by Sarah A. Peterson-Camacho
Halloween is not cancelled. Even as the coronavirus pandemic has so totally altered life as we know it, the seriously spooky show goes on at Hobb’s Grove, outside Sanger.
Since 1999, Fresno County’s premier haunted attraction has scared the living daylights out of countless thrill-seekers from across the Central Valley, and this year is no different. Though modified to meet the safety needs of its haunt-happy patrons, Hobb’s Grove’s kooky, spooky charm remains intact.
One can still gorge on nachos and kettle corn while perusing the pumpkins and the sinister swag to the beats of the Ghostbusters theme. And though the Haunted House and Hayride remain closed to protect the public, the Haunted Forest has been lengthened and strengthened to maximize the scares.
And so with a waxing sickle of a moon rising in the dusky October sky like a celestial hook, my husband and I strode toward the eerie lights, sights, sounds, and mouthwatering aromas of the Hobb’s Grove midway.
Flickering orange light bathed the winding path to the Haunted Forest, gnarled trees casting their twisted shadows over random hay bales.
And with every dip and turn in the terrain, scenes of classic supernatural hijinks unfolded in the mist: a werewolf howling in the trees as witches cackled over their bubbling cauldron; faceless monks gliding soundlessly through the ruins of an ancient chapel vanishing into a foggy graveyard; a phantom nun praying for lost souls on a deserted church pew; bloody limbs and charred corpses scattered around a lone, dusty hearse, its shrouded driver beckoning; ghostly wraiths floating through a blue-lit mist; a snarling dragon who towered over the shadows, its flashing green eyes aglow with hunger; and a shorn field of glowing jack ‘o lanterns, awash in neon oranges and inky purples.
And over my shrieks and my husband’s chuckles came the approaching growl of a roaring chainsaw, wielded by a masked maniac bend on bloody mayhem. But ever the gentleman, he kindly pointed us in the right direction after we took a wrong turn, then chased us through the exit!
Exiting through a warmly lit pumpkin patch adorned with gourds and hay bales, we had the option of getting our pictures taken against a rustic autumn backdrop, but chose instead to feast on that kettle corn and those nachos.
The vampires making change at the outdoor Curiosity Shoppe were happy to answer questions while flashing their fangs, selling spooky gear and accessories alongside Hobb’s Grove souvenirs and Halloween-themed face masks.
All in all, it was a top-notch date night with a bevy of socially-distanced scares!
For more information on dates, times, and ticket prices, please visit www.hobbsgrove.com.