Enter, all who dare, the Haunted Swamp in Maitland.

The tombstones in front of the Enzian Theater are not nearly as creepy as what awaits patrons in the nearby Haunted Swamp. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

MAITLAND – If there’s one thing Florida is known for, it’s swamps, and plenty of them all over the state. And if they look quiet, keep in mind that there’s quite a bit moving around in those marsh lands.
According to the web site “Wildlife of Florida Swamps,” the state’s natural swamplands are “home to many microscopic life forms such as insect larvae and tiny snails. These critters form the base of the food chain and are eaten by larger animals like fish and frogs.”
One other thing the site noted: swamps are not always as peaceful as they might initially appear.
“These eerie-looking wetlands may seem still and quiet, but they are actually teeming with wildlife activity,” the site notes.
Which raises another question: in addition to that wildlife, what if one of those swamps was actually …. haunted?
The folks at the Enzian Theater in Maitland have a simple answer to that: come on over, and find out.
The theater is now hosting its 3rd annual Haunted Swamp: Walk of Terror, on Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. until midnight — and, of course, there will be a final walk through on Halloween.

What it offers is 2,000 feet of swamp land to walk through on a dark night, with a few things along the way guaranteed to leave patrons … well, positively screaming.
So this weekend, the theater’s guests have been invited to stop by and check out the Haunted Swamp … if they dare.
So far, said the theater’s executive director, Elizabeth Tiedtke, quite a few people have already done just that.
“It’s definitely been well attended,” she said, adding that last year, it was held for just two weekends in October, but business was so good that this year, organizers started it even earlier.
“This is the first year that we’ve done it for three weekends,” she said.
And it’s quite elaborate, Tiedtke added, in those chilling efforts to put a genuine Halloween-style scare into the hearts of anyone brave enough to go through.
“They spend half a year putting it all together,” she said.
Patrons are encouraged to come in costume and bring along their friends, because as Tiedtke noted, there’s a lot of terror to be shared inside the swamp.
The theater’s Eden Bar stays open until 2 a.m., so there will be plenty of drink specials to calm the nerves of the folks who make it through the swamp, she added.
The swamp has already scared up a lot of good business in the first two weekends, said Matt Curtis, the theater’s program director, so the final weekend can’t be missed.
“We drew well last year, too,” he said. “We did it for just two weeks last year, and this year we added to that.”
The Halloween eve Swamp Tours run from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and tickets cost $10 in advance, or $15 the day of the event, which includes unlimited swamp tours, drink discounts and food specials at the theater at 1300 S. Orlando Ave. in Maitland. There’s also a $25 VIP ticket that provides front of the line access.
In addition to the Haunted Swamp, the theater has been getting Central Floridians into the mood for Halloween by showing classic horror films, including John Carpenter’s “Halloween” tonight at 8:30 as part of the Wednesday Movie Pitcher Night, and then “Friday the 13th” on Saturday at midnight.
Call 407-629-0054 for more details.

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