Every summer Vernon and Bobbie Tyson, along with friends, family, and employees, begin preparing the Tree Farm Massacre for the Halloween season.
Every summer Vernon and Bobbie Tyson, along with friends, family, and employees, begin preparing the Tree Farm Massacre for the Halloween season. It takes about four months to prepare the trail, work it, and take everything down on the 30 acre farm. "My wife is the one who thought of it," Vernon Tyson said. "And this is our third year to do it." The one mile "Louisiana Horror Trail" is advertised as "not for the faint of heart." The trail has to be cut out in a zig zag path, completely transformed, and decorated. The Tysons are horror film fans, and look for inspiration while watching movies. "Most haunted houses are animatronics," Vernon said. "But we use real people." Animatronics are machines used at many amusement parks, and in films. There are about 30 people who pitch in to get everything ready for visitors, and up to 50 work per night. "The last three weekends we had people come from Houston, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Florida, and Mississippi," Vernon said. There are a lot of Louisiana visitors also. "The haunted house business is nationwide and lots of people travel to visit them," said Vernon. While the Tysons provide costumes, masks, and make-up, many workers provide their own costumes. "We're just a normal, everyday family who enjoy doing this," Vernon said. "It's fun, and our kids are into it. They take tickets and work the line." Although Vernon enjoys the season, he is a little disappointed about something. 'I'm an avid deer hunter," he said. "And unfortunately this happens during deer hunting season." The Tysons are already planning for next year, when Halloween falls on a Thursday. "We're planning a three day weekend," Vernon said. "and may stay open the week of Halloween." Tree Farm Massacre is open on weekends from September through the first weekend in November annually, with theme weekends. There is a blackout weekend with no lights on the trail, ladies night, date night, military appreciation night, and a special event for children. Usually children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult as some of the trail is described as "pretty gruesome." Tonight, Oct. 26, is date night, with $25 per couple admission. Children 12 and under can enjoy a maze and trick or treating 5-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, with a $5 admission. The gates open 30 minutes before dark, and remain open until midnight. The trail takes from 30 minutes to an hour to walk. Admission is $15 per person, and a $30 special includes entry fee, T-shirt, a drink, and a glow stick. Every year the Tysons have a new T-shirt design, and supplies are running low. The trail is open this weekend, Oct. 26-27, and next weekend, Nov. 2 and 3. It is closed on Halloween due to low attendance on that evening. Tree Farm Masscare is located at 458 Tree Farm Road in Leesville. From U.S. 171, take LA 8 (Nolan Trace Parkway), go 6.3 miles, turn right onto Camp Baker Road, go 4.1 miles, and the farm is on the right. For more info call 337-378-8726. Visit www.treefarmmassacre.com, or Facebook.