In 1993, the venture that would eventually become Markoff's Haunted Forest began modestly as a haunted bus ride that visited area. Brothers Matt, Nick, and Alex Markoff conceived of the haunt as a means to raise money for their goal of starting an outdoor educational summer camp.
In subsequent years, the haunt was relocated to the grounds of the Markoff family farm in Dickerson.
"I didn't know if anyone would come," said Matt Markoff. "I hoped people would make the drive." Markoff's Haunted Forest, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is now a beloved annual tradition for thousands of area residents. The haunt, which employs hundreds of seasonal employees, includes two trails, a haunted western trail, and a waiting area with bonfires, games, rides, and food vendors. Proceeds from ticket sales fund the Markoff's nonprofit organization, Calleva, Inc, which provides educational activities for hundreds of students every year.