The Gahanna Parks & Recreation Department, Lincoln High School and new Creekside developer Strathmore are partnering to bring an additional scream to this year's Creepside.
The three groups have teamed up to add a haunted hallway maze, complete with live costumed characters, for the Oct. 10 spooktacular.
Lincoln theater director Cindi Macioce said seniors in her performance-studio group are volunteering to design the hallway, with workers from the parks-rec department helping with the designs.
"My kids will create/design the different chambers in the hallway and then be the costumed characters," Macioce said. "There is a modest budget that the kids are working with, so this is such real-world application."
From a theatrical standpoint, Macioce said, 19 students will be able to put into practice tech-theater/set-design principles, as well as their acting and improvisational skills.
Terry Benton, Strathmore principal and vice president of real estate, said he had brainstormed with city leaders about ways to contribute to this year's Creepside.
"We all decided that it might be fun to offer a haunted-house option for kids 10 to 15 years of age," he said. "Recreation specialist Zac Guthrie and our project manager, Ron Calhoun, looked at several options and determined that creating a haunted maze through some existing infrastructure would balance everyone's needs.
"We are very happy to also partner with Lincoln High School theater teacher (Cindi) Macioce's performance-studio students to tap into their creative skills for this event. We know everyone will want to come out and see their frightening ideas."
Benton said Strathmore has a long track record of supporting the arts, festivals and museums in the communities in which they invest and that the developer would make a strong commitment in those areas in Gahanna.
Guthrie said Creepside would have designated areas, offering age-appropriate activities.
"On the island down by the waterfall, it will be appropriate for all ages, with inflatable fall decorations," he said. "It's not so scary. We'll have parks-and-rec games with prizes and candy. We also have the pirate lagoon area. We will have a temporary tattoo artist near the Halloween hall. There will be a variety for all ages."
For adults who want to attend in costume, Guthrie asks that they not cover their faces during the family-friendly celebration. Fun, animated, silly costumes or painted faces are encouraged, he said.
Guthrie said the entire Creekside area would be transformed into a festival filled with a trick-or-treat trail, featuring 60-plus businesses and organizations, live music, entertainment, pumpkin carving and a haunted trail.
Three live bands will offer entertainment, including Endless Recess, providing children's interactive dance music; Bob Ford, sing-a-long acoustic folk music and Irish dance music; and the Song Birds, a local group of musicians providing folk and country music.
Mifflin Township will have its fire-prevention smoke trailer, as well as several fire engines for children to see and touch.
Pumpkin carving by Rock on Ice also will be on hand.
Guthrie said the haunted hall, pumpkin carving and bands wouldn't be possible without the support of Schneider Insurance, a business that's also providing glow bracelets and trick-or-treat bags to attendees.
The free event will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Creekside, 123 Mill St.