Feast of frights: Haunted options aplenty in Cottage Grove

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Or maybe just a little uneasy.

Local haunted houses and creepy corn mazes have opened for the Halloween season. Some deliver mild scares, while others jolt visitors with full-on frights.

Brian and Holly Darling will host Nightmare Grove’s “A Fear Experience” at their Cottage Grove home Oct. 24-25. They’ll also be open Halloween night.

The Darlings trucked in corn stalks to build a backyard maze, where volunteer actors in masks and makeup will skulk, scurry and scream. The couple has staged Nightmare Grove for more than 10 years, with the help of Holly’s brother, Scott Pederson.

“We’ve always loved Halloween,” Brian Darling said. “It started super, super small, just scaring kids on the front steps, basically. Now it encompasses the garage, the driveway, our backyard and the neighbor’s backyard.”

Read full story on SWC Bulletin

‘Nightmare Grove’

It started with candy at the front door, moved to the garage, then the driveway and this year, Nightmare Grove will totally surround the house at 9042 Upper 81st Street in Cottage Grove.

Nightmare Grove, a growing creation designed by Brian and Holly Darling, now has a 30-foot tunnel, a Room of Death, a graveyard, a Monster in a Box that shakes ominously when approached, fog machines, black and strobe lights, skeletons, a giant coffin, huge spiders, rats, bats, cats and cockroaches all dancing to the sounds of a chain saw and unearthly screams.

“We’re both Halloween enthusiasts,” Holly Darling said. “Candy was too boring. After the first year, we decided to make the evening more interesting.

Read full story on SWC Bulletin