some of the tragedies that have happened in the past, like the 1900 train wreck," she said. "That was the worst train wreck in the country's history at that time."

The cost for admission to the tour is $10 per person. For reservations or more information, call (770) 957-1880.