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Bristol haunted forest offers scares and fun

THE MED47 HAUNTED Forest in Bristol is getting ready to welcome residents back for three nights of scares, snacks and spooky stories. Here, organizer Cindy Cousino smiles alongside one of the attraction’s spinetingling displays. Independent photo/Steve James

BRISTOL — Searching for a spooky way to spend the Halloween season? 

You are in luck. 

Next week, the Brendon P. Cousino Med47 Foundation will host the fourth annual Med47 Haunted Forest in Bristol. 

The event is free to the public and features three nights full of scares, snacks and spinetingling stories around the fire. Each year, Bristol residents Cindy and Garry Cousino host the event in a parcel of woods near their home at 3319 South 116 Rd. 

“It winds up just being something that’s kind of magical,” Cindy told the Independent. “I’ll be walking down from the house and for a few nights, the lights in the woods, the screams, the laughter, all the people around the snack shop, it just comes alive for me.” 

The Cousinos organized their first haunted forest in 2020. Cindy said they originally saw the offering as a potential fundraising opportunity for the Brendon P. Cousino Med47 Foundation. 

The charitable organization was established in memory of the Cousinos’ son Brendon, an emergency medical technician who was killed in a wrong-way crash in 2015. The organization raises funds to award scholarships to local tech students entering the trades and help support area first responders. 

“The haunted forest came about because we wanted to do it as another one of our fundraisers but decided to make it a free community event. Something we could give back to the community,” Cindy said. 

THIS PUMPKIN-HEADED SKELETON is one of the many ghoulish attractions that awaits visitors of the Med47 Haunted Forest in Bristol. The haunted forest will open to the public next weekend for three nights of scares, spooky stories and snacks.
Independent photo/Steve James

Admission to the haunted forest is free, but the Cousinos sell snacks and accept donations and in the past two years have raised around $10,000 for the Brendon P. Cousino Med47 Foundation. 

Each October, the Cousinos transform a chunk of forest near their home into the spookiest sight on Route 116. Skeletons and spiders fill the woods, cobwebs hang from the trees and other ghoulish attractions await visitors of the haunted forest. 

Cindy said the event has grown quite a bit since the Cousinos began hosting it. 

“We started it one year, and then we started collecting stuff and people were really excited about it. It’s gotten a little bit bigger each year, which is a good problem to have,” she said. “We do have people come back year after year, so we feel like we have to up our game each year and do something a bit different.”

This year’s display will take on a slight “Wizard of Oz” theme, complete with flying monkeys zooming through the night sky on a zipline.   

Community members are invited to wander through the woods from 4 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 27, 28 and 29. Cindy said the first two hours of the evening feature activities for younger visitors. 

“From 4-6 p.m., it’s still light out and that’s geared toward the younger ones,” she said. “We have treats so kids can come prepared to trick or treat throughout the woods.”

Once the sun sets, things start to get a bit creepier. Cindy said that from 6-8 p.m. actors help put on a scarier show in the forest for older kids and adults. 

Those that visit the haunted forest can also stop to hear a storyteller share spooky tales around the firepit or enjoy treats at the snack shack. 

Available goodies include hot cider and hot chocolate, as well as pies and other treats. 

“(The snack shack) has been a real fun part of it, too,” Cindy said. “It’s been a fun experience for people to gather before or after, and it’s really a sort of community gathering.” 

GHOULS, GHOSTS AND other spooky sights fill the Med47 Haunted Forest, located in a parcel of woods near Bristol residents Cindy and Garry’s home on Route 116. Community members are invited to wander through the forest next weekend, as part of a free event hosted by the Brendon P. Cousino Med47 Foundation.
Independent photos/Steve James

When the Independent spoke with Cindy on Thursday, Oct. 12, organizers were still welcoming any donations of treats and pies, as well as volunteers to help with setup, parking and acting in the forest. The Cousinos have already begun displaying some spooky décor and in the upcoming week will begin the work of completely transforming the parcel of woods into a truly creepy attraction.  

Cindy said that while organizing the event can be a daunting task, she enjoys watching it all come together each year. 

“It’s a big job; it sometimes gets stressful preparing for it, but bringing people together, it just makes me so happy that I get to provide this sense of community,” she said. 

Those interested in stopping by the Med47 Haunted Forest can find more information on the Brendon P. Cousino Med47 Foundation’s Facebook page. 

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