Touch of Nature hosts Haunted Hollow


Southern Illinois University’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center  brought back their Haunted Hollow event back on Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Haunted Hollow is a free, kid-friendly Halloween event hosted by SIU-C with “Haunted Hayrides”, spooky story walks, a climbing wall and plenty of games for the children.

Touch of Nature Environmental Center strives to improve lives through “outdoor experiences,” according to the organization webpage.


Director Brian Croft said the big difference for this year’s Haunted Hollow was making it affordable for the community, as this will be the first time that entry to the event is free.

 “If you just want to come out and walk on our trails, or just enjoy the day we want to get as many people out of here as we can,” Croft said.

Some of the Haunted Hollow activities, like hayrides, could be purchased with carnival-style tickets.

Since Halloween is known to be scary, hosts at Touch of Nature wanted to make something that wasn’t so scary for kids, Croft said.

“We wanted to provide a family fun event for families to come out and get outside,”Croft said. “A haunted cabin that a five year old can go in and still have that experience, but not necessarily to the level that you see in a lot of the local Halloween events.”

Believed to be started in 2008, Haunted Hollow wasn’t always a Touch of Nature sponsored event, Croft said.

“Before it was in touch of Nature it was a student event from the Recreation Professions Department,” Croft said. “They did something in Carbondale, then the next year it was like, ‘hey, that was a really cool event, maybe we can grow it a little bit,’ so it came out to Touch of Nature.”


Croft said Touch of Nature kept  a good relationship with the Recreation Professions Department, and they still work together on the event.

“Their students are going to come out and provide some environmental ed-based Halloween themed events,” Croft said.

Since the event was cancelled in fall 2020  because of COVID-19, they remained within the safety  precautions required, with the upside of it being an outdoor event, Croft said.

“We’re excited to have the event back, [and] we’re excited to get people back out here,” Croft said. 

Touch of Nature employees enjoys putting on events for the community, and are  proud of the growth of the event, Croft said.

Touch of Nature serves this integral role of providing community based programs through university services,” Croft said. “It’s really fun to be able to provide something, and we’ve gotten hundreds of people to come through Haunted Hollow.”

More information on other community Halloween events can be found on the Carbondale Halloween website

Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jamilahlewis. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.