YOUR STORIES: Day of the Undead
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Monday, November 02, 2015
By Bekah Wright
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Image courtesy of Diane Spina


One of those plague doctors in the photo above? Yeah, that would be my friend Diane, or, as I call her, Seniw.


We met during our freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill. Though I can't find the photo, I'm pretty sure she was a flapper (or was it Charlie Chaplin?) that first Halloween. You'll note a progression in Halloween costumes over the time...


Image from Diane Spina from Facebook page


For example, there was the cute orange wig with the creepy cat-eye contacts year.


Image from Diane Spina's Facebook page


Which led to this sophisticated Vampiress.

What the above photos have in common? They were all taken from the Clifton Haunted Trail in Virginia.

From the moment Diane's family moved into this quaint, historic neighborhood, they've been participating in the annual Clifton Haunted Trail festivities.

Here's what the site has to say about the area: "Clifton, VA is a small civil-war era town in Fairfax County, originally known as Devereux Station in the 1800's. Many battles during the Civil War were fought near this town, such as in Bull Run. Many of the historic homes and commercial residences are said to be haunted. Ghost sighting stories are usual chatter amongst the town residents. Furthermore, a "haunted" bridge located in Clifton is considered one of the most famous legends in the United States."


Image from Diane Spina's Facebook page


If venturing a guess, the above would be said haunted bridge. Except for this...

Image from Clifton Haunted Trail's Facebook page

Gulp.Guessing this creepazoid might be who they're referring to instead.


Nope. Diane says, "The bridge in the picture isn't the Bunnyman Bridge; it's not nearly as picturesque. The police keep watch over the real one during Halloween. The bridge in the photo is the one people cross to get onto the trail of the eight-acre park."

Thank you for that clarification. I'll still keep an eye out for bunny ears when crossing either bridge.

Anyway, the Clifton Haunted Trail began back in 2001. Over 3,500 people come out to walk the trail. Then there are the 200+ volunteers who act out around 15 spine-tingling skits along the eight-acre patch of woods.


Knowing this kind of thing is right up my alley, Diane phones every year and says, "Come to Clifton!" The one year I did, a storm hit, cancelling the proceedings. I'm not bitter. Nope. Not one bit.


This year, Diane didn't even bother to give me the heads up. Instead, she reported in.

Image courtesy of Diane Spina


"This was the uniform of the evening. We were such a dark skit -- 15 plague doctors, plus rats, body piles, incense and a body bonfire."


"You're killin' me, Seniw!"


"...Followed at the end by air cannons launching bird seed into the canopy of trees, which then drops on the guests -- my idea -- because we were only kind of spooky. Some guests need the startle, or they feel slighted," she continued.


"So thoughtful of you." Yes, my teeth were gritted. Why, why, why did the damned storm keep me from experiencing this?


And yes, the reason why the Clifton Haunted Trail is on this travel site is because it's a bucket list item of mine. What? Your list doesn't include things like Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Oregon aka where exteriors of "The Shining" were shot?


"Small child was a plague doctor with me this time around," Diane said, referring to her youngest daughter.

Coulda been me...


"We've volunteered on the trail as a family for many years," was she reminding me of the other opportunities I'd missed out on???


"The trail is rated PG-13," said Diane. "I'm not old enough to walk it. Though C (older daughter) walked it the past few years. Both kids vamped with me. Spousal unit was a security Dementor."


I hate them all.


"Even if you can't make the Haunted Trail, you should still come and trick-or-treat in Clifton. There's no age limit, trick-or-treating is fair game, as long as you have a costume and a good attitude."


Eek! Pretty sure she could sense my ornery attitude through the phone.


"Occasionally, you need a joke, too," she concluded.

Image courtesy of Diane Spina


Did you hear about the one where a California-based Halloweenofile could never quite make it to the Clifton Haunted Trail?


"I'm too chicken to walk the trail," Diane said in what I'm sure was meant to be a comforting way. "The one time I did, I came across a ghoul, and even though I knew it was a friend of mine, it scared the bejesus out of me. I tripped on a root and lost my vampire teeth."




"Oh, I went back the next day and was able to find them."




Now that we can all breathe easier knowing no vampire teeth are waiting to be stumbled upon along Clifton's Haunted Trail (instances like these are how urban myths begin), let me encourage you...


Plan to attend the three-hour-long event next year. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for ages 12 and under (subject to change). Proceeds benefit the town of Clifton.


Now, before this post concludes, there's an order of business that must be addressed... Happy Birthday, Seniw! Halloween, and life in general, has been so much more fun since you bounced into gymnastics class freshman year!

Don't miss next year's Clifton Haunted Trail like I most likely will. To get dates/details, visit



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