Zombies and ghouls usually have people running away, but at many attractions in Genesee County this month people have been flocking toward them - willingly. Area haunted “houses” have been drawing record crowds this Halloween season, as have the more family-friendly venues featuring hay rides and corn mazes.

“Exit 13” in Mt. Morris, had record-breaking attendance this year with opening day falling on Friday the 13th. Large crowds have continued at the venue each successive weekend according to owner Dereck Long, with people coming from Genesee and surrounding counties and Canada to have the wits scared out of them.

Long and wife Rebecca purchased the venue earlier this year and spent pre-scary-season months re-branding the site and changing the program. “It is about getting people in the right mood by creating the right atmosphere,” Long said.

At Spicer Orchards in Fenton the atmosphere is a little more sedate, but still plenty of fun. Spicer’s offers hayrides, pony rides, a corn maze, U-pick apples, cider making and bee keeping demonstrations and a play area for children.

Shannon Rowe, daughter of owners Alan and Wanda Spicer, said that Halloween-related activities keep the orchard busy through the end of October as the harvest begins to slow down. “Last year Halloween-themed activities like the corn maze helped us survive a poor apple crop,” she said.

“We start hiring in September to help staff the orchard for the whole fall season,” Rowe said. The family-owned and operated business adds about 30-40 seasonal employees each year, many of whom are high school students. “For a lot of them this is their first job,” she said. “It is great to watch them develop through the season.”

Local farms and orchards are offering family Halloween fun including the Country Corn Maze in Corunna, with four professionally designed mazes, Montrose Orchard’s “Pumpkin Fantasyland Tours,” and Diehl’s Orchard & Cider Mill in Holly.

The Genesee County Parks Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad offered “Halloween Ghosts & Goodies,” For-Mar Nature Preserve took brave souls aged 10 and up on a “Haunted Trail & Hayride,” and The Mounds ORV Park hosted a “Dr. Frankenstein Vehicle Contest.”

Genesee County is the place to be in the days leading up to Halloween.