The Sideshow Field Guide- Spooktacular Edition: How To Survive Being Lost in the Woods

Your afternoon hike through the woods has not gone as planned. You could have sworn this was the right way, but two wrong turns in quick succession have left you hopelessly lost.

An all too familiar scenario, right? It’s a frightening prospect for anyone who was just looking to for a relaxing afternoon trek through the Forbidden Forest. 

Don’t worry, we at the Sideshow Field Guide to Fairytale Myths and Monsters know more about cold, dark forests than anyone. We are, after all, the experts on all things supernatural, and successfully traversing the haunted habitats of wolves, witches, and trolls is second nature to us. 

We can guide you to safety if you follow these simple rules…

Rule 1 – There Is No Shortcut, Stay On The Path

As tempting as it may be, whatever you do, don’t leave the path. Grandma can live without that bouquet of wildflowers and truffles are overrated (okay, they’re delicious, but not worth your life). Seriously, that trail is there for a reason. True, it provides no cover or places to hide, but it is also less obstructed and easier to navigate. The last thing you want is to get hung up on a random tree branch or a prickly shrub when danger rears its head. 

And danger will appear if you deviate from the path, this is certain. Whether it be oversized man-eating rats, tall faceless men in sharp suits, bulbous-bellied trolls, or giant talking spiders, the denizens of the forest already know you are there and they are not your friends.

Which brings us to rule number two… 

Rule 2 – Don’t Trust Anyone

Should some woodland creature come out of hiding and say that they know a quicker way through the forest, and will guide you home free of charge, thank them politely and decline their offer.  Also, yes sometimes animals in the forest can talk.  Just go with it and try not to get on their bad side.

Wolves, in particular, are a nuisance with their big eyes, ears, and teeth. They feign friendliness to gain your trust, but don’t be fooled. Any courtesy on their part is a ruse to lure you away to be their next tasty snack. Also, some wolves can sneeze so violently they can blow down houses with weak structural foundations, so watch out!  

Sadly, if wolves where the only problem with being lost in the woods, you’d probably be home by now.

Rule 3 – Candy Houses = Certain Death 

At some point, you may come across a seemingly empty cottage made of gingerbread and candy.  Now before you do something ridiculously dumb, you should be aware that gingerbread houses are never “abandoned.” The moment you take a large bite out of that lollipop lawn ornament, a witch is going to burst out of that house and turn you into a newt… if you’re lucky. 

If you aren’t so lucky, she might invite you inside with the promise of more tasty treats. There may even be delicious smells of pastries and cookies wafting through the open door.  It’s a trap, obviously. Like before with the wolf, politely decline and then turn tail and head back to the path.  

Candy house witches are easily avoidable unless you have a bit of a sweet tooth. It’s the other kind of witch you need to worried about, but they don’t usually come out until…

Rule 4 – Nightfall… Run

The sun has disappeared behind the trees, allowing a blanket of darkness to quickly overtake the sky. The dead, leafless branches of the surrounding trees seem to close in around you as fresh moonlight floods through the forest. 

This, as I’m sure you have figured out, is very bad. You need to get out of these cold, dark woods as fast as possible.  As dangerous as the woods were in the afternoon, nighttime offers an entirely new set of… challenges. What challenges? Demons and devils come out searching for prey, and witches leave their dwellings to hunt for lost travelers, to name just a few. 

At this point running would be a good option. If you have followed our advice and stayed on the path, the clearing should be right up ahead.  Ignore those rustlings and twigs snapping behind you. Don’t look back. Trust us. 

You made it! Whew, that was a close one, but you are safe and sound for the time being.  What’s that?  You don’t recognize where you are?  Don’t worry about that right now. The important thing is you are out for those woods. Why not head up to that old spooky mansion on the hill and ask for directions? We’re sure everything will be just fine.

If you’re looking for more emergency preparedness, be sure to check out our Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse!

This October, we’re putting the “eek” in Geek from October 24th-31st for our annual Spooktacular celebration!  Head to for all the creepiest content, most ghoulish giveaways, and most devilish deals to get you in the mood for Halloween.