Burger has been with Durham Parks and Recreations for 12 years and has volunteered to help run the activities and games at Fright Night in previous years.
Tom Dawson works as the assistant director for park planning, but he has made it a tradition of enjoying Fright Night with his daughter Fiona, who was seven years old when the event began in 2016.
“It sparked an interest in building cool things and the supernatural, which is really fun,” Dawson said. “We like the haunted house and games. It’s nice after being scared to go relax and play games and eat treats.”
The teenagers and adults get to enjoy the haunted house, while the younger children have plenty of friendlier activities, Dawson said.
This year, the haunted house is being replaced with a haunted trail and is recommended for ages 13 and up. Some of the more kid-friendly activities include a puppet show, carnival games, costume parade and — this year’s new attraction — a hayride.
It has been really fun every year to see the community come out in cute costumes, and everyone has a great time, Dawson said.
“I think we live in a very segmented society, where everyone sticks to their own houses, churches, schools,” Dawson said. “But nothing brings people together more than being scared. That kind of horror aspect creates a sense of community and shared experience.”
Hicks said one of her goals for the event is getting people outdoors and having fun based around fall activities.
"I hope this will become part of their childhood memories and something they look forward to every year and can be a fall tradition moving forward," Burger said.
Fright Night is also a big opportunity for volunteers in the community, and it’s not too late to sign up to help make it happen, Burger said.
Durham Parks & Recreation will also be collecting canned goods at the event and encourages attendees to bring a can or two. The canned goods will be donated to a local food pantry.