For Kenny and Michelle Rosser, Halloween is about friends, family and fun.
That’s how their Haunted Hidden Hollow Halloween attraction began in 2009. Thom Hassler, minister at Steven’s Gap Church of Christ, asked if the Rossers would host an old-fashioned Halloween party for the church.
“He said, ‘But you’ve got to spook us,’” Kenny said. “That was three days before Halloween.”
The 50-acre farm on Fred Tollett Rd. in southern Cumberland County offered a great setting for an old-fashioned Halloween. Kenny’s background as a contractor meant he had the equipment and know-how to pull off this feat.
“I pushed a little trail through the woods. We took a four-wheeler and a tiny wagon and had six spooks in the woods,” he said.
“The kids wanted to go again and again and again — and so did the adults.”
Michelle and Kenny realized the potential for a haunted attraction in Cumberland County. They set to work expanding the trail and building sets and scenery.
The trail crosses the creek twice, so Kenny built two bridges. One was fashioned as an 1800s covered bridge.
There’s a cemetery, a moonshiner’s still, a cabin and more.
There was a blue coffin up for sale during the 127 Corridor Sale a few years ago. It made its way to Haunted Hidden Hollow, offering a nice photo prop as guests wait their turn to enter the haunted trail.
“It’s family friendly,” Kenny said.
The spooks aren’t allowed to touch the participants, and no one can spook the guide.
Guests aren’t allowed to use their cell phones or other lights on the trail. The guides use air pilot lights to light the path.
“This is an old-fashioned Halloween walk,” Kenny said. “They just jump out and scare you.”
They don’t have an age range for the trail. Kenny says parents should determine if their child is old enough.
“Folks ask if it’s OK for a five-year-old. Well, it depends on the five-year-old,” he said.
If they’re on the walk and someone is feeling a bit skittish, they can walk with the guide.
They try to keep up with the times. Guests will find some familiar haunted themes along the way.
It’s become a full-time enterprise for Michelle, who works year-round to prepare props and ready the trail for fall.
She’s also den mother to the crew of young people who take on the task of scaring the guests. They offer weekend housing for their crew and, once the last visitor has left, they enjoy a meal together and tuck in for the night.
“A lot of the kids have grown up with us,” Michelle said.
That’s led to some additional blessings. They’ve been able to help kids with homework, offer guidance about school and life.
“We’ve had three marriages so far out of all these young people meeting,” Kenny said. “And I got a great-niece and a great-nephew out of the deal.”
They keep in touch during the year with regular cookouts at the farm.
The trail began as a one-mile trail. They offered wagon rides in addition to guided walks through the dark woods.
“My spooks said they couldn’t spook the trailers very well,” he said.
They decided to downsize the trail and offer walk-only options.
But they still had several scenes and sets on the upper part of the trail. This year, they decided to open that part of the trail for daytime walks.
“You can walk the entire trail at your own speed,” Kenny said. “A lot of people don’t like to be spooked, but this lets them get out there.”
The Rossers also decided to let their field grow up this year, blazing a wide path through it for walking, but keeping the native plants that grew up during the late summer. One of their former guides has now graduated from college and is working in the park system. He had suggested a “re-wilding” for the farm, allowing those native plants to flourish and offering nature walks.
“We’re going to let it grow,” Kenny said.
There’s goldenrod, ironwood and more. They’ll continue working on this project, with plans for signs that detail some of the native plants to keep a look out for.
Haunted Hidden Hollow is at 949 Fred Tollett Rd. It’s open for guided night walks Fridays and Saturdays through Halloween from 7-11 p.m.
Admission is $10 per person. Concessions are available, including hot chocolate to warm up on chilly fall nights.
Unguided daytime walks are offered Saturdays in October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please wear proper footwear — no flip-flops. Pets are not allowed on the trail.
For more information, find them on Facebook at Haunted Hidden Hollow.