By Scott Mims
It’s nearly that time of year again—when the leaves crackle beneath your feet, there’s a chill in the air, and you start to wonder who—or what—could be lurking out in the shadows.
In Chilton County, you don’t have to drive very far to feed your imagination. The Lost Souls Haunted Trail has nearly 30 terrifying scenes waiting to do just that.
The Trail is sponsored by the Verbena High School Band Boosters and is entering its third year of existence. In that short time, the event has become so popular that it draws people from across the Southeast.
“It’s fun for us and for the kids,” said Matt Williams, booster club president.
The Trail is a guided walking tour, with two guides leading groups of 7-10 people.
Each “scene” features live actors performing skits. The actors touch and interact with the public.
It takes approximately 100 people—both students and adults—to make the Trail a success. Many of the concepts for characters and scenes came from the students themselves.
“It’s their imagination,” said Beth Smith, club secretary and treasurer.
You could say the event started by accident. The first of what would become the Lost Souls Haunted Trail was intended to be an outdoor party for band members. More than $700 was raised on the first night, and it was decided to make the Trail an annual community-wide fundraiser.
“We just realized that this trail is a good way to make money,” Williams said.
In 2011, more than $7,000 was raised, with 80 percent going to support the band and 20 percent going to the Verbena Volunteer Fire Department, which provides assistance at the event. Estimated attendance that year was about 2,600 people.
Band Booster Club members hope to raise enough money to purchase new band uniforms. The school’s current uniforms have not been replaced in more than 15 years, according to Williams.
“That’s our goal—to get the band students new uniforms,” Smith said.
The event is held on Smith’s family’s property off Chilton County Road 480. Just turn off U.S. Highway 31 (between Peach Park and Whataburger in Clanton), cross County Road 41 and onto 480. Go approximately 1.5 miles and parking is on the right, while the trail is on the left.
The Lost Souls Haunted Trail will be open every Saturday night in October at 7, as well as Friday, Oct. 26 starting at about 9 p.m.
Admission is $10 per person, and children under a certain height will be admitted for $8.
Groups of five or more people attending together will be admitted for $7.50 per person.
T-shirts will be available for $10 apiece, Smith said.
On the final night of the event, local band Divided Seasons will perform.
For those wondering about the recommended age of children attending, Smith said it is left up to parents’ discretion.
“We’re real big on it being very safe and a fun event,” she said.