We won't give away any spoilers, but let's just say this year's Brite Nites at Wagner Farm Arboretum will build on last year's vignettes to a suitably-scary ending.
And thanks to a crew of volunteers assembled by the event's head "ghoulmeister," Bill Ward, of Basking Ridge, visitors can check their fear levels in a tented area where eight different scenes are played out for the audience's enjoyment.
"They (the scenes) graduate—the beginning is for family, for the younger ones," Ward said Friday while preparing one of the scenes. "And it gets scarier as you go."
Ward's theatrical background and skill with staging, make-up and lighting help make scenes from horror movies or imagined thrills come alive in the Haunted Showcase. Of course, the trick in such an event is to find the right balance.
"We don't want to send kids home with nightmares, but we have to make it scary enough to draw older kids and adults," Ward said.
That's not as easy as it might sound—but audiences last year would probably agree the event offered some suitably scary scenes.
This is Ward's second year directing the Haunted Showcase, after hearing Wagner Farm Arboretum was looking for someone to direct it last year.
"I made the call and got the gig," he said.
Of course, that's just one part of the annual Halloween fundraiser, which raises as much as $30,000 for the Arboretum's environemntal an educational projects. Visitors are also treated to more than 1,000 pumpkins, refreshments and more during the event's six nights.
The fun begins at 7 p.m. Oct. 19, with tickets priced at $10. For information and to purchase tickets, check the Brite Nites page on the WFA website, and check the attached PDF.
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