The seasonal fall attraction known as Witch's Woods has become a Massachusetts Halloween staple. With over two decades of operation in the Nashoba Valley Ski Area, the scream park is a smaller, local affair compared to productions such as Canobie Lake Park and Six Flags New England. However, its town-fair character is a distinct contributor to its charm. Located merely 15 minutes away from Concord Academy in Westford, Witch's Woods' convenient proximity to campus and its delightfully spooky atmosphere has prompted CA in recent years to facilitate large student life outings on the weekends leading up to Halloween.

This year, the annual Witch's Woods trip took place on Saturday, October 28. The Student Life Office had adjusted the timing of the visit in response to student feedback from last year’s event—students had expressed frustrations regarding how crowded the park was, and how long wait times for rides and attractions significantly hindered their experiences. This year, transportation departed promptly at 5:30 p.m.—despite the haunted portions of the park only opening at 7:00 p.m.—to allow students time in the open sections before the crowds and enable them to take advantage of shorter lines. Due to the early departure time, the Student Life Office also coordinated with the Dining Hall team, who generously allowed students attending the trip to pick up dinner early.

The park itself offered plentiful activities—and not all horror-themed. Wristbands given at the entrance of the park permitted unlimited turns on familiar carnival rides such as a swinging ship, a zero gravity Tilt-A-Whirl, and a twister spin ride. While waiting in line, students found the calls from game stands to try their hand at “Water Gun Fun!” unignorable. The food stand was overpriced yet popular, and students filled up on burgers, fried dough, cotton candy, and more. Scare actors wandered the grounds of the park, poised to creep up on unsuspecting dawdlers with fake buzzing tasers, or tower over them in stilts, masks, and long billowing cloaks. These characters were a delightful addition to the park’s atmosphere and provided many photo-ops that would find their way onto many students’ Instagram Stories.

Of course, what everybody truly came to see were the park’s haunted attractions, consisting of two walk-through haunted houses, a haunted outdoor promenade through the woods, and the infamous haunted hayride. While the costumes and special effects were designed to frighten, the actors and staff were eager to interact with students and superbly committed to ensuring they enjoyed their experiences. Each haunted house attraction had its own unique theme, ranging from a vampire graveyard to a medieval castle, to a trippy 3D experience. The haunted hayride offered a seven-minute ride through the night-shrouded woods where vulnerable riders on the edge of the vehicle experienced no shortage of frights. These attractions with their expertly executed atmospheres were undoubtedly worth the wait times.

The CA trip to Witch's Woods offered an unforgettable Halloween adventure that combined scares, fun, and the spirit of the season. It was an opportunity for students to step into a world of fright and excitement while creating lasting memories with their peers. Returning students must not skip the fun should it continue to be offered next year!