NEW PARIS, Ohio (WDTN) — A family in Preble County transformed their yard into a haunted trail to raise money for a good cause.

Shannon Sowder and her husband are responsible for the scares and the screams coming from the 500 block of East Cherry Street in New Paris.

“People loved it! We scared a bunch of people. I had someone fall down on the ground. It was great!” says Sowder.

Every October, their vision comes to life at what they call the Nightmare on Cherry Street. Most of their props are homemade.

“I started doing horror movies. My first one was Carrie. I created her. Then from her I went to Leatherface. And I just kept challenging myself to see what I could make, what props I could build. We started getting so many that we would put the previous into the yard and it became a trail,” describes Sowder. “A lot of stuff I’ll try to build. I’ll get mannequins and try to build the character that I want. I’ll get pieces and try to alter it and make it my own.”

Last year was the first year they had an event tied with the trail to take in donations, raising money for first responders.

“We provide our ambulance here [as a prop] for them. They made a donation to us last year,” says Chief Brad Simpson of the Northwest Fire Department. “We’re a small department. We’re big on community. Budgets are always tight. So, any help we can get from the community is always amazing.” 

“I think it’s awesome. They seem to enjoy it and seem to love it. And then it gets more people into the village,” says New Paris Police Chief Joel Protzman.

This year Wallace Heating and Air, American Legion Clarence Teaford Post 360, American Legion Auxiliary Post 360, Bill Sweet Realty, and Graceful Paws Pet Salon helped sponsor the trail.

Sowder and her husband plan on making the trail an annual event.

While the trail was only open Oct. 20-21, Sowder will still be handing out candy on Halloween in the side cemetery in her yard.

If you missed going through the trail and donating to the Northwest Fire and Ambulance District, you can always contact them to make a donation at 937-437-8354 or email them at