By ANN ROBINSON
A 15-foot mechanical grim reaper greets those who dare to enter the Haunted Forest at American Fork.
Instructions are given (e.g. don’t run and if you don’t touch the monsters they won’t touch you) and then you enter the maze and are on your own with only lit pumpkins to serve as your guide for the next 45 minutes.
You begin in the Moon Light Maze, a confusing twist through stacked bales of hay. The bales are stacked so high you begin to lose your sense of direction and to feel like you’re in an inescapable trap.
But then you find your way out of the maze and begin the frightening journey through the forest. Honking cars, bright lights and slamming cages keep you on your toes, not to mention the monsters jumping out of the bushes and chasing you with their chainsaws and make-do weapons.
Most of the time you walk along a trail, dodging low-hanging tree branches and monsters. But there are also different sections like the Dungeon of Doom, an old mine shaft, a tin-foil-covered room and a swampy pit. You slowly inch through these areas, partly because you can hardly see but mostly because you have no idea what’s going to happen next.
When walking along the trail, it is a good idea to keep a distance between your group and the people ahead of you. Otherwise, you can catch a glimpse of what’s coming up and it ruins the surprise. It also seems like the slower you go the more suspenseful the whole experience becomes.
The Haunted Forest monsters did a good job of startling me. They would wait until the perfect time — just when I thought I could relax for a split second — to leap out and make me jump.
But the staff held true to their promise that they wouldn’t touch me if I didn’t touch them first, even though they did get a little too close for comfort.
I would have let out a sigh of relief when I reached the end of the Haunted Forest but my throat was too sore from screaming.