ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
The spooky season is nearly upon the area, and the Liberal Police Department will soon be helping people celebrate that.
The 2023 Arkalon Trail of Terror will take place from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 at Arkalon Park (11123 Arkalon Park Road) east of Liberal on U.S. Hwy 54. As LPD Community Police Coordinator Dalanie Underwood tells it, the event is for a good cause.
“The Arkalon Trail of Terror is a fundraiser for the Liberal Police Department for the Shop With a Cop program, now called the Liberal Police And Community Association (LPACA), which is geared toward children in the community whose family might be going through a rough patch or might not be as fortunate as others,” Underwood said. “We take them out shopping around Christmas for presents. This fundraiser's been going on for the past few years, and it's always a lot of fun. We want a bunch of people to come out, and we want to scare the pants off of everyone. Our staff does a great job putting everything together and work really hard making sure everything is how it's supposed to be. We're going to have some vendors out there including Texas Blue Line BBQ, and Pita’s Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade, among others, and there are a few vendors we're still working on coordinating with. The cost is $10 per person for a regular pass, and $25 for a fast pass, which can be totally worth the extra money, and tickets will be available at the gate that evening. As of right now, we're only going to have tickets at the gate, but if that changes within the next few weeks, people can look at our Facebook page.”
Underwood added the LPD staff is excited for this year’s event.
“It's a really fun event, and a lot of us here at the LPD are really into Halloween and spookiness and all of that. We're really excited to bring the community out and see everyone's reactions to the different scares we'll have around the trail,” Underwood said. “The staff really enjoys doing these types of events and not only does it go to a great cause for the LPD, it's something that's also just really great for the community since there really aren't that many haunted houses or things like that in this area during the Halloween season. We're excited to see everyone come out and enjoy the trail, we're putting a lot of work into everything and want everyone to have a great time. There are a few things we're still trying to work out with that, and it does take quite a bit of time and work to plan everything out properly. In the past, a lot of individuals and businesses in the community have stepped up and helped, but we haven't seen as much of that for this year, so a lot of the responsibility for the event has fallen on the Liberal Police Department staff, which changes things somewhat. We're working on building up what we want, and the guys all have a bunch of great ideas for what should be included. I would say this year's event is going to be as much of a surprise to us as it will be for the patrons.”
For those who will be unable to make it out to the Trail of Terror that evening but still wish to support the program, Underwood said that can easily be done.
“If someone can't make it out to the Trail of Terror but still wants to show the LPACA program some support, they can get in touch with me at the LPD at (620) 626-0517, and we'll get things set up for a donation, and right now, we can accept cash and checks, but we are thinking of ways people can donate online,” Underwood said. “People can bring their donations to the LPD and make their checks out to the LPACA program, and they can drop it off.”
Underwood added there are also some thoughts about future events.
“Deputy Chief Chris Head and I have been working on this a lot, and we both have such big ideas and feel like anything's possible. We'd love to see this event grow – we'd love to see a band perform out there, we'd love to see more vendors, all of that,” Underwood said. “We want this to be a big event for Liberal as time goes on, but I know we also have to keep in mind staffing availability and other resources and factors like that. For now, though, we're pretty happy with how things are, it's grown every year and we'd love to see that continue.”
With the success of past Trail of Terror events, Underwood said she hopes this year will add to that.
“This has been really successful for the LPD in the past, so I'm hoping this year will be the same. I'm also hopeful we'll have a great turnout of people enjoying themselves and having a bunch of fun. With the event only happening one night, that changes our expectations a little bit, but I remember having really long lines for last year's event, so I feel like we'll see that again for this year,” Underwood said. “It's going to be a blast – we're going to have food and drink, we're going to have a scary movie playing, we're going to have the trail all decked out and spooky for everyone, so it's going to be a lot of fun. Bring your appetites, bring the family out and come and have fun. We don't really have any age restrictions with this event, so it's ultimately up to the parent/guardian to decide whether or not this would be suitable for their children. However, I would emphasize how we do legitimately want to scare people and want people to have a legitimately terrifying time. It's pretty open, but we always add that caution in so parents can decide whether or not their children would be okay with something like this. There will be something for everyone and if you particularly like being scared, this will definitely be for you. As we keep working on this, we'll post updates on our Facebook page, so I would highly encourage people to follow that so they know what all will be going on.”