Skip to main content

A walk through this creepy haunted forest raises money for charity

Dreadwood Haunted Forest donates its profits to help save wildlife and the needy.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

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.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 5.46.37 PM

Video shows officers ended pursuit before fatal crash in Anoka

The crash occurred when the driver fled police during an attempted traffic stop in Coon Rapids.

Eli Hart

6-year-old Eli Hart identified as boy found dead in car trunk

The kindergartner's father was trying to get full custody of his son.


Boy found dead in trunk of car in Mound was kindergartner

"It is horrifying and difficult to process a tragedy of this magnitude, especially in our close-knit community," the superintendent wrote.

Minneapolis police

Man found yelling for help after being shot in Minneapolis

The shooting occurred on the 800 block of Elwood Avenue North at around 9:15 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

Minneapolis North principal says she was fired, district says otherwise

“MPS requires schools to follow protocols in times like that and I did not,” Friestleben said.

Kris Richard Severin

Inmate who escaped Minnesota prison is captured

The inmate escaped Wednesday morning.

Brave New Comedy Workshop in downtown Minneapolis.

Brave New Workshop cancels shows due to COVID-19 cases

The shows were scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre.

Austin Retterath

Body of missing U of M student found in Mississippi River

Austin Retterath was last seen alive in the morning hours of May 8.

"Love" mural seen in St. Paul.

Summer mural events to bring together community, shine light on MN artists

The 2022 Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival will take place this weekend in St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone, with ensuing events happening this summer.


Gallery: Remodeled lakeside home in Prior Lake on market for $2.8M

It offers privacy at the end of a dead-end road fronting onto Lower Prior Lake.

golden valley police department

Carjacking outside ice arena in Golden Valley under investigation

Golden Valley PD confirmed it received a report of a carjacking Monday evening.


Screen Shot 2019-09-26 at 7.44.21 AM

Halloween haunt in Hudson to close after 10 years of scares

The Dreadwood Haunted Forest says this year will be its last.

Two popular haunted houses in St. Paul are probably not opening this year

These haunted houses can't open unless they are up to city code.

The Zombie Pub Crawl is hosting a week of undead fun

Dress up your dog, meet Jason, and run for your life.

Not a joke: A deer walks into a MN fur company and trashes the place

This deer should get a part in the next Avengers movie.

Bite into the Zombie Pub Crawl lineup

90s nostalgia and party favs amidst a swarm of local talent.

Pumpkin Nights: Explore 10 'worlds' created with hand-carved pumpkins

One of the displays at the State Fairgrounds' Pumpkin Nights is a nod to Hogwarts' Great Hall.