A chill is in the air, the leaves have turned, and gravestones are sprouting like mushrooms on front lawns everywhere — Halloween must be drawing closer. Whether you’re looking for ways to entertain the kids on an October weekend or an adult who never lost the taste for a good scare, here’s a sampling of spooky seasonal events from around Kawarthas Northumberland.
Phantom Farm (weekends in October)
Just north of Port Hope the spectral delights of Phantom Farm await. Created with teens in mind but scary enough for any horror fan, Phantom Farm opens its gates Friday-Sunday in October. The immersive experience includes an atmospheric graveyard, a 4000 square-foot barn with filled with twisting hallways and ghoulish surprises, and a ride through a haunted forest (“we provide the haywagon, you provide the screams”). Keep your wits about you and bring your sense of humour to this popular annual attraction. Check out http://phantomfarm.ca for details.
McLean Berry Farm Pumpkin Fest (weekends in October)
Celebrate the harvest and Halloween at Buckhorn Pumpkinfest. On October weekends Buckhorn Berry Farm transforms into a riot of fall colours and themed attractions. Ride a wagon through the pumpkin patch, try your hand at pumpkin bowling, and catch the daily entertainment by Tim Holland. The kid-friendly ‘fest also includes a straw bale maze, two corn mazes, and a bouncy castle. Pay your respects at Bonesville Cemetery and salute the season with the firing of the pumpkin cannon — details here: http://mcleanberryfarm.com/events/pumpkin-festival/
Wild West Ghost Town, Kawartha Settler’s Village (October 19)
Kawartha Settler’s Village in Bobcaygeon is a treat anytime, but these historic homes and artifacts from 1830-1935 look especially appealing surrounded by autumnal colour. On Saturday, October 19 the Village is holding a Wild West Ghost Town event replete with a haunted saloon, children’s haunted house, and scary stories by the bonfire. What’s the Parading of the Wickerman, you ask? Be there at 9pm to find out. More info at https://www.settlersvillage.org/events/2019/10/19/haunted-village.
Cricklewood Farm (open daily)
On the scale of classic Halloween images, corn mazes rank right up there with pumpkin patches and haunted mansions. And oh boy, does Cricklewood Farm have a corn maze for you. Their two mazes are spread across seven acres for a total of four kilometres of winding trail. Test your navigation skills in the mini-maze then take on the more challenging large maze. The corn maze is open every day in October, with special twilight walks possible on Saturday (BYO flashlight).
Cricklewood also offers a pick-your-own pumpkin patch for good measure. The kid-friendly Halloween Harvest Monster Hunt on October 19 features a scavenger hunt, prizes, and games. Visit https://cricklewood.ca for more.
Lang Pioneer Village Historic All Hallows’ Eve (October 25 & 26)
If you’re seeking an immersive experience this Halloween, Lang Pioneer Village’s is an exceptionally good bet. Their Historic All Hallows’ Eve event will explore the origins and traditions of Halloween. You’ll learn the origins of the jack-o’-lantern as you listen to the sounds of haunting live music. Expect fortunetelling, face painting, horse and wagon rides, and more. For those charmed by old-timey hucksterism, look no further than “Floss and Tan’s Cabinet of Curiosity for the Incurably Curious.”
If you’re in the area the weekend before, you might also want to drop in on the Keene Pumpkin Festival to catch the giant pumpkin weigh-off.
Downtown Peterborough Ghost Walk with Trent Valley Archives (October 17-25)
Costumed guides unearth melancholy tales from Peterborough’s past on this event led by Trent Valley Archives. Take a lantern-lit tour around Peterborough’s most haunted properties, such as the former exercise yard of the County Court House jail. Act quickly if you’d like to get in on this long-running Halloween tradition – the ghost walk typically sells out each year: https://thekawarthas.ca/event/downtown-halloween-ghost-walk-4/2019-10-25/