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Volunteers help make 'Trail of Terror' scary fun

| Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
Zombie dolls Stephanie Piazza, 15, of Glendale, left, and Karie Karwowski, 16, of Presto toss a ball back and forth while acting in Carnegie's Trail of Terror at Carnegie Park.
Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Signal Item
Zombie dolls Stephanie Piazza, 15, of Glendale, left, and Karie Karwowski, 16, of Presto toss a ball back and forth while acting in Carnegie's Trail of Terror at Carnegie Park. Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Ray Bordenick, 13, of Carnegie sprints away from the sounds of a chainsaw while making his way through Carnegie's Trail of Terror.
Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Signal Item
Ray Bordenick, 13, of Carnegie sprints away from the sounds of a chainsaw while making his way through Carnegie's Trail of Terror. Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Rick Polano of Carnegie plays the psycho butcher at Carnegie's Trail of Terror at Carnegie Park. Proceeds of the haunted attraction go to the skatepark to be built nearby. the Trail of Terror continues Friday and Saturday this week.
Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Signal Item
Rick Polano of Carnegie plays the psycho butcher at Carnegie's Trail of Terror at Carnegie Park. Proceeds of the haunted attraction go to the skatepark to be built nearby. the Trail of Terror continues Friday and Saturday this week. Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Brianna Maust, 6, of Carnegie has a close encounter with a masked figure while making her way through Carnegie's Trail of Terror at Carnegie Park Friday, Oct. 19, 2012.
Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Signal Item
Brianna Maust, 6, of Carnegie has a close encounter with a masked figure while making her way through Carnegie's Trail of Terror at Carnegie Park Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item

There are evil elves, a Victorian vampire and a barbaric butcher shop. Oh, yeah, a two-headed zombie baby doll, too.

Equal parts horrific and humorous, the Trail of Terror opened to travelers last weekend at Carnegie Park. The first-year haunted attraction is being used to raise money for Pitcher Park Memorial Skate Park.

“We did this in two weeks,” said Carnegie Councilwoman Sue Demko, who helped lead efforts to create the trail. “And with the help of so many people, it's unbelievable. We've had at least 40 people helping us.”

The trail, which also includes a pumpkin patch geared for families near the stone shelter just off Forsythe Road, will be open two more nights: Friday and Saturday, from 7 to 11 p.m.. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children.

Demko said the borough is raising $30,000 to $40,000 for the new skate park, with the non-profit Pitcher Park Memorial Foundation providing most of the funding for the estimated $600,000 venture.

“A lot of what we're raising is going to go to security cameras and things like that, so it'll be safe,” Demko said.

Mary Pitcher, who started the memorial foundation in honor of her sons Vincent and Stephen Pitcher — avid skateboarders who drowned in 2008 — sparked the idea for the trail in Carnegie Council. She also volunteered her time to get the event ready for Halloween.

“Mary Pitcher is just the most wonderful person,” Demko said. “Tireless, too.”

The result has transformed the pathway through Carnegie Park into a torch-lit track unrecognizable to residents after dark.

Buses take groups from the shelter to the top of the hill at the park, and from there, they embark a walking trip through tunnels, graveyards and even a maze.

Back at the shelter, things are little less frightening — especially for those interested in snacks. Hot dogs, hot chocolate, cookies, cupcakes, caramel apples and more are available, as are seasonal crafts, such as painted pumpkins.

References to the future of Carnegie Park are also there, with brand-new skateboard decks on sale. There also is a donation jar for the skate park and sign-up sheet for volunteers.

Demko said other unique fundraisers are planned, including a murder mystery dinner and a gun bash.

And even if Pitcher Park is already open by the time Halloween 2013 comes around, Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek is eager to see the Trail of Terror turn into a tradition.

“What I'm hoping is once we run it for the skate park, this is something other groups can take over,” he said.

Dan Stefano is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dstefano@tribweb.com or 412-388-5816.

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