Nightmare in Waimea

LIHUE —Tucked away in the dark, all the frightening displays accustomed for this time of year will spook visitors at Lucy Wright Park starting tonight.

Big, black bats will hang from a cave. Living, breathing zombies will bump into anyone attempting to make their way through the haunted maze.

It’s all the sights and sounds of Halloween.

And then some.

“We have a haunted nursery,” said Anna Henriques, a Westside community volunteer helping put on the “Nightmare In Waimea Haunted Village” beginning at 7 both tonight and Thursday. “As in babies: Very scary.”

Not sweet, innocent kiddos, either.

“You know people love babies, but mine are going to be dead babies,” Henriques said, adding that the visual is “a little bit” edgier than more traditional Halloween staples. “But these are dolls. I don’t want to be arrested.”

Entrance into the fourth annual event requires only a donation of one can of nonperishable food, which will then be turned over to churches for distribution in time for the holidays.

“It’s the cheapest thing on the island,” as Henriques put it.

The event came to be when a Waimea High School graduate, who Henriques said didn’t want accolades or to be named, pitched the idea for a Westside Halloween maze so locals wouldn’t have to travel far to find a fright. The community event relies on volunteers who offer to decorate one corner of the course to a certain theme. Besides the nursery, other themes this year include a horror movie cinema and a fortune teller. Oh, zombies and ghoulish noises will be sure to scare wanderers.

Between 150 and 300 people have attended the two-day event in each of the previous years. On Tuesday, volunteers helped transform the park from grassy to ghastly.

Sandra Elsing, a neighbor of Henriques, said this is the first year she’s helped with the Haunted Village.

“Anna used to bring my grandkids when it was held at the old Waimea Dairy,” Elsing said. “Then, the Village moved to Hofgaard Park, and I believe this is the first year we’re at the Lucy Wright Park.”

Mary Hayes lives across the road from the Lucy Wright Park and said she was ready for the fun, having her nails done with jack-o-lanterns, and her dog Lilikoi even getting its paws nipped.

“I’m ready for Halloween,” Hayes said.

“It’s nice to have an area where the kids and families can come to have fun,” agreed Gale McGee, who also lives across the way from Henriques.

For parents with small ones too young to scare, a children-friendly walk will take place from 5 to 6 both evenings that will offer less visuals when it’s still light out. At 7 p.m. the maze — described more like a tunnel — will open for the adults.

“Where we go full on them,” Henriques said.

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