With the support of countless volunteers, donators, and sponsors, Dunellen’s fifth annual Haunted Trail took place on October 7th and 8th within local Columbia Park, organized by Dunellen’s own Karen Seader. The Halloween-themed attraction is part of an ongoing effort to preserve and refurbish a disarrayed house in town.
Many faces were lined up on both Friday and Saturday afternoon; parents and children alike were invited to attend. A diverse lineup of Halloween-inspired scenes awaited them beyond the wooden fencing. Frankenstein’s monster, a mob of clowns, and waves of zombies all made an appearance along the forty-five minute attraction. Friday was a clear, cloudless night; however, Saturday was plagued with rain.
All funds raised by the Haunted Trail are put forth to renovate a dilapidated house on the edge of Dunellen. Many residents have seen the tall building when driving down Mountain View Terrace. The establishment has been part of Dunellen for decades, dating back to the 1800s. Karen Seader, a realtor and enthusiast of old homes, has taken great interest in converting this home into a museum of the town and venue for town functions.
Mrs. Seader, the wife of mayor Robert Seader, is the leading force in constructing the trail each year, as well as its founder. An abundance of actors, large set pieces, and hundreds of props are but a few of the elements Mrs. Seader must juggle each year. It is a tough job, but she has taken the responsibility for 5 years now. The biggest obstacle for her is “setting it up and taking it down in two days.” She explained that props are stolen from the trail overnight, so leaving any set pieces out throughout the weekend is a risk.
Currently, the invested money has provided the house in question with adequate lighting and exterior improvement. Heating, cooling, an electric system, and further cosmetic renovations are still necessary augmentations.
The organization was fortunate to receive endorsement from Big Joe Henry of New Jersey 101.5 radio. He promoted the trail on air in the weeks leading up. According to Seader, “It gave us a ton of exposure, which was great. People loved it.”
When questioned about the end goal for funding this massive project, her only response was “God only knows.”