Fright Night makes a killing in Camden

David Bralley portrays a Warlock at Kent County Parks and Recreation's Fright Night at Brecknock Park in Camden. (Delaware State News photos/Marc Clery)

David Bralley portrays a Warlock at Kent County Parks and Recreation’s Fright Night at Brecknock Park in Camden. (Delaware State News photos/Marc Clery)

CAMDEN — A simple “Boo!” doesn’t cut it when it comes to scaring up some big-time fun for the dozens of people involved in Fright Night at Brecknock Park in Camden.

No way.

For these ghoulishly inclined people, Halloween is a time for friends named Freddy and Jason, ghosts appearing out of thin air, the sound of chainsaws and the smell of fear.

The organizers of Fright Night at Brecknock Park, which is put on by the Kent County Parks and Recreation Department, are set to serve up the screams when they open the gates to their haunt tonight.

The walk-through attraction will be open from 7 until 10 p.m. (depending upon attendance) on Fridays and Saturdays — a total of six days — until Oct. 29.

Tickets cost $7 per victim and staff recommends that parents use discretion when bringing younger children.

Fright Night co-organizer Terry Kauffman, right, helps David Erli with his costume

Fright Night co-organizer Terry Kauffman, right, helps David Erli with his costume

Children under 18 must be supervised by an adult.

“It’s so much fun, it should be illegal. It’s a blast. I love it,” said Matt Boller, who is tasked with finding cast members every year. “It’s so much fun just being with friends and scaring people.

“You can’t beat it. It’s like a Fright Night family. If you’re in here, you’re fair game.”

Like most cast members, Woodside’s Ashley Papen started participating in Fright Night when she was just 10 years old and keeps coming back for the fun into her adult years.

“It’s just fun to scare the crap out of adults and kids alike,” she said. “Normally, I’m one of the clowns in the scary clown room but this year I’m thinking about being a zombie just to change it up.”

Terry Kaufman is the director and visionary behind all the mayhem that includes 30 different scenes that comprise Fright Night, which takes almost a half hour to walk through.

For Mr. Kaufman, Halloween is not a just one-day affair. Rather, it’s a year-long passion.

Chris Bolander plays The Creeper from the film "Jeepers Creepers."

Chris Bolander plays The Creeper from the film “Jeepers Creepers.”

“I really enjoy designing and building all the different scenes,” he said. “I pretty much make sure that everything stays up and running all the time. That’s my main job.”

Mr. Kaufman’s fingerprints are on everything from the haunted barn where the attraction begins, to the castle, Freddy Krueger’s school bus, Jason’s house from “Friday the 13th”, zombie land, the butcher shop, hallway to hell, toxic waste scene, grave yard and clown scene.

He also promised visitors two huge surprises at the end, but refused to elaborate on them … He warned people to “Just be ready!”

Mr. Kaufman has been working on Fright Night since 2000, the year the event moved to Brecknock Park from Tidbury Park in Dover, where it first started in 1992.

He said the people who put in their time on the project have become an extended family, with some new faces scattered in from year-to-year.

“We have a few seniors that go off to college every year and we always gain the new juniors and seniors coming up,” said Mr. Kaufman. “They need volunteer hours for their schools, so would you rather pick up trash or would you like to come out here and scare people?”

As an added benefit, the event raises money for a charity every year. Last year, the Fright Night Friends presented the Home of the Brave homeless veterans’ shelter in Milford with a check for $5,170.34.

This year’s designated charity will be the Kent County Chapter 850 of Vietnam Veterans of America.

There’s no question that being involved with Fright Night has its own rewards, according to David Erli, of Dover.

“I’ve been doing this for a few years,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of friends who do it and I started when I was in high school. It’s fun to just be out here with your friends and the people who actually help and participate with it. It’s always a good experience.”

Planning for Fright Night starts in late June or early July every year.

Brandon Shockley is a ghoul standing in the vortex.

Brandon Shockley is a ghoul standing in the vortex.

The barn is a fixed structure in the park and is used for storage most of the year, but every other part of the attraction is either reassembled from the previous year or built from scratch to keep things fresh.

“There’s a lot of preparation,” Mr. Boller said. “My part is getting cast members to come help build all this mess and, of course, get people to man the scenes.

“I get about 65 volunteers to help us put this production on. It takes about 45 people to fill all the scenes, but we like to have sneaky little walkers and stalkers that come around and extras just in case somebody wants to take a break or something then they can fill in.”

David Bralley plays a warlock at Fright Night. He says he really enjoys his role, which includes being both kind and mischievous.

“It’s a bunch of fun,” he said. “They’ve been scared to death by the time they get to me and there’s more coming, so I just try to calm them down a little bit.

“Then I ask them if they want to jump into the smoking pot— I’ve got a fire pit and a cauldron with a fog machine in it and lights on it — and then I send them past the graveyard and into the crazy clown room.”

Just be careful. It appears as if nobody can be trusted when it comes to Fright Night fun in Camden.

Gabriel Connaghan portrays Freddy Krueger  from "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

Gabriel Connaghan portrays Freddy Krueger from “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Not even a warlock.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.