A spine-tingling good time

Awalu Farm has a spooky hike for Halloween season

Awalau Farm owner Jeremy Safron gets a smooch from one of the farm’s resident alpacas. SARAH RUPPENTHAL photo

How many chills and thrills can you pack into a single mile? Plenty, if you dare to venture down the rocky path leading to Awalau Farm this Halloween season.

The 30-acre Haiku farm hosts the Haunted Haiku Hike: Upcountry’s Historic Ghost Tour, an annual twilight trek that appeals to thrill-seekers and history buffs alike. Far from your standard haunted attraction (you won’t find any bowls of peeled grapes and cold spaghetti here), the milelong tour brings spooky stories from Maui’s past to life — with some magic tricks and jump-scares thrown in for good measure.

This season’s hikes began on Sept. 20 and will run every Friday evening through Oct. 25.

“It’s something I look forward to every year,” said Jeremy Safron, owner of Awalau Farm and mastermind behind the multi-week event. Apart from being as fun as it sounds, he said, “I love sharing the history of this land.”

On a dark and balmy night eight summers ago, Safron sat down to brainstorm ideas for a Halloween event at the farm. The property’s storied past and off-the-beaten-path location — along with its ancient caves, hidden waterways and serpentine drive — made it an ideal venue for a haunted hike. A few weeks later, Awalau Farm’s first spooky storytelling tour made its debut, and to great acclaim.

From scary trails to fairy tales: As the home of the annual Haunted Haiku Hike and Enchanted Farm Tour, the 30-acre Awalau Farm is full of mystery and magic. Christopher Douglass Photography

In the years that followed, Safron added more bells and whistles, including a cast of characters, props, costumes and magic tricks (Safron began studying stage magic at the age of 7 and now puts his talents on display during each hike). Unlike many of the walking ghost tours you’ll find in historic cities like Boston or Washington, D.C., the Haunted Haiku Hike is a theatrical experience designed to engage participants.

For instance, rather than passively standing at the entrance of a cave and listening to a guide explain its history, Safron says tourgoers are encouraged to step inside and explore it (if they can summon up the courage, that is) so they become part of the story.

And what kinds of stories are shared on the hike? Well, to keep things spoiler-free, you’ll just have to see for yourself. But rest assured, they are the real deal. Safron has done his share of detective work, poring over history books and consulting longtime Upcountry and East Maui residents to compile an inventory of local lore, supernatural tales, and firsthand accounts of things that have gone bump in the night in the area.

“A lot of stories get lost,” he said. “This helps keep them alive.”

And the festivities won’t end after the last hike. In 2015, Awalau Farm held its first annual Enchanted Farm Tour, a walking adventure tour for kids of all ages. Safron says he was inspired to create the family-friendly daytime event after attending the Three Wishes Fairy Fest in the United Kingdom that same year. This year’s Enchanted Farm Tour will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 27. It will be full of magical delights: wizards, dragons, mermaids, unicorns, a mythological creature petting zoo, crafts, games and prizes.

Get to know the spookier side of Maui on Awalau Farm’s Haunted Haiku Hike. HEATHER KOTOK photo

Awalau Farm’s Haunted Haiku Hike runs every Friday through Oct. 25. The hikes begin at 6 p.m. and Safron says they are best suited for kids ages 6 and older. Attendees should wear a sturdy pair of walking shoes and bring an umbrella in case it rains. Tickets are $30 per person and reservations must be made in advance. Space is limited and tours can fill up quickly, so it’s a good idea to sign up early. To reserve your spot, visit www.eventbrite.com/d/hi–kula/haunted-haiku-hike.

For more information, visit www.hauntedhaikuhike.com or email awalaufarms@gmail.com. To learn more about the Enchanted Farm Tour on Oct. 27, visit www.mythsofavalon.com.

Awalau Farm’s Haunted Haiku Hike runs every Friday through Oct. 25. Christopher Douglass Photography


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