CENTER MORICHES, New York -- Getting up the courage to walk through a haunted attraction is a classic way to get into the Halloween spirit.
However, for Long Island's Marcella Weiss, the Spooky Walk she created more than 30 years ago is about more than an adrenaline rush. Weiss has created a charity event to support Camp Paquatuck, a camp for children and adults with special needs.
"We've transformed the camp into a haunted Halloween attraction," Weiss said. "100 percent of the funds go into the operation of the camp."
Since 1989, Camp Paquatuck's annual spooky event has been one of the longest Halloween walks on Long Island, clocking in at 45 minutes. Weiss didn't want to cancel this year since the walk is one of the camp's biggest annual fundraisers.
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"We've been coming here for years ever since I was a little kid," participant Karen Collins Nelson said. "Camp Paquatuck is a great camp for special-needs kids and we want to support it in any way that we can. They do the best spooky walk on Long Island. This is the first year in the car, though, so we are anxious to see what they are doing."
Indeed, Weiss collaborated with her volunteers and staff and decided to turn the walk into a drive-thru experience to maintain safety protocols.
"In May, I thought what the heck are we going to do with COVID," Weiss said. "I had thought maybe we can do a drive-thru."
The path has you enter through different scary scenes with unexpected frights jumping out from behind bushes or hidden passageways. Some of the haunted exhibits have names like "Club Boogie," "Living Hell Hospital" and "Alice in Zombieland."
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"We have all our little girls in the back, two years ago we tried to go, and they were too scared," participant Tatiana Contegni said. "We're hoping that we're going to make it all the way through since we're safe from all the monsters."
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone