There are a lot of people who think it is fun to either scare others, or be scared themselves. A special fundraising event being planned by the Sun Theatre of Gothenburg offers opportunities for both.
The Sod Witch Trail is set for Halloween weekend, and theatre co-manager Jessie Hruza said plans are well on their way for the spook-tacular event. “It will be at the Sod Museum, where co-owner JC Smith has been wanting to put a trail along the creek bed for a long time. This just gives him an excuse to get it done,” said Hruza.
The event will start on Thursday, Oct. 28 and the trail will be open from 7:30 to about 10 p.m. that first night. On Friday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 30 the trail will be open until midnight. “On Sunday we’re not quite sure how late we will stay open. We are thinking maybe 7:30 to 11 p.m. but it just depends on how late people want to stay out. If there are still people there we will stay open,” Hruza said.
The Sod Witch Trail was an idea that came about when the management and board of the theatre began discussing ways to replace Dancing With the Stars, which has been cancelled the past two years due to Covid. “The school was very gracious and were going to let us have it (Dancing With the Stars) this year, but with the uncertainty of what was going to happen between now and then we just decided it would be best to not do it. So we brainstormed some ideas,” Hruza explained. “The theatre actually put on a haunted house years ago so we already had a lot of stuff, so it was something we didn’t have to spend a ton of money on - we just needed a spot. And I love Halloween and I love scaring people - it’s fun!”
The trail will begin between the Sod House Museum (red barn) and the old sod house and run through the trees nearly to the back of Nebraska Barn & Grill. There will be a maze along the trail and the sod house will be incorporated into the scare. At the end of the trail guests will find fire pits where they will be invited to enjoy s’mores, popcorn and hot chocolate. “They can just sit around the fire and hang out and drink their hot chocolate,” she said.
Volunteers are still needed for the event and anyone interested in helping is encouraged to visit the website at gothenburgsun.com to sign up. Volunteers are also needed to help set up the week before the event. “It takes a lot of volunteers, and we want to keep it safe so we are taking a lot of precautions,” she said.
“We decided ahead of time what kind of ‘scares’ we wanted to have and the theme we wanted to go for and we decided on witches. The sod house is kind of an old creepy, witchy place, and it went with the stuff we had,” Hruza explained. “We also got some items from a Cozad youth group who were selling their haunted house stuff. People will drive quite a long way to go to a haunted house or haunted trail, so we are hoping they will come here.”
Hruza said the trail will be pretty scary so parents will want to be aware of that before taking young children. “We can communicate with each other via walky-talky to let everyone know if there are little kids in the group and not to be too scary. The ‘scarers’ can help tone that down, but it really depends on the child,” she said.
Admission for the Sod Witch Trail will be $15 per person and fast passes can be purchased for $25 per person.