There are a bunch of haunted hayrides, houses, and tours to check out this year, but how many of them can say they donate nearly all of the money they make to charity?
Dreadwood Haunted Forest in Hudson, Wisconsin promises to scare the living crap out of you – for a good cause. Since its founding, the charity-based haunt has donated its profits to other nonprofit organizations.
Proceeds this year will benefit Sharing and Caring Hands, which offers a host of services (like food to transportation) to the needy; Courage Center, which provides rehabilitation services for people with short- and long-term conditions, injuries, and disabilities; and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, which provides medical care and rehab for sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals.
"Since 2011, Dreadwood has raised $35,000 for WRC. A nonprofit, they donate ALL their proceeds to other NPOs. They're an amazing organization," the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center said in a Facebook post.
Dreadwood also donates non-perishable food items to the United Way food shelter.
Here's a behind-the-scenes look with the founder and volunteers:
Founder Emily Gerbig told GoMN she used to be part of the crew that designed the Tunnel of Terror in the St. Paul caves. After that attraction shut down, Gerbig and her husband followed through with their dream to start their own charitable haunt.
"We have had many hundreds of volunteers step up and make Dreadwood the haunt it has become. We have exceeded all of our original expectations and have created a haunt to be reckoned with," Gerbig said.
Dreadwood has donated over $100,000 to charity since it opened in 2010.
Not to mention, it's scary as heck
Dreadwood Haunted Forest is not for the faint of heart. (Or anyone under 13 years old.)
"No hayrides. No escape. No mercy." the website says.
Visitors, led by a guide, walk a half mile on a dirt path through an isolated forest outside of Hudson.
"It is not a park surrounded by neighborhoods or filled with cabins. When night falls out here it is very, very dark," the site says. "You may see things that disgust you. You may feel disoriented, stifled, pursued, and preyed upon. Your guide will know the way. You MUST stay with your guide. There are no side-doors or escape routes — once you have entered Dreadwood, the only way out is through."
Apparently it's freaky enough that you have to sign a waiver before entering. Read the disclaimers here.
Since you'll be outdoors in late fall, warm clothes and comfortable shoes are recommended. Dreadwood has snacks and drinks available for purchase before you enter, and after.
There's also a public bonfire after the creepy walk through the woods – "provided there is an after," Dreadwood teases.
The haunted forest is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. until the end of October, so there's a handful of opportunities to go before the season is over.
Tickets are $16, and only available to purchase onsite. You get $2 off if you bring a canned or non-perishable food item.