Halloween Harvest Festival haunts for last time

The Halloween Harvest Festival opened its doors Friday, Sept. 26, for its 10th and final year at the Pierce College Farm Center.

Farm Center Director Robert McBroom and Farm Center Manager Cathy McBroom have been the husband-and-wife team behind the Halloween Harvest Festival since day one. Together they transformed a “weed-baron,” vacant lot into the Farm Center.

“I smile and can sit here and honestly say that 10 years ago when we started we attracted a lot of families with young kids,” R. McBroom said.

The festival features a variety of activities, rides, live entertainment and food options. The main features are the three Halloween haunts and the corn maze. There is also a petting zoo, carousel, arts and crafts tent, tractor rides, a haunt-free corn maze and much more.

“When I created this, the idea was to have something for everybody,” R. McBroom said.

Haunt General Manager Michael Keane worked year-round on the festival’s three different haunts.

“After Dark” offers a haunted corn trail called “Creatures of the Corn,” a haunted house called “Factory of Nightmares” and a maze called “Insane Reaction.”

“In the scary maze, you’re kind of hesitant to whether you still want to go in it or not,” 16-year-old high school student Lauren Wageman said. “But then once you’re actually inside of it, it’s really fun.”

The haunted trail is a quarter mile long, lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, and has between 20 and 30 “scarers” inside.

“We only employ monsters and psychopaths,” Keane said.

Keane and McBroom said most of their 200-person staff are Pierce College students. But some of the make-up artists and scarers are volunteers.

“We hire within the community and we create a lot of jobs,” R. McBroom said. “We’re proud of what we do. We’re proud of the Harvest Festival.”

The festival is open through Nov. 2. on Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Admission costs $5, while the various activities use tickets, which can be purchased individually or in packs. The haunt and mazes are priced at $13 each, or can also be purchased for a packaged price.