Lakes around the nation are gearing up for a spooktacular Halloween weekend: pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides, and haunted houses. We highlight several lake events to get you into the Halloween spirit. Check out the Halloween festivities around your favorite lake to plan a ghoulish weekend.
Finger Lakes, New York
Kids will feel like Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express when they board the Finger Lakes Scenic Railroad in costume on October 30 for the Magical Mystery Halloween Excursion. Three afternoon rides – named Ghosts & Goblins, Pumpkin Express, and Spook Train – include a magician and parade of costumes (315-374-1570). The Seward House Museum hosts “Historic Hauntings” on October 30; ghouls of all ages will enjoy storytelling, face and pumpkin painting, and crafts (315-252-1283). Take some time to enjoy the beautiful area by boat, car, or on foot. It’s no wonder that Budget Travel readers recently voted New York’s Finger Lakes as the world’s most beautiful wine region.
Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake, Kentucky and Tennessee
Halloween at Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake is brimming with family activities. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and Lake Barkley State Park have teamed up to present a Halloween Nature Watch Series to include a breakfast Pelicans Cruise and a Ghosts & Goblins Night Tour on October 30, plus a Sunrise Elk & Bison Tour on October 31. Other events in the Halloween spirit include “Creature Feature: The Ghost Owl” and “Fairy Houses” on October 30 and “Let There Be Light” (making beeswax candles) on October 31. Contact the LBL National Recreation Area for additional information (270-924-2000). Spend some Halloween time exploring 58,000-acre Lake Barkley and 160,000-acre Kentucky Lake by water; the Barkley-Kentucky Canal connects the two lakes.
Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is well known for its beautiful four-season scenery: covered bridges, old red barns, and church steeples, all accented by mountain overlooks. Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in the state, also boasts four castles near its shores: Kimball Castle, Roxmont Castle, Graystone Castle, and Castle in the Clouds (open to the public with Murder Mystery Dinner October 29 & 30). What better way to “eat, drink, and be scary” than a Halloween weekend at Lake Winnie? Spine-tingling festivities include a “Tunnel of Terror” Corn Maze (603-293-2853), Fright Night at Heritage Farms with a haunted hayride and haunted maze (603-524-8188), and a Haunted Halloween Hike through the woods that begins with a bumpy hayride and ends with a roaring bonfire (603-286-4545).
Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes is a group of small interconnected lakes located in the High Sierras and nestled within the Inyo National Forest. The Mammoth Lakes Recreation Department has partnered with the Village of Mammoth to host the annual Halloween Carnival and legendary Haunted House on October 29. Festivities include games, face painting, a pumpkin carving contest, cake walk, and music (760-934-8989, ext. 222 for more information). Spend the weekend in Mammoth Lakes to enjoy the beautiful scenery by boat, car, mountain bike, or on foot. Or, drive to Bodie, a genuine California gold-mining ghost town, and stroll down the deserted streets in search of ghosts.
Lake District, England
Our friends across “The Pond” join in Halloween merrymaking in England’s famous Lake District. A recent poll of Brits voted the Lake District as having the best views in England, so what better way to combine spooky fun with stunning lake and mountain views? Halloween Week at haunted Muncaster Castle in the Western Lake District runs from October 24-31; festivities include nightly Castle Ghost Tours, the Ghostly Grotto with magic shows, the Darkest Muncaster sound and light shows after dark, Mysterious Owl Tours (World Owl Centre), a Scary Maze, and costume competitions (01229 717614 for additional information). The Lake District Visitor Center overlooking Windermere presents Halloween Hoot on October 29; come meet the owls and their keepers (0845 272 0004).