Haunted forest adapts to COVID-19 regulations


DICKERSON, Md (WDVM) – The Halloween season is now upon us, and a local haunted trail is preparing to open for business while keeping things safe and also spooky.

Markoff’s Haunted Forest in Dickerson usually facilitates multiple haunted trails and sees several hundred customers a night, but that will look quite different under this year’s COVID-19 regulations.

Vice President of Operations Paul Brubacher said this year, all actors will be keeping their distance and they are selling cohort tickets for up to six people in a group.

“Usually we have 200 plus staff out here and, just in the woods alone, we’re going to have 35 to 40 actors,” Brubacher said. “We’re going to actively combine both Trail One and Trail Two to make our hybrid trail, which we usually only run on Halloween, but we’re going to do it all year this year.”

Brubacher said the actors will undergo training on how to scare visitors while also keeping their distance. Brubacher said this would be accomplished through the use of animatronics, noisemakers, blasts of air, and more.

“So we have removed a lot of the human element and just eliminated that issue completely,” Brubacher said. “You can still accomplish a good pop scare while six feet away.”

Markoff’s hired an independent company to electrostatic spray the forest and high touch surfaces and hand sanitizing stations will be stationed throughout.

Under recently released CDC regulations regarding holidays, open-air, walk through haunted forests are defined as moderate risk activities as long as social distancing and mask-wearing are enforced.

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