Rain halts UWF’s frighteningly festive Halloween Hike


Photo by Rylee Buzbee

Lily Plum, Staff Writer

The University of West Florida’s annual Halloween Hike was cut short Thursday due to weather. The event, which was supposed to take place from 7- 10 p.m., brought in a surprising amount of people who stood in line waiting for a chance to traverse the haunted trail. 

“We’re actually sending the last groups and calling it now,” said Outdoor Adventures staff member and UWF student Rylee Buzbee at around 8:51 p.m. 

The early closure didn’t prevent students and Pensacola residents from having a good time. People who arrived early had the opportunity to socialize in line and have a turn at getting spooked throughout the hike. 

Once attendees reached the end of the line, they were given a rundown of what to expect from Michael Morgan, coordinator for the Outdoor Adventure program at UWF and host of the event. 

“The hike is about 15 or 20 minutes long depending how fast you are– how scared you get,” Morgan said to a group of excited students. He explained that the only light on the trail would come from glow sticks in the ground highlighting the path so that no one would get lost.

“I’ve got staff out there just in case,” Morgan said. “They’re going to say boo once or twice.” 

At the start of the event, a big yellow school bus pulled into the parking lot closest to the Edward Ball Nature Trail. A large group of children and chaperones piled out and found their way to the line. 

“We brought 33 people,” said Philip Brooks, Youth Director at Saint Luke United Methodist Church. Brooks explained that UWF staff member Sandra Taylor, who attends their church, thought the event might be fun for the church’s youth group.

“Michael made me do it,” Taylor said jokingly. “He was worried no one would show up; obviously he was wrong.” She gestured to the large number of people patiently waiting. 

Directly in front of the youth group stood International studies major Camila Cadiz. Cadiz came to the event with nine of her friends. 

“We’re excited,” Cadiz said. “Last year was – even though COVID was happening – it was my first time and it was really fun. It was like the […] first real event that I felt occurred right during the pandemic, so that was nice.” 

Fortunately, Camila, her friends and all of the children from the Saint Luke United Methodist church had their chance to trudge through the festively frightening woods before it began to rain.