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No Need To Search Far - Halloween Happenings Are Plentiful In The Park

Dylan Roche
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October 5, 2011
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By Dylan Roche

Carving pumpkins, dressing in costumes, enjoying popcorn and candy apples and fun-size chocolate bars — Halloween is a fun time of year, whether you are a kid or just a kid-at-heart. This year, get out and enjoy the holiday to its full potential, and hopefully have some good scares along the way. Also, read Hayley Gable's article on Halloween Happenings in the 'Dena by clicking here!

How Did We Come To Have Halloween?

Every fall, throughout the month of October, we celebrate the Halloween season: we carve pumpkins into eerily-illuminated faces, decorate our houses to look haunted, watch scary movies, and anticipate the climactic night at the end of the month when everyone dresses up in costumes as monsters and goes door-to-door begging for sweets. But interestingly, this fun-filled celebration of horror and the macabre has its roots in ancient festivals and spiritual significance for pagans and Christians alike.

Why Celebrate Death?

The word “Halloween” is a contraction of “All Hallow’s Eve” - the night before “All Hallow’s Day,” a Christian celebration that commemorates those who had passed away in the past year. But modern festivities more closely resemble those of Samhain, an Irish festival that celebrated the autumn, the time of harvest that marks the beginning of shorter days, colder weather, and dormant plant life. (Think about the harvested crops as a symbol of those who died — with the Grim Reaper and his scythe, an image of death personified).

Modern All Hallow’s Eve Traditions

Halloween traditions include carving pumpkins into jack o’lanterns, dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, and celebrating a love for all things scary by watching horror movies, telling ghost stories, and engaging in fright-inducing games and activities (such as ghost hunting or séances). While some religious groups have criticized the holiday for glorifying the occult or “the dark side,” for many it is a light-hearted chance to indulge our imaginations and face our fears all in good fun.

Haunted Attractions

What Halloween would be complete without some good frights and scares? Luckily, you don’t need to go all the way to Transylvania to explore a haunted house — our area hosts plenty of “haunted” attractions, ranging from mild to macabre. This year, let your imagination run wild and be sure to visit one of these frightful house, trails, or asylums…if you dare.

Haunted Holy Grounds

SPCC Holy Grounds Coffeehouse, Severna Park

October 21, 22 7:00-11:00pm, Oct 23 7:00-9:00pm

Info: 410-647-5843 x202

The Haunted Holy Grounds is an annual event at the Severna Park Community Center Holy Grounds Coffeehouse. The event is family-friendly, although young children may not be ready for some of the scares. The haunted attraction features a walk-through of theatrical scares sets up inside the 80 by 40 foot coffeehouse. This year adds new special features, such as a dinner prior to the event, in the “graveyard” set up on the grounds outside the facility. Also, Chelonia Eco-Adventures will offer a “Creature Feature” inside the SPCC Main Building as an alternative for younger children. The “Creature Feature” will also include animal adventures, crafts, and face painting.

Snowball Dave’s Haunted Woods By Night

The Ice Shack, Pasadena

October 7-8, 14-15, 21-23, 27-31. 7:00-10:00pm

443-871-1560

If you’ve ever wondered what lurks in the woods behind The Ice Shack, now is your chance to find out! By day, the local snow ball venue will be serving as a pumpkin patch, selling mums, pumpkins, cornstalks, bales of straw, decorations, gourds, scarecrows, and pumpkin-carving kits. But when the sun sets, ghost-hunters and thrill-seekers can take a guided tour through the haunted woods. The attraction, which boasts the “best thrills and chills in the ‘Dena,” is genuinely scary. The trail is about a twenty-minute walk through the woods, and will include volunteer performers, high-tech spectacles, and plenty of surprises to make your skin crawl.

Heidi’s Haunted Hills

13 Jessie Road, Edgewater

Oct 1-30 Fri, Sat, Sun 7:00-10:00pm

www.heidishauntedhills.com

This haunted trail features all sorts of genuinely scary spooks. Thrill-seekers will set out on a walk through the woods, where they might encounter zombies, demons, deranged clowns, madmen, and plenty more. Parents should be aware the Hills are not for very small children unless they are fearless.

Bennet’s Curse at Blobs Park

Blobs Park, Jessup

Sep 23-Oct 21 Thur, Sun from 7-10pm; Fri, Sat 7-11pm

www.bennettscurse.com

Renowned throughout the area, Bennett’s Curse features several haunted attractions, including “House of Vampyres,” “Sanctuary of Insanity,” and “Zombie Kingdom 3D.” Each attraction takes place back-to-back, with guests touring one right after the other, and each has a scary story that sets up the theme of the attraction.

Wicked Woods

Monsignor Slade Catholic School, Glen Burnie

Oct 7-29 Fri, Sat 7:30-11:00pm

www.wickedwoods.org

Behind Monsignor Slade Catholic School in Glen Burnie, these woods hold two haunted trails, as well as a Halloween-themed children’s maze. The haunted trails will include “Edals Valley Asylum” as well as “Syngaro’s Sinister Circus.” The trails are recommended for guests 8 and older, while younger children will enjoy the maze.

The Haunt at Sunrise Farms

Maryland Sunrise Farm, Gambrills

Plus Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Fridays and Saturdays in October, nightfall until 11:00pm

www.hauntedsunrise.com

The Haunt centers around the curse of the VanDeir family, who (as the story goes) once lived on the historic Sunrise farm. Those who come to seek scares will depart on a two-mile guided hayride across the farm, followed by a tour of the haunted barns, which will feature a live performance of monsters and demons.

Halloween Happening Haunted Barn and Hayride

AA County Fairgrounds on Generals Highway, Crownsville

October 14-30 Fri, Sat 7-10pm, Sun 7-9pm

www.halloweenhappening.com

Psycho Safari

Baysox Stadium, Bowie

Sep 30-Oct 29 Fri and Sat 6:30-11:00

www.baysox.com

Fright Fest

Six Flags Park, Bowie/Mitchellville

Oct 1-30 Fri-Sun

Frightefest.sixflags.com

Halloween Races

Let’s hope the Halloween candy has put you on a sugar rush, because there are a couple opportunities in the area to race or walk, and raise funds for local charities.

5k Run and Halloween Fun Walk

Robert A Pascal Youth and Family Services

October 29, 9:00am (check-in at 8:00)

www.rpascal.org

This race will take place along the Baltimore-Annapolis Rec Trail, beginning at the back of Park Plaza Shopping Center. There will be prizes after the race of best Men’s and Women’s Overall race time, as well as raffle prizes. The proceeds of the race will go to the Robert A. Pascal Youth and Family Services, Inc. to support mental and emotional health.

Halloween 5K at Big Vanilla

Big Vanilla, Arnold

October 30 8:00am

www.bigvanilla.com

This Halloween race at Big Vanilla in Arnold will run through Anne Arundel Community College Campus and participants will be entered into a raffle for prizes. Proceeds from the race will go to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (See also Pasadena Big Vanilla’s Fall Festival and Boo Bash to benefit St. Jude)

Fall Festivals

Celebrate the season of harvest by visiting a Fall Festival. Depending on which one you attend, a fall festival might include autumnal crafts, pumpkin-picking, corn mazes, seasonal foods, and lots more.

Fall Harvest Festival

Kinder Farm Park, Severna Park

October 8, 10:00-4:00pm

www.friendsofkinderpark.com

Kinder Park’s Fall Festival is one of the biggest in the area. Encompassing a “country-fair” theme on the 288 acre farm-turned-park, the event includes a wide variety of festive autumnal activities.

Fall Festival and Boo Bash

Big Vanilla, Pasadena

October 21, 4:00-8:30pm

www.bigvanilla.com

The Fall Festival at Big Vanilla will include a moon bounce, Halloween walk, and vendors, as well as dinner from Jack’s and Corky’s – The Hickory Pig. The Fall Festival will end at 7:00pm, at which point the Boo Bash will begin in the Big Vanilla swimming pool, where there will be an in-water treasure hunt for kids. Ticket sales from both the Festival and the Bash will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Check out these other Fall Festivals in the area:

Homestead Gardens Fall Festival

Homestead Gardens, Davidsonville

Weekends in October 11:00am-4:00pm

www.homesteadgardens.com

Fall Festival 2011

Chesapeake Christian Center, Pasadena

October 20, 10:00am

www.ccc-cog.org

Fall Festival

Severna Park United Methodist Church, SPUMC

October 23, 12:00-2:00pm

410-987-4700

Parties and Events

Halloween is a great time to celebrate with all of these other fun-filled parties, events, and festivities.

SPY Spooky Splash at SPY Pool SPCC

October 28 6:30-8:00pm

www.severnaparkcommunitycenter.com

This Halloween-themed pool party will take place in the main pool at the Severna Park Community Center, where swimmers can expect “witches, ghosts, goblins, and sea monsters will haunt the pool.” There will also be a Spooky Splash Jr. for children age 5 and under, taking place in the therapy pool from either 6:00-7:00 or 7:00-8:00.

Build-a-Scarecrow Workshop

The Breakfast Shoppe, Severna Park

October 13 6:00-8:30pm

410-544-8599 ext. 2

At this event held by the Breakfast Shoppe of Severna Park, kids and kids-at-heart have the chance to learn about the fall tradition of building a scarecrow. The Shoppe will be serving pumpkin lattes, mulled cider, and baked fall harvest mini-waffles, and those attending will have the chance to purchase a paper charity pumpkin to support Hopewell Cancer Support. RSVP for tickets (availability is limited) by calling the restaurant.

CTA Presents "A Tribute To Roald Dahl: The Witches"

October 14-16, 21-23. Fridays 7:30pm, Saturdays 2:00pm and 7:30pm, Sundays 2:00pm

www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org

Just in time for Halloween, Children's Theatre of Annapolis will open their 2011-2012 season with an adaptation of Roald Dahl's dark children's book, "The Witches," about a little boy and his wise grandmother who find themselves pitted against a group of witches (including their evil leader, the Grand High Witch) who are planning to rid the world of children by turning them into mice. The play will feature a cast of local youth ages 8-18, and will run for two weekends in October. For ticket information, visit the CTA website. See also CTA's Halloween Dance party below.

CTA Second Annual Halloween Dance Party

October 29 7:00-10:00

www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org

This event for ages 8-15 will include food, dancing, and a costume contest, and will feature DJ Chris Timko.

Check out some other Halloween-themed parties and events happening locally:

Halloween Party

Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Station

October 30

410-647-3119

Thriller Dance Workshop at Maryland Hall

October 30 2:00-4:00pm

www.marylandhall.org

Halloween Parade

Big Vanilla Arnold and Pasadena

October 31 11:00-12:30

www.bigvanilla.com

Children’s Halloween Party

Benson-Hammond House, Linthicum Heights

October 29, 11:00am-2:00pm

www.aachs.org/Calendar.htm

Trunk or Treat

Grace Baptist Church, Trunk or Treat

October 26, 5:30-7:30pm

410-255-5616

Halloween Spooktacula Dance-a-thon to Benefit the Homeless

Severna Park Community Center, 623 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, Severna Park, benefits Sarah's House

Doors open at 5:00pm; music begins at 5:30pm.

October 29, 5:00-10:00pm

410-647-5843

Happy Haunting Halloween Party

Marley Station Mall, Glen Burnie

October 31, 2011 5:00-7:00pm

www.shopmarleystation.com

For an alternative to trick-or-treating, families can head to Marley Station Mall and enjoy some free entertainment, including mall-wide trick-or-treating at participating merchants. The event is hosted by the Simon Kidgit Club, a program for kids ages 3-8 that hosts events and activities throughout the year. Members of the club--including new those who sign-up on Halloween--will receive a special treat.


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