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Capital District residents in search of a scare can find plenty of options

The only people who might want to take a pass on the tour is those who have trouble walking, she said, noting that the tour is about a mile long and includes hills.

There's considerably less walking involved at the state museum's "haunted museum of unnatural history," which visitors can walk through in about 15 minutes. The attraction was the brainchild of museum educator Truemaster Trimingham, who decided seven years ago to stage a haunted museum for kids taking part in after-school programs at the museum. The next year, museum staff also got to enjoy Trimingham's handiwork, and the consensus was that it should be open to the public.

Now, many of the kids who Trimingham first sought to entertain help him put the haunted museum together, constructing theme rooms such as "The Meat Locker" and "Die Laughing" from "junk just laying around" the museum.

"I'll be like, 'Those trunks! They look old. Let's include them,'" Trimingham said. "I've always had a kind of creepy imagination."

Using recycled museum exhibits help make the haunted museum cost effective, Trimingham said. Admission is $7 (except on Halloween, when sponsor National Grid will pick up the tab) and helps fund the museum's after-school programs. The haunted museum will open in exhibition hall, on the museum's first floor, for two weekends, Oct. 18 and 19 and Oct. 25 and 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Halloween night, Friday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 10 p.m.

About 6,000 people passed through the haunted museum and an accompanying pumpkin patch geared at younger kids last year, Trimingham said. The crowd frequently includes families, and the haunted museum has been catching on with high school and college students, too.

"We're a growing phenomenon," Trimingham said.

Cynthia and Robert Gifford know a thing or two about growing a Halloween attraction. About a decade ago, the owners of Liberty Ridge Farms in Schagticoke were looking for ways to make more revenue on their farm when they read about corn mazes in a newspaper's travel section. Since the couple was already growing corn, they decided to take a shot at hosting a corn maze, pairing with a company in Utah called The Maize. The Giffords grow their corn on a grid, and The Maize uses a special computer program to determine how the Giffords should cut the corn to achieve their desired design.

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