Saddle Brook's Field of Horrors, cut short last year by October's freak snowstorm (presumably Mother Nature's punishment for invoking the undead), is back and more terrifying than ever.
The elaborate seasonal haunted attraction, now in its fourth year making your worst nightmares come true, returns to Veterans Field this Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
Field of Horrors creators Ed and Joy Ebel and their all-volunteer Haunt Crew have spent months brainstorming, designing and building this year's setup from scratch to ensure that both newcomers and repeat visitors enjoy a unique and horrifying experience.
Joy was loath to reveal too much, but said this year's Field of Horrors will feature quite a few new elements, including a pirate ship and a reimagined maze.
"This year's maze fully submerses you in different worlds," a blurb from the Field of Horrors Facebook page reads. "You can be sure to expect constant twists and turns, gruesome sights and smells, non-stop scares and a whole new plan of 'attack.' This year is most certainly not for the faint of heart."
Until they started experiencing costly prop thefts, the Ebels, long-time Halloween enthusiasts, actually used to hold what has since morphed into the Field of Horrors at their Saddle Brook home.
Once their now 20-year-old son entered kindergarten, the Ebels took their haunted attraction to Franklin School for a few years, before bringing it to Saddle Brook Little League, and then four years ago, unleashing it townwide. There are now some 100 volunteer performers, including a council member, in their employ.
"We just like Halloween and we met people — our friends — that are just as cuckoo, and we just all get into this," said Joy, explaining the event's inception.
Joy and a handful of others are the scene masterminds, while her husband and resident Sean Miller build all the props. The process is painstakingly planned.
"People think we just put this up and we're done," Joy said. "This is months of planning and thinking of different themes to do. It's quite a process."
For those craving the scare of their life, castle gates open at 7 p.m. on all three nights this week. Admission is $5 per person with ticket proceeds supporting the following year's event and local township organizations.