The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Douglas-Hart’s 13th annual Haunted Hike

Olivia Lane
Douglas Hart Foundation presents their 13th annual Haunted Hike; The Nightmare Before Christmas.

“Boo! Mr. Pumpkin King,” 75 volunteers shouted this past weekend at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center’s 13th Annual Haunted Hike, featuring The Nightmare Before Christmas.

In support of the Douglas-Hart Foundation, Jennifer Tariq the executive director, and Abby de Buhr the education director, put their brains together and organized their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Haunted Hike. The hike’s purpose was not only to raise funds, but to give back to Coles County by bringing the community together for the Halloween season and providing service opportunities.

At the beginning of each year, Buhr sets time aside to focus on the internal planning of the Haunted Hike. Buhr allows the public to pitch in their ideas for a theme at the previous year’s Haunted Hike. With donations in a penny war, Buhr sets a plan in place.

Once the summer camps end, Aug. comes back around, and the Douglas-Hart team takes in volunteers throughout the next several months to prepare for the next Haunted Hike by creating decorations and painting stations.

“Each year the Haunted Hike trail varies by theme, however, the trail on average is made up of 13 plus stations,” Tariq states. “Each station follows the storyline of the theme and consists of spooky characters that are volunteers in the community. For example, this year our first two stations consist of the Holiday Doors and Meeting Jack the Pumpkin King, and so on.”

The Haunted Hike is the Douglas-Hart Foundation’s most successful and time-consuming fundraising event. “There are plenty of volunteer opportunities from prep, to actively participating in the event, and then cleanup,” said Tariq.

Each year, the Haunted Hike sells around 1,000 tickets. Before Covid, they had a record-breaking year and sold over 1,500 tickets and now they are coming back from that. By only Friday night, 500 tickets were sold, and Tariq was expecting a similar amount on Saturday night.

Hosting the event from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., allowing time for daylight and nighttime trails, the Haunted Hike is for anyone and everyone.

Miranda and Travis Vineyard decided to take their kids for the first time this Halloween season to the Haunted Hike. “We heard about the Douglas-Hart Haunted Hike through our daughter who happened to see it on Facebook,” said Vineyard. “We have not been through yet, but we are excited, and we feel that we will be back next year by the way the event is organized.”

Following the Haunted Hike, The Douglas-Hart Foundation plans to have their annual Winter Wonderland Walk, which is a lightened trail. They will provide hot cocoa for guests to bring the community together.

Staff is always looking for volunteers for future events and is always open to community members offering their help through other acts than service, such as donating decorations and supplies for future events.


Olivia Lane can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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