The Annual Haunted Train Ride and Ghoul Bus is a Norfolk tradition. This popular event is a true community event with all proceeds going back to worthy Norfolk causes.
During one magical night, guests experience the chills and thrills of the train ride through the haunted woods and the Ghoul Bus. Through the generosity of the Holmes Family, and staffed by over 100 adult volunteers from NCL and Norfolk Lions and over 100 teen volunteers from local high schools, it is entering its 18th year. Venues are manned by community groups from Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Norfolk Fire and Police, local businesses, Halloween enthusiasts, NCL, and Lions. Many venues have participated for over 10 years.
Proceeds have benefitted every aspect of Norfolk life – schools, sports organizations, senior center, public safety, The Grange, Stony Brook, and Norfolk Library. A food drive annually stocks the Norfolk Food Pantry. Over the years, this event has raised almost $200,000 to give back to Norfolk causes.
2018 Tickets Sales
This year we sold out 1700 tickets in little over an hour. We were surprised and amazed by the demand for the tickets. We understand the frustration for those that did not get tickets. Ticket sales historically have ranged from one day to four days. We cannot predict the level of demand prior to the start of the sale. While we schedule for three days, all flyers and postings have the caveat that sales continue until we sell out.
As a committee, we spend a considerable amount of time and effort discussing the mechanics of ticket sales. Ticket sales have been adjusted over the years to accommodate the increased popularity of the event. While we started collecting at the door, we’ve moved to advanced ticket sales to avoid turning people away at the gate. We’ve adjusted the time of the sales to evening hours for working families. We’ve kept the price low to allow families to have an affordable evening out. We’ve increased the number of tickets until we have reached our capacity for safety. We’ve explored online sales in the past but the fees involved did not make sense for this fundraiser. We have not imposed a ticket limit as we know that many families pool resources and ask friends to pick up their tickets due to their schedules. We have not expanded the advertising for this event beyond the local papers and Norfolk Public schools since we started. Limiting tickets to only Norfolk residents could be seen as discriminatory and it would add another level of administration. We use physical tickets for operational purposes- we collect data as to the number of guests throughout the event to help plan for volunteer needs and parking lot resources. We make adjustments each year to try to refine the process and will continue to add improvements to make it the best and fairest experience possible.
It is important to note that despite the many improvements we’ve made to the process, the reality is that we are limited to selling 1700 tickets to ensure the safety of all of the guests and volunteers. The demand for these tickets has exceeded our capacity and, unfortunately, not everyone that wants a ticket will be able to obtain one. We strive to be as fair as we can with the sale process so that everyone has a fair chance.
We want to share these facts about the most recent sale:
The volunteers haunting a venue entertain each and every train for 4+ hours through all kinds of weather. Trains go by every 6 minutes. It is fun but exhausting. We cannot extend the time commitment that includes creating the scene, costumes, acting, and cleaning up the scene the next day.
We appreciate your passion for the Haunted Train Ride and Ghoul Bus. We share that passion and work almost year round to put this amazing and beloved event together. We listen to your suggestions and want to encourage positive dialogue with the goal of improving the event. Feel free to email your suggestions to us.
NCL and Norfolk Lions are committed to improving the quality of life for Norfolk and creating community events like the Haunted Train Ride and Ghoul Bus.
The Haunted Train Ride and Ghoul Bus Committee Email: firstname.lastname@example.org