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Delaware Halloween and Fall Activities 2009
I love Halloween. I think it is easily my hands-down favorite non-family oriented holiday. I say non-family oriented holiday, because my mom would probably cry if I let Halloween surpass Thanksgiving and Christmas' warm and loving family-centric awesomeness. I love Halloween because of its inherent sense of endless possibility. Revelers can dress up however they choose, eat as much individually portioned, fun-sized candy as they wish, spook each other out, and find fun in a "ha take that fear of the unknown and nagging sense of mortality" kind of way. Halloween allows people to find fun in subjects which on any other day of the year would wholly inappropriate. Another bonus, is that I like dressing up in provocative costumes and wearing crazy makeup, and having it be totally socially acceptable. There is a part of me that has always been drawn to the macabre and maybe I'm a slightly socially repressed goth chick at heart, but I think Halloween is just where it's at. In Delaware, there are many activities and attractions available to get yourself thoroughly freaked out, or if that's not your thing, there are bunches of options to just enjoy the fall season's bounty. Apples are in season, pumpkin patches are producing, the leaves are changing, and there is a crisp chill to the air which means Halloween and all of its fun activities are just around the corner. Muah-ha-ha! (Alas, sometimes I wish there were a spooky face emoticon, I bet that would help drive my sinister laughter home...)
Spooky Terror-Oriented Activities
Frightland is a staple destination in Delaware and nearby states for those looking to really freak themselves out, scream a ton, and/or get grossed out. It is a huge facility with 8 attractions including The Attic, Barn of Horror, Idalia Manor, The Escape, Haunted Hayride, Haunted Woods, Forgotten Asylum, and The Town of Redemption which are all quite horrifying. We're talking maybe pee your pants scary. If crying, nightmares, and chainsaw sounds aren't your thing, they also offer a daytime Fall Fest including carnival rides, a pumpkin patch, hayrides, craft workshops, face painting, and a corn maze. Fall Fest runs Saturdays and Sundays October 10 through October 31 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Frightland's evening activities run most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from September 25 through November 7. A nice thing about Frightland is the $4 parking fee goes directly to the Leukemia Foundation of Delaware, so you're getting the bejezees scared out of you while supporting a good cause.
Brecknock Park in Kent County hosts a Fright Night (also known as Haunted Woods) each year with a haunted trail and haunted house. This year Fright Night is being held October 16,17, 23, and 24 from 7-10 p.m. and costs $5 for those who are brave enough to enter. Parents are encouraged to use discretion when bringing children, as refunds are not issued for those who turn back. The trail is led and staffed by volunteers who run each station and spooky stop along the path. It is a fun destination and can be quite scary. The year I volunteered there was a deranged Santa Claus butchering a Rudolph-type deer character. Creepy. And a little funny too, but more disturbing than funny.
This October, Fort Delaware is hosting a series of paranormal investigations conducted by members of Delaware Ghost Hunters Society. Participants will be led throughout paranormal "hot spots" in the park and use EMF detectors and other technology to potentially locate and record paranormal activity. In addition to maybe some first-hand paranormal experiences guests are offered refreshments during the three hour investigation. It costs $40 per person and investigations are being conducted on October 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, and 24. There is also a special six hour long investigation on October 31 which costs $150 per person. Due to the nature of these investigations children must be at least 12 years old to participate. Additional information can be found on www.destateparks.com and spots can be reserved by calling 302-834-7941.
Fall Festivals and Annual Events
The Wilmington Halloween Loop is a ridiculously fun party for Wilmington residents and University of Delaware students. Guests purchase a wristband for $10 which grants them cover-free entrance to all participating bars in Trolley Square and other portions of Wilmington. It is crowded, crazy and fun. Many groups organize buses to shuttle participants to the Loop and home safely. It is a Delaware tradition which typically falls on the Saturday before Halloween, but since this year Halloween is on a Saturday, the Halloween Loop is actually being held on Halloween. Expect it to be extra-bananas. This year Halloween also happens to be UD's homecoming, so guests can expect a particularly ridiculous Halloween Loop experience.
The Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddlers Festival is being held this year October 23-25. Events and family friendly activities include a broom tossing contest, a 5k race (in which many participants run in costume), and a best-costumed pet parade. It's entering its 20th year and is tons of fun for families, crafters, and vendors. If you're near Rehoboth or Dewey Beach this fall it's definitely something worth checking out. Who knows, you may discover a latent super-power in broom-chucking.
Fifer Orchard's Fall Fest runs from September 21-October 31. The orchard grows 25 varieties of apples and features a U-pick pumpkin patch which is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guests are able to pick their own apples on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekend Fall Fest activities include pony rides, face painting, hayrides, a 5 acre corn maze, and live music.
Many state parks in Delaware including Bellevue State Park, Brandywine Creek, Killens Pond, Trap Pond, and White Clay Creek offer hayrides during the fall season. Check out the Delaware State Park's website for additional information. Some hayrides have campfires at the end for guests to enjoy, and participants are encouraged to bring their own refreshments, however booze is not allowed. Whether roasting marshmallows, or simply enjoying the fire's warm glow it's a fun way to spend a brisk fall evening. Most hayride organizers encourage guests to bring their own blankets for warmth and to keep the hay from becoming irritating.