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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Astronomy club prepares for Haunted Fort Roberdeau

Carrying on a Halloween tradition
James Krug
Scares. A group from last year’s event poses as they begin to set up for the night. On October 7, the club will begin their set up for this years event.

On Oct. 7, James Krug and the astronomy club will be conducting a Halloween event at Fort Roberdeau. Haunted Fort Roberdeau will consist of the Haunted Trail as well as the Denny Ivory Memorial Trick-or-Treat Night.

Krug began hosting the Haunted Fort Roberdeau event seven years ago as a way to raise money for the club. 

“Roberdeau has always been near and dear to my heart; I actually interned there back in college,” Krug said. “And we have a really nice observatory at Fort Roberdeau called The Mountain Lion Observatory. But, we wanted to have a fundraiser to raise some additional money for it.” 

On the trail itself, students dress up and perform for the guests walking through the woods. The ultimate goal of the students is to scare the patrons and see if they can “survive” the trail. 

“We haunt the long walking trail in the woods,” Krug said. “Our astronomy club students are actors and actresses, and we basically give the students the autonomy to dress however they want and decide as a group what their theme will be for their station.” 

“I’m looking forward to dressing up and at least attempting to scare someone. My mom has experience making masks, so she’ll be helping me make my costume,” junior Ava Cabell said. 

Krug thinks students seem to enjoy the night full of scaring. The number of participants has been going up each year they host this event. 

“We had close to 90 students participate last year. This year we have over 100 students. This puts us above local haunted houses in numbers because they will only have five or 10 people haunting while we will have over 100,” Krug said. 

“I started participating in tenth grade, so this will be my third year doing Haunted Fort Roberdeau. Mr. Krug did a really good job of promoting it so I tried it out, and I really liked it,” astronomy club president Austin Parker said. 

Students try to find different ways and plan different themes and costumes to scare people. The themes are completely up to the students to ensure a unique experience each year. 

“Everyone gets to put their own creative spin on trying to scare others and it’s a great time for everyone to be involved. Every station on the trail is unique, and it’s exciting to see everyone’s creativity shine,” senior Thomas Ford said. 

“I really like being creative and finding different, creative ways to scare people. I also like being with my friends while doing it. I just try to do my best to scare people and have fun,” Parker said. 

According to Krug, the amount of planning that goes into making the event happen is crucial. They try to strategically choose the best day to host the event. 

“It always helps when we have good weather and we can promote the event on social media, but this year we picked this date because it is an off week for Penn State. When you want to have a big event here in the fall, it’s not a good idea to try and go head-to-head with the Nittany Lions,” Krug said.  

Along with the Haunted Trail, the Denny Ivory Memorial Trick-or-Treat will be held at 6:30 p.m. that evening. Trick-or-treating is directed toward the younger guests who aren’t quite ready to handle the dark, scary trail. 

“We partner with our friends at Blair Candy, and we hold the Denny Ivory Memorial Trick-or-Treat night,” Krug said. “It’s named after a friend of mine, Denny Ivory, who lost his life while he was working at Blair Candy in a car accident. And so, Blair Candy donates candy each year. Our evening begins with the kids trick-or-treating between the cabins and astronomy club members give them candy. They have to solve a Halloween puzzle to get the last of the candy.” 

For other guests who may not be up for the scare, there will also be an event going on inside the barn at the same time as the Haunted Trail. The Starlight Astronomy Club will also be there opening the Mountain Lion Observatory.

“We actually have a really neat colonial Halloween Legends and Lore Scavenger Hunt, which is inside the barn at Fort Roberdeau. They can complete this scavenger hunt to earn more candy,” Krug said. “Our friends from the Starlight Astronomy Club in Altoona open up the Mountain Lion Observatory, so if guests survive the Haunted Trail, they can journey down to the observatory and use the telescopes to look at the night sky.”

Adviser Krug and the astronomy club would love to see the school come out and support them on Oct. 7 for only $5 a person or $10 a carload.

“It’s going to be a really, really fun evening, and also, an affordable evening. Just be careful not to hit any deer on your way to or from Fort Roberdeau,” Krug said.

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About the Contributor
Charlie Kephart, Associate Editor
Hey everyone! My name is Charlie, I'm a junior and Associate Editor of the Mountain Echo. I was on the Livewire staff in Jr High and Mt Echo staff since 10th grade. I have had a passion for writing since 4th grade and even promised my 4th grade ELA teacher that I would publish a book some day. My main goals in life are to go into the medical field at Pitt. Whenever I am not at school, I enjoy watching Netflix, reading and hanging out with my boyfriend. I'm super excited to write stories to keep you guys updated on everything going on here at our school!

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    Max WeatherwalkOct 14, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    that is so freeking cool dude