A haunted hotel and a haunted woods, costume contests for both kids and dogs, and hay-rides and cook-offs celebrate the season from one end of Huntington County to the other.
GREAT PUMPKIN FESTIVAL: The Great Pumpkin Festival will be celebrated Thursday, Oct. 29, through Saturday, Oct. 31, in downtown Huntington.
Events will be kicked off on Thursday, Oct. 29, with the Haunted Hotel, 13th Floor, at 511 N. Jefferson St., from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pumpkins can be entered in the decorated pumpkin contest, sponsored by the Huntington County Visitor Center, from Tuesday, Oct. 27, through Oct. 30 at 10 a.m.
The pumpkins will be judged by the Red Hatters on Friday, Oct. 30, at 11 a.m. at the Visitor Center.
The Haunted Hotel is open on Friday, Oct. 30, from 7 to 11 p.m.
Additional events over the weekend are:
Saturday, Oct. 31 -
1 p.m., Sleepy Hollow matinee performance
1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Safe Trick-or-Treating. Downtown merchants offer bargains and safe trick-or-treating in their stores from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Look for signs.
4 p.m., Kids' Costume Parade downtown. The Great Pumpkin Festival Kids' Costume parade will begin at First Federal Savings Bank downtown and proceed to the courthouse at 4 p.m. A costume contest will be held following the parade on the Courthouse steps.
4:30 p.m., Howl-o-Ween Dog costume contest. Located at Jefferson and Washington streets and hosted by the Huntington Theatre. Cider, photos, treats, two cash prizes (one for the scariest and one for the most comical dogs in costume).
6:30 p.m., Sleepy Hollow performance.
7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Haunted Hotel.
SPOOKTACULAR: A new event this year is the Spooktacular, to be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23 and 24, at Salamonie School.
The event features a guided walk through the school's woods behind the football field. At least 50 volunteers will be in the haunted woods for the roughly 20 scenes, ranging anywhere from a cemetery scene to ghosts, werewolves, spiders, a storyteller and black-light scenes.
The hours are 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on both nights. There will also be concessions available with hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and some food. A hay wagon will take people from the entrance to the woods and then back after the walk is complete, which will last about 15 minutes.
There is an admission price, and the event is a fundraiser for the seventh and eighth grade class trip to Washington, D.C. in May. The estimated cost of the trip is $56,000 altogether and the money will help those families who might not afford to go.
"We're hoping to earn enough to assist families who need it," says Cathy Hull, a teacher at Salamonie and event chair.
"We have several families who have lost jobs," she says, "We don't want that to be a deterrent."
There are 144 students in the combined grades. Hull adds that Spooktacular won't pay for everything, but the school has done other fundraisers.
The front parking lot will be open for parking.
FALL HARVEST CELEBRATION: J. Edward Roush Lake will host an autumn weekend of activities on Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Little Turtle Recreation Area main shelter house. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes to collect candy. Bring your own bag.
On Friday at 7 p.m., the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society will be on hand, with telescopes, to teach participants about the night sky.
Hot dogs and hayrides kick off Saturday evening's events. The food will be served from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. A dessert kit is available for a small fee.
Hayrides with stories from the past will be available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Pumpkins will also be available to carve.
From 5 to 7 p.m. there will be kids' games, a campfire and music by the band Small Town.
At 6:30 p.m., this year's Dutch Oven Cook-off results can be tasted. The announcement of the grand prize will be made, out of the summer's first place teams.
The Trick-or-Treat time is 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
All children must be with a responsible adult. No childcare will be provided.
There is an admission fee for adults and children over 2 years old. One admission covers both days if participants bring their paid admittance pass with them.
J. Edward Roush Lake is located in Huntington County on Ind.-5, just south of Huntington. Call 468-2165 for more information.
‘NIGHT CHILLS' AT THE PULSE: The Pulse Opera House in Warren is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe during late October.
The noted writer of mystery and macabre was born in 1809 and in this bicentennial year of his birth, Pulse is presenting an adaptation of three of his works in the radio theatre production of "Night Chills." The adaptation by Billy St. John features three works of Poe, including "The Tell Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Cask of Amontillado."
These stories will be presented in radio reader's theater style with live sound effects. The cast includes Lucas Esch, Paige Fisher, Christine Fuller, Janna Fisher, Randy Neuman and Jeff Fisher. The production is directed by Neuman with technical direction by Ron Wartzok.
The production dates and time is Oct. 23, 24, 30 and 31 at 8 p.m.
Reserve tickets by calling 375-7017 or at www.pulseoperahouse.org.
SLEEPY HOLLOW SNEAK PEEK: Huntington City-Township Public Library and The New Huntington Theater invite youth in grades six through 12 to attend an exclusive dress rehearsal of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" on Monday, Oct. 26.
The evening begins at 7 p.m. at the Huntington City-Township Public Library, where teens can enjoy treats, an optional Halloween costume contest and other related activities.
Participants will then walk as a group to The New Huntington Theater, where they can enjoy a "ghost sundae" and see a dress rehearsal of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," adapted and performed by Joel Froomkin and Rich Najuch.
Participants may be dropped off before 7 p.m. at the library, 200 W. Market St., and need to be picked up at approximately 8:45 p.m. at the New Huntington Theater, 528 N. Jefferson St.
The event is free, but participants must be registered to attend as space is limited. Call 356-2900 or stop by the main library to sign up.
GREAT PUMPKIN HUNT: The Great Pumpkin Hunt will take place at Hier's Park on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.
Kids will be divided into three groups by age. They will hunt in the dark for orange and black eggs filled with treats and prizes. The coloring contest begins at 7 p.m. with the hunt to follow at 7:30 p.m. Costumes are welcome.
Bring a flashlight and a bag for the eggs found.
For more information, call the Park Department at 358-2323. The rain date is Oct. 29.
SCARECROW FESTIVAL: On Oct. 30 in downtown Warren will be the Scarecrow Festival from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be activities, games, treats and decorated scarecrows throughout the town. Call 375-3010 to participate with scarecrows.