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HCA, YMCA join forces for expanded Wicked Weekend

by | Oct 12, 2023 | Featured, Featured: Features

Trunk or Treat

Individuals take part in the Trunk or Treat event at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts during last year’s Wicked Weekend. FILE PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Last year, the new addition to the Hopkinton Center for the Arts’ Wicked Weekend was the Haunted Trail that took place in the woods behind Hopkinton High School.

“It was so popular and well received that we decided to make it bigger and better,” said Kelly Grill, executive director of the HCA.

This year, for the seventh annual Wicked Weekend, the HCA is partnering with the MetroWest YMCA in Hopkinton to create “The Haunt,” which will take place in the woods and on the ropes course at the YMCA. The Haunt’s theme is Deadwoodville, defined as where people exist after they die. The experience is a guided tour through the town where characters will come to life. Visitors will learn who they are, what they do and how they live in the town.

“The Haunt will truly be an experience filled with live, local actors, an entire haunted village taking place in, around and on our ropes course, and will feature plenty of zombies and many fun, scary scenes,” said Peter Waisgerber, chief development officer at the YMCA.

Grill said visitors can look forward to 12 unique scenes, including a toy store with creepy dolls and a farm stand selling farmers’ parts rather than vegetables. The Haunt is the result of months of creative planning and collaboration.

“We really wanted to create something that was not just a scary fun haunt, but also clever and with a real storyline,” Grill said.

One of the key people who helped develop The Haunt is Marie Laskowsky, an Ashland resident.

“She is just an incredibly creative, energetic visionary, and she has really taken this to the next four levels,” Grill said.

Tickets for the Halloween Haunt are priced at $25 per person, and purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended. The event serves as a fundraiser for the MetroWest YMCA and the HCA, helping cover operating costs and support community programs. For the YMCA, the funds raised will help support a food insecurity program, summer camps and year-round programs at the Y’s Outdoor Center in Hopkinton, said Waisgerber. For the HCA, 70% of its expenses are paid for by programs, classes and tickets. The other 30% needs to be raised through grant writing and fundraisers like The Haunt, Grill said.

In addition to the main Haunt, there also will be a “Not So Scary” version on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., designed for children ages 6 and up who might find the full experience too intimidating.

The Haunt will take place during Wicked Weekend from Oct. 27-29. Beyond The Haunt, the HCA also will debut the Wicked Pickle, a pickleball tournament. There also will be the annual 5K road race, a Monster Mash family Halloween party and Trunk or Treat in partnership with Hopkinton Community Partnership.

Those interested in volunteering for The Haunt to help with parking, ticketing or setup and breakdown are encouraged to contact the HCA.


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