Hike And Haunt For Hospice Returns On Boyes Bridge Lane In Gravenhurst

Hike and Haunt attendees in 2021
Hike and Haunt attendees in 2021. Photo courtesy of Kevin Boyes

A 2.5-kilometre Hike and Haunt for Hospice filled with spooky sights and Halloween treats has made its way back to Boyes Bridge Lane for the second year.

This year’s Hike and Haunt will be held at 1050 Boyes Bridge Lane off of Doe Lake Road from 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 29. Gravenhurst resident Kevin Boyes and his wife Erin first created the fright-filled trail for their daughter and her friends two years ago. The trail system on their property is usually used for walking dogs and riding ATVs, but they transformed it using Halloween decorations and volunteer scarers. The group of 10-year-olds raved about it, inspiring the community event that launched last year.

“They had a great time and talked about it for weeks afterwards,” Boyes said. “We thought it’d be fun to expand it and open it up to more people, so last year was the first year that we really promoted it and really kind of spent a lot of time organizing the stations.”

Admission for the inaugural event was a suggested $5 donation, but the 250 attendees gave much more, raising a total of $2,500 for Hospice Muskoka. Boyes said it was exciting to see the generosity of the community while also giving local kids a special day of Halloween fun.

As guests walk along the trail, they come across a new station every couple hundred feet. Each area has a theme, such as a graveyard, creepy clowns, a witch’s cauldron and a body part bridge complete with eyes and hands poking out of each opening. Setting up the event takes a lot of time and resources, so any donations of decorations, candy and volunteer hours are welcome.

“We have received a lot of supplies, which is amazing that people have been so generous, but it does take quite a bit, as you can imagine if there’s 300 or 400 kids,” he said. “We’re expanding, by the way, from about eight stations to at least 12 this year.”

Photo courtesy of Kevin Boyes

The fun of the event outweighs the hard work, he said, so he can’t wait to see people of all ages enjoy the attraction. The walk isn’t stroller or wheelchair-friendly, but anyone who can manage the average outdoor trail in Muskoka will be able to enjoy the event.

Admission is once again $5 per person, and all proceeds will support Hospice Muskoka. Boyes and his family are hoping to beat last year’s numbers by attracting 300 to 400 visitors, aiming to raise more money for Andy’s House, a residential hospice facility in Port Carling. 

Boyes’ wife Erin was close to OPP Constable Andy Potts when he died on duty in 2005. That along with her time studying gerontology make the Andy’s House, named in Potts’ honour, a cause near and dear to her heart. Her business Body By Design Fitness Studio is sponsoring the event, and many clients have already donated treats and money.

Matt Steer, public relations and fundraising specialist for Hospice Muskoka, said it’s incredible to see local families and business owners generate support for Andy’s House with such creative events.

“We’re incredibly grateful for their continued support,” Steer said. “I know that it holds a very special place personally for them as well, Andy’s House specifically, and so supporting Hospice Muskoka as a whole really helps to keep Andy’s House funded.”

Steer said the team at Hospice Muskoka wants to thank them for taking their time and resources on the Hike and Haunt. He and several other staff members plan to bring their families to enjoy the tricks and treats, and they look forward to supporting the event in the years ahead. 

While a Halloween haunt may not seem like a heartwarming occasion, the donations and support from the community make it that much more memorable.

“People are giving with their hearts, I think, more than their heads and that’s what means a lot,” Steer said. “The service that we provide, it touches people’s emotions and it touches people in the heart, so to be able to receive that generosity from members of the community, it’s really touching.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or donating candy and decorations can reach out to Kevin Boyes at kboyes@muskoka.com.


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