The young couple stepped onto a bridge leading to Haunted Island, flinching as they heard screams floating in the chilly night air.
Laura Magnuson clutched her boyfriend, Scott Hayworth, as they entered Ravenwood Manor. A masked figure greeted their entry to the haunted attraction at Watson Park.
Magnuson let out a scream. Hayworth laughed as she held onto his jacket and the two began their haunted adventure.
"Scott, do not let go of me while we're here," Magnuson said.
As the pair made their way through the woods, they came upon a school bus filled with clowns and hooded figures.
"Great, I hate clowns," Magnuson said, as she pushed Hayworth in front of her.
One of the clowns jumped at the couple and let out a menacing scream.
After fleeing the bus, the couple made their way through woods and brush, all while being pursued and otherwise terrorized by witches, masked strangers and other creatures.
Magnuson and Hayworth are among about 20,000 people expected to visit the outdoor haunted experience at Watson Park in south Wichita, said owner Mike Hundley. Thousands more will visit other haunted attractions in the Wichita area before Halloween.
"The attraction has really changed over the years," Hundley said. "It offers a lot more than it used to. Every year, it gets better."
The haunted attraction is now a two-part experience — Ravenwood Manor and the Garden of Evil. Ravenwood Manor takes up a large part of the island and takes about 30 minutes to visit. The Garden of Evil lasts about 15 minutes.
"Haunted Island is an experience like nothing else," Hundley said. "It gives people the excitement and scary experience they are looking for."
It takes a lot of work to get the attraction ready each year, he said.
"This is something we really have to plan ahead for," he said. "We start screening the actors two months prior to the opening of the island. However, the result is worth the work."
Haunted Island is the largest haunted attraction in Kansas, he said. As Halloween gets closer, lines will get longer. Visitors willing to pay extra can get to the front of the line upon arrival.
If you go>
What: Two haunted attractions, Ravenwood Manor and the Garden of Evil
Where: Watson Park, 3022 S. McLean Blvd.
When: 7-11:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., through October
How much: Ravenwood Manor advance tickets $11, $7 for children 8 and under; $14 and $10 at the gate. Fast pass $19 online, $22 at the gate. Garden of Evil advance tickets $7 online, $8 at the gate. Fast pass tickets $16 gate, $15 online. Both recommended for ages 9-up.
Information, 316-529-9940, online at www.theravenwoodmanor.com.
More haunted houses
The Asylum, haunted attraction, 8025 E. Douglas. Open 7 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sun. and Thu.-Oct. 31; 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Tue.; 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Wed. Regular admission $20 or $25 with fast pass. Discount of $1 per can of food (limit five). Open 5-10 p.m. Mon. for special needs kids (free admission with one can of food), and 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Wed. (buy-one-get-one-free night Big Brothers and Sisters blue card). Discount coupons available at www.wichita-asylum.com.
Field of Screams, haunted attraction presents "The Prophecy" and "Clown Town," Prairie Pines, 4055 N. Tyler Road. Open Fri.-Sun., Thu.-Oct. 25 and Oct. 28-31. Field open 7:30 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., 7:30-11 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; gates open at 7. Cost $14 (one event), or $20 (two events); fast pass $22 (one event), or $35 (two events). Information, 316-303-2037 or www.scaryprairiepines.com.
Forest of Fear, 1-mile-long haunted pathway through the forest, new attraction "The Mortuary," and ghost stories and marshmallow roasting around the campfire, at 7446 51st Road, Udall. Open dusk-midnight Fri.-Sat., through October, plus dusk- 11 p.m. Thu. and Sun., through Oct. 29. Ticket $13, $8 for children 9-under. Information, 620-782-4014 or www.udallforestoffear.com.
Haunted Ghost Town, open Fri.-Sun., Thu.-Oct. 25, Oct. 29-31, at 3628 S. West St. Hours 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat.; 8 p.m.-midnight Thu. and Sun. Admission $15 ($2 off with canned food donation). Information, 316-516-8815.
Haunted Hayrack Ride, dark to midnight each Fri.-Sat., through October, Cox Farm, 6059 S. Seneca. Cost $10. Information, 316-524-8062.
Terror at Tanganyika, open 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun., Thu.-Oct. 25 and Oct. 29-31, Tanganyika Wildlife Park, 183rd West and Maple. Admission $13; fast pass an additional $7. Save $2 with two canned good items. Information, 316-722-5039 or www.twicetheterror.com.
Twin Lakes Terror, open 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun., Thu.-Oct. 25, Oct. 29-31, Twin Lakes Shopping Center, 2172 Amidon. General admission $13 ($11 with two canned food items, to be donated to local charities). Information, 316-722-5039 or www.twinlakesterror.com.