Saugerties Highschooler Starts Spooky Tradition at Opus 40

Photo courtesy of Wiki Media Commons

Opus 40, a sculpture park and museum in Saugerties, New York, hosted a haunted trails attraction on its grounds leading up to Halloween. 

Visitors could travel up the trail that would normally lead to works of art dotting the landscape but rather than finding that, they were greeted by screams, frights and the occasional man chasing them with a chainsaw. He doesn’t try to kill anyone, but that isn’t communicated well due to the rumble of the device. 

It was all the work of high school student Alejandro Martinez. Martinez pitched the trail idea to the executive board of Opus 40 and set it up in 2020.

 Initially, it was a measure to provide activities during the pandemic. But it became more than that after the positive reception it received and how much fun it was for everyone involved.

 “Opus 40 has nothing going on in the fall,” Martinez explained. “We do have some music events but nothing really Halloween related, so I thought to bring something spooky around and why not use the trails in the woods that we have around here. So far, both years we have done it, it’s been pretty successful.” 

Martinez took it upon himself to prepare the space. He mapped it out, created the route and selected actors for the scares.

Caroline Crumpacker, Executive Director of the park, explained that it was impressive what Martinez was able to accomplish. 

“I don’t think we were necessarily thinking we would do it again. It was so fun and people liked it so much that now I think we’re just doing it,” Crumpacker said.

Martinez himself has been involved with Opus 40 from a young age. 

Initially working on the grounds he was eventually promoted to a tour guide. He and his girlfriend, also affiliated with Opus, are referred to as “legacy kids.” Their parents and even their grandparents worked there before them. Martinez, at just 17 years of age, is a member of the Army reserves. 

He went to basic training at Fort Jackson and plans to be an engineer. The idea of service comes naturally to him, in the form of serving the country or traversing the grounds in a golf cart with supplies.

The whole staff for the haunted trail was in high school, complete with braces and cherubic appearances hidden behind killer clown masks and decorative contacts.

What was touching was that there seemed to be a familial air to their interactions. 

While waiting for refreshments they held a hearty rendition of the “Campfire Song” from “Spongebob.”

After the closing of the trail the staff trudged back towards the gift shop for pizza provided by Crumpacker and a sit-down by a bonfire. There were even murmurs about toasted marshmallows.

They all seemed happy to be there and to enjoy things that would pass for normal pre-pandemic. Such as scaring people for money and goofing around in the woods in costumes. The price of admission fueling the fright and smiles seems to be worth it.