Local haunts create unique experience for howling good times
When you’re a Rhinehart, a penchant for horror, gore, and creatures that lurk in the darkness comes with the territory. From as far back as his toddler years, Chris Rhinehart remembers tagging along with his parents as they created and hosted haunted houses at schools and YMCAs throughout Northern Virginia for the community to enjoy. He says his early exposure allowed him to see it in a different way than most people. “It’s in my blood,” he says with a smile. So far, this tradition has continued for 30 years and into the third generation of the family.
“Total darkness in the cornfield” is what frightens Rhinehart the most. He and his friends dare each other to go into the field alone just for a good scare but, he says, “usually we have no takers.” When the family took a break from haunting for a few years, Rhinehart’s brother Billy started it back up again in his garage just for their neighborhood to enjoy. It was so much fun that Chris decided he wanted to carry on the family tradition and take the lead in his own venture.
For two years, he hosted haunts at the New Baltimore firehouse but then wanted to expand on his ideas and explore the possibility of an outdoor environment. So the idea was pitched to the owners at Buckland Farm Market to create scary scenes in the corn field behind the farm market—and it was accepted. This fall, for the fifth year in a row families will brave the eerie darkness for an adventure of laughter and fright at the Route 29 Haunted Farm.
During the day, Chris runs Rhino’s Ink, a screenprinting and embroidery business he started in his basement and has kept small throughout the last six years he has been in business. His three loyal employees, Rob, Candace, and Verlin, really help out there during the two to three months each year Chris is busy with his more hair-raising project. Chris says the long days of juggling these demands, in addition to coaching t-ball, are worth it: “I like to see people having a good time, and I really enjoy creating scenes that inspire laughter and fright.”
He and his family take pride in the creative minds they are blessed with that allow them to create scarier and more unique scenes every year. This wouldn’t be possible without the help of good friend and right-hand man Joey Garlem and many other friends and family. Now, even his four-year-old son uses the trademark Rhinehart imagination to contribute to designing and decorating.
“One of the big things that separates us from some of the other haunts is that we change it up every year and we have a whole trailer full of costumes,” says Rhinehart. The actors are all real people and are decked out in full costume. The acting will be stronger than ever before, with the skits for each scene written and practiced for months before the opening.
Well received by the community, the Haunted Farm has become a tradition for families who delight in screaming together while making it through the adventure. For about 30 minutes, participants will encounter frightful scenes as they make their way through the rows and rows of corn in the darkness. Families can enjoy food concessions, music, and a bonfire too. It’s sure to be a night to remember!
4484 Lee Highway in New Baltimore
@Rt29HauntedFarm on Twitter for last-minute weather updates
JUST IN – Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ben and Anna Newman’s intricate “home haunt” will not be open this year, but they will still be accepting donations for the Haymarket Food Pantry. Look for Ben & Anna’s event to return in 2018. Haunted Laurianne Woods, named after the community in which it is located, is an intricate, winding pathway through the woods with scenes based on legends from times past. The event is free each year, but donations in the form of monetary offerings or goods for the Haymarket Food Pantry are accepted and encouraged. In 2018 watch how Ben tackles the storylines, characters, and other aspects to the creative design, and the core building team helps to implement it.
8233 Katie Lynn Court in Gainesville
“This haunted trail in and around the barns of an abandoned, haunted farm will leave you breathless or gasping for your breath…come if you dare!” according to Haunted Hollows website. This 20-plus minute walking trail through an abandoned farm full of haunted barns and scary scenes also includes music, movies, campfires, and snacks available while you wait in line for your turn to scream through the trails in and around the farm.
The farm, which has been in the same family since 1961, has a spooky past even without the halloween festivities, and may well be haunted on its own. Reading its history will give you the shivers before you even visit. Stories told in letters found in the walls and a teenager’s diary entries found in the attic reveal details of the farm’s past. It served as a Civil War hospital during the Battle of Second Manassas, and letters reveal gory stories of amputations and deaths. The farm seemed to have an unusual number of accidents, and livestock would not enter its barns. There is a previously unidentified cemetery under the vegetable garden with skeletal limbs likely from amputations. Eek!
8275 Maple Tree Lane in Warrenton