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Nights of Fright returns to Chocowinity in October

Note: After publication of this article, Nights of Fright organizers pushed back the opening date for this year’s attraction to Oct. 9. 

CHOCOWINITY — What are you afraid of?

Deep in the recesses of the human psychology, fears and phobias lurk constantly in the back of our minds — primal, inescapable triggers of terror. They’re also the theme of this year’s Nights of Fright haunted trail at Raised in a Barn Farm in Chocowinity, which will be held every Friday and Saturday throughout the month, starting Oct. 9.

For the past nine years, the team at Raised in a Barn has invited the public to walk the haunted trail on the property during the Halloween season, offering thrills, chills and spooky encounters guaranteed to scare the pants off of patrons. Each year, the attraction has grown bigger, better and all the scarier.

“Fears and phobias are the things that terrify you — clowns, spiders and snakes and all those fun things,” said Raised in a Barn Farm owner Mandie Boahn. “There’s psychology behind the haunts.”

GOT TRASH?: A foreboding hallway of trash awaits in the hoarder’s house portion of this year’s haunted trail at Raised in a Barn Farm.

This year, Nights of Fright will offer a variety of new buildings and attractions to terrify visitors: a terrifying tunnel, the eerie trapper’s cabin, a haunted chop shop, a burning bus, a spooky silo and the somewhat-sickening hoarder’s house. The trapper’s cabin, in particular, has been built from the ground up for this year’s event and as a permanent addition to the trail.

“This is pretty exciting because of how it is set up and designed,” explained Boahn. “We designed it so we could have up to five or six scares depending on how our actors and pneumatics play together. It’s built so we can always add to it as the years come.”

TRAPPED: Built from scratch for this year’s Nights of Fright, the trapper’s cabin promises grotesque distortions of the natural world.

The pneumatics Boahn mentioned are also new features on this year’s trail. At the push of a button, operators can activate a series of air-driven mechanisms to offer scream-inducing jump scares, adding to the overall experience.

“With the click of a button, something pops out, runs, jumps, screams or hollers, all through air control,” Boahn said.

BURN BABY BURN: An ominous message decorates the interior of what will become the burning bus attraction on the Nights of Fright trail.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Boahn said there will be no food served at this year’s event. Guests to the farm are also asked to practice the 3 W’s — wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart and washing hands frequently at specially established hand-washing stations. Guests and staff will also have their temperature taken before entering.

“I think people this year need to recognize that you might have to be patient and hang out in your car for a few minutes because of all the new COVID rules,” Boahn said.

ENTER IF YOU DARE: An old tin barn conceals a dreadful secret, waiting to be discovered by the brave.

While Nights of Fright will run throughout the month, starting Oct. 9, guests on Oct. 8 can enjoy an additional treat as Haunted Pamlico/Alternative Stage hosts its second-annual Carnival of Darkness Film Festival.

Drawing film entries from all around the world, the festival will feature a variety of horror and science-fiction films in a number of categories, interspersed with special presentations and acts from local talent. To facilitate social distancing, this year’s event will be held as a drive-in event.

“We made the decision to go to the drive-in option because we did already have access to a lot of that technology,” explained Alternative Stage President Stuart Lannon during a previous interview. “With Will and Mandie Boahn letting us use the farm out there, we have the space for a drive-in, as well. Having the technology and the space, it made sense that we could actually make this happen while still maintaining good social-distancing standards and following every safety precaution possible.”

Nights of Fright takes place from dark to 11 p.m. each Friday and Saturday, starting Oct. 9, and is recommended for ages 13 and older. The cost to participate in the trail is $22 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the gate and online here. The Carnival of Darkness Film Festival will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 8 at Raised in a Barn Farm. Cost is $10 per vehicle, and tickets may be purchased at www.filmfreeway.com/CarnivalofDarkness.