By Kristine Favreau
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – The shrill scream tore through the stillness of the night, echoing off the hills and breaking the peaceful silence. Suddenly, a woman dressed in white with blood marring her face vanishes into thin air, leaving behind only the memory of her torn and dirty wedding dress.
In the hills, another haunted vision materializes as a witch pleads for her life as she is prepared to be burned at the stake.
With the moon growing fuller each night and the approach of All Hallows Eve, the sighting of ghouls and goblins, witches and vampires and star-crossed lovers whose lives ended in tragedy are increasing in frequency at Ogletree Gap Park in Copperas Cove.
Luckily for residents, those sightings are all part of the Spooktacular Fright Trail, sponsored by the Brazos Bottom Cowographers, the Copperas Cove High School Thespian Club and the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce.
The trail, which is open to the public through Tuesday, is a 20-minute horror-filled hayride through the back hills of the park.
"There is nothing I love more than scaring the life out of people," said Sarah Lumpkins, an 11th-grade student, who for the trail, has been transformed into a wart-covered witch who guides the innocent through the performances. "I'm having the best time listening to everyone scream."
People brave enough to venture the ride are guided through several spooky skits and performances, which include a headless horseman, blood-thirsty vampires, dead brides and maniacal trolls all desperate to make a meal of the visitors who dare cross their paths.
"The trail was scarier than I thought it would be," said Mi Young Cho.
Although Cho's companion, Christopher Mead, enjoyed the ride, he said he had more fun watching Cho jump and scream.
This is the first year for the Spooktacular Fright Trail; if Saturday night's turnout is any indicator, the event is sure to become a favorite Halloween adventure for the city.
"The crowds have really been great," said Cowographer Chuck Clark. "The city really needed something like this, and it is turning out to be extremely well-received."
Clark added that the trail is appropriate for all ages, but little ones be warned; there are loud gunshots and ear-deafening screams.
The Thespian Club Boosters are ready at the ride's end with hot chocolate and snacks to warm up visitors to the concession stand.
"The Thespian Club has done an amazing job," said Marty Smith, Cove Chamber of Commerce president. "They've written the skits and designed their own costumes; they're all so excited about this program and have worked really hard to make it a success."
Contact Kristine Favreau at firstname.lastname@example.org