Arts and Entertainment

Slideshow | I was a teenage zombie; ‘Dark Trail’ group making Halloween fun again, for all ages

The zombies look hungry, the psycho clown is suitably disturbing and the Jawas have their chatter down pat. Now, all that’s needed are some singing, dancing vampires.

“Calling all vampires,” floats Mark Hennig’s voice from across the room.

A few minutes of vampire-wrangling later, and Hennig and fellow Night on a Dark Trail organizer Stephanie Merrow are instructing a group of women in sultry steps and creepy looks.

All in black, Ashley Carroll-Feider smiles under her pallid makeup.

They may look charming, but Hennig assures you that “They’re not nice people.” Their song is meant to lure folks off the trail. Whatever happens, don’t follow.

The vampires are among an 100-person cast in Night on a Dark Trail, an outdoor haunted house that will spook a suggested fourth-grade-through-adult audience, Friday, Oct. 28, on Snoqualmie Ridge.

Hennig, a Snoqualmie resident, founded ‘Dark Trail’ as a way to give Valley residents, especially teens, something fun and productive to do on Halloween.

“The trouble with Halloween is that when you reach sixth, seventh, eighth grade, you don’t get to trick or treat anymore,” Hennig said. But teens still need a spooky outlet. Hennig’s providing just that, channelling Halloween spirits in a positive direction. The event is also an outlet for the creative edge of Hennig and many others.

Teen zombies

Faces painted, teen zombies Codee Bishop, Vivian Gatte, Ashley Carroll-Feider, Emma Gilmartin and Erin Graves sat in a row as Merrow gave them their motivation.

In the scene, they sit on a log, looking down at electronic devices in their hands.

“You’re completely into this video game,” Merrow instructed. “If any noise comes out of you, it’s deep, guttural. I don’t ever want to hear any high pitched screams… You’ve sat there and played video games for so long, you’re dead.”

The girls have watched enough zombie movies to know what to do. Their vacant eyes, ratted hair and ripped-up clothes convey a suitable undead vibe.

Zombies are neat, they say, because they don’t seem all that farfetched.

“You can picture a zombie apocalypse actually happening,” said Graves.

The girls were very much looking forward to scaring people.

Parent Darla Gatte, mother of Vivian, had no qualms about her undead daughter. As a zombie, she looks “very teenager-like,” Darla said. The event seems well organized, and the teens are very excited, she added.

Ladies in white

In line with Hennig’s vision, ‘Dark Trail’ blended talents of all ages. Among the ‘Ladies in White,” ghostly specters who haunt a pumpkin patch, Autumn Dukich, age 14, joins Danielle Newcomer, age 41.

“Sad, forlorn, lonely” is how Newcomer describes her character. But personally, she takes a lot of glee in the idea of her haunting, anonymous under her white veil. “That’s the beauty of it,” Newcomer said. Will she give someone the shivers? “I can only hope!”

Besides Autumn, the Dukich family includes a Jawa son and a ‘spirit guide’ dad. Mom Heidi, who happens to be the director of the Mount Si Food Bank, is a ‘Weird Sister.’ She calls ‘Dark Trail’ an opportunity to get involved, have fun and give back.

Night on a Dark Trail has received support from the Snoqualmie Tribe, Ridge Owner’s Association, Snoqualmie Parks Department, Nintendo of America and Church on the Ridge.

Learn more about Night on a Dark Trail at

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