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Haunted Mile returns to Pettibone on foot with family night and fright night



PHOTO: @LaCrosseParksRecForestry on Facebook

A year ago, it was kind of what everybody needed — an excuse to get out.

In the midst of a pandemic, talk of trick-or-treating being unsafe, and events like Haunted Houses not happening, the La Crosse Parks and Rec. Department came to the rescue with the Haunted Mile.

Cars were lined up to La Crescent to get into Pettibone Park to get a taste of Halloween.

WHAT: Haunted Mile
WHEN: Family night 5-8 p.m. Friday (FB event); Fright Night 7-10 p.m. Saturday (FB event)
WHERE: Pettibone Park (map)
COST: Friday is free, Saturday $5

Well, this year, the Haunted Mile is back, it’s bigger and more well defined. First things first, you’ll be on foot. Secondly, there are two versions — Friday for the kids and Saturday’s “Fright Night.”

“To combat (the long lines last year) we broke it up into two nights and also made it a walk-through so we didn’t have to worry about people having to sit in a car for super long hours,” Mikayla Walkes, who works for the city’s Parks and Rec. Department, said.

Pettibone also has a new parking lot and since people are walking through the event, those attending should be able to get in and park, though there may be a standing line before starting the hike.

FILE – Cars line up from both directions Saturday afternoon for the Pettibone Haunted Mile in 2020. This year, the Parks Dept. has added a night and changed the format, which should alleviate wait times.

Walkes added that she hopes that this year will be a bit scarier, too, walking through the woods, and getting up close and personal with the scary scenes.

But that’s the plan for Saturday. Friday’s family event will run from 5-8 p.m. There will be smores, spooky storytellers and games. It is also free to attend.

From 7-10 p.m. Saturday those walking through the haunted trail can expect a more intense experience. The cost for Saturday night is $5.

The city hopes to turn the Haunted Mile into an annual event and will be looking for feedback from the community to continue to improve.

“We want to see if they (the community) like having the two nights, or maybe they just want to have a one night thing with just families,” Walkes said, “So, we’ll see how this year goes to see how we’re going to continue this.”

Due to COVID-19, last year’s drive-thru Haunted Mile led to backed up traffic and long wait times.

Last year was the first time the department put together the Haunted Mile, and it combined with the staff from Jaycees Haunted House to put together the event.

This year, with pandemic restrictions being lifted, The Jaycees in Onalaska was able to do its haunted house again and so the parks department will have to rely on volunteers to perform and scare.

For Friday there will be close to 30 volunteers, some from the community and some staff from the department. Saturday they have around 20 volunteers, and Walkes said there is still room to sign up if you are interested in helping.

For more info or to sign up as a volunteer, please contact:
Mikayla Walkes, Special Events Coordinator
[email protected]

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Sam is a student at UW-La Crosse studying media communication and political science. She has lived in La Crosse for 5 years and loves everything about the community. When she’s not at school or work, you can find her outside hiking the state parks or watching Netflix with her two cats.

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