Halloween is just around the corner and there’s plenty of activities to entertain until Oct. 31.
Ghost tours and hikes are being offered at several sites within the county including Ben Lomond, Rippon Lodge and Leesylvania State Park. What better way to learn about the county’s history, meet some “ghosts” and get exercise at the same time.
Local arts groups are staging familiar spooky tales. Pied Piper Theatre’s production of “Sleepy Hollow” opens this weekend in Woodbridge. The family-friendly musical, presented by the Center for the Arts, tells the classic story of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane. On the other end, Manassas Dance Company presents “Dracula” with original music.
And just because summer’s over, doesn’t mean the amusement parks have to close, too. Squeeze in a few screams after riding the coasters at Kings Dominion, Six Flags and Busch Gardens. All three parks are decked out in full Halloween force with costumed characters and haunted houses.
GHOST TOURS AND MORE
* Ghostly Lock-Ins – The Weems-Botts Museum offers the chance to sleep in one of the most haunted houses in Dumfries during its Ghostly Lock-Ins on Friday and Saturday nights in October. As stories are told of past grave-diggers, guests will walk through the Dumfries cemetery and then spend the evening waiting for a ghostly appearance. Space is extremely limited and reservations are required. All proceeds of the event will go to benefit the Weems-Botts Museum. Friday and Saturday nights at Weems-Botts Museum, Duke and Cameron streets, Dumfries. Cost: $75 per person; payment must be received within seven days of making reservations. A portion of the cost will be tax-deductible. (703) 221-2218.
* The Ghost Tours of the Ben Lomond Historic Site – Tours feature “ghosts” of deceased Civil War solders and provides history on events that took place during this time. The program ends with campfire and refreshments. Begins at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Oct. 27-29 at Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas. Cost: $5 adults, $3 children. (703) 792-5632.
* Ghost Tours at Rippon Lodge Historic Site – Visitors will hear stories about the house and previous owners and tour the Blackburn family cemetery at night. The program ends with campfire and refreshments. Begins at 7, 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. Oct. 13-15, Oct. 21-22 and Oct.27-29 at Rippon Lodge Historic Site, 15500 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge, Cost: $5 adults, $3 children. (703) 792-5632.
* Lock-In at Ben Lomond House – Spend the night inside Ben Lomond house. Overnight guests will take the 9 p.m. ghost tour, with campfire and refreshments following. Arrive at 8:45 p.m. and bring a sleeping bag and/or bedding. Adults and children 12 and older only. Begins at 8:45 p.m. Oct. 27 with 8 a.m. morning departure Oct. 28 at Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas. Cost: $60 per person. (703) 792-5632.
* Haunted History Hike – Leesylvania State Park offers a family-oriented tour of people in the past who have lived (and died) there. Half-hour tours take place along moderate terrain of Lee’s Woods Trail. Tours finish with a bonfire on the beach with Native American storytelling. Every half hour from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 27-28 at Leesylvania State Park, 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge. Cost: $2 per person, $6 for groups of four or more; parking fee is waived. (703) 583-6904.
* Haunted Mini-Golf -Take a swing at Locust Shade Park and Lake Ridge Park with glow-in-the-dark golf balls, costumed characters and a few surprises lurking in the woods. From 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28 at Locust Shade Park, 4701 Locust Shade Drive, Triangle. Cost: $5 per person, $2 spectators; group rates available. (703) 221-8579.
* The Haunting at Liberia Plantation – Visitors will stroll at night with costumed guides through the grounds of the 181-year-old plantation and learn about its eerie history. Meet at the Manassas Museum for shuttle to Liberia Plantation. Every half-hour from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28. Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Purchase at Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William St., Manassas. Recommended for ages 13 and up. (703) 368-1873.
* Jaycees’ Haunted Hay Ride – Crumland Farms turns into the Jaycees’ Haunted Hay Ride this month. The farm’s 8-acre corn maze features a goat walk, giant slide, trike track, hay jump, snack stand and corn cannon. From 7 to 10 p.m. today through Saturday, Oct. 20-21, Oct. 26-29 at Crumland Farms, off Route 15, Frederick, Md.Cost: $12 for The Haunted Hay Ride; $18 combo tickets includes the Corn Maze at Crumland Farms. (301) 845-8099 or crumland.com.
* Occoquan Ghost Tours – Hear tales of “spirits” past during one-hour narrated walking tours hosted by the Occoquan Merchants Association. Begins at 7 and 8 p.m. Oct. 20-21, Oct. 27-28. Meet at the gazebo at Mamie Davis Park. Cost: $10. Reservations required. (703) 491-0635.
* Pumpkinville – The 20-are park features Fort Pumpkin and the new Spooky Pirate Ship, not mention a hay maze, giant hill slides, camel rides, straw tunnels, rope swings and moon bounces. Visitors can also enjoy face and pumpkins paintings and mini tractors on weekends. Goodies include apple cider, and all you can eat apples and popcorn. Special events: Silly Socks Puppets, 2 p.m. Oct. 14; Nicolo Whimsey Variety, 1 p.m. Oct. 15. Through Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Leesburg Animal Park, 19720 James Monroe Highway. Admission: $6.50 weekdays, $10 weekends, free for children under 2. (703) 433-0002 or leesburganimalpark.com.
* The Spirited Past of Manassas – The Manassas Museum presents “The Spirited Past of Manassas: Themed Tours of Historic Old Town Manassas,” a series of special walking tours on Friday the 13th. Tours begin in the Waiting Room of the Manassas Railroad Depot and last approximately one hour. The tour will feature new stories this year. Appropriate for all ages. Advance tickets are recommended, but may be purchased on the night of the tour at the Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William St. Every half-hour at 5:30 p.m. with last tour starting at 9 p.m. Friday. Cost: $10 per person. (703) 368-1873 or manassasmuseum.org.
* Trail of Terror – Take a scary hay ride through Signal Hill Park that features things that shake, scream and cry. There will be costumed characters, scary noises and an updated trail. Black and white classic horror will shown outside of the trail. Not recommended for children under the age of 6. From 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 27-28 at Signal Hill Park, 9300 Signal View Drive, Manassas Park. Cost: $3. (703) 335-8872.
* Winter’s Branch Haunted Trail – Monsters roam the trails as they search for lost souls. Terror trail not recommended for kids under 10, but a ghost-friendly trail is offered during the day. From 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 27-28 at Jennie Dean Park, 9680 Wellington Road. Tot time: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 and 5 to 6 p.m. Oct. 30. Cost: $1. (703) 257-8237 or e-mail [email protected]
* Ghost Walk Tours in Fredericksburg – The Historic Preservation Club at the University of Mary Washington will hold its 22nd annual Ghost Walk through downtown Fredericksburg. The 1 1/2 hour long tours led by costumed guides. Sites include the Masonic Cemetery, the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, the Kenmore plantation and many more. The first hour of tours each night will be catered toward children, who are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating at each site. Games and refreshments will be available. Reservations can be made in advance or tickets can be purchased the night of the tour at Market Square. Reservations are highly recommended. Every 10 minutes from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 27 and 5-10 p.m. Oct. 28, beginning at Market Square beside the Fredericksburg Area Museum, 907 Princess Anne St. Tickets: $6 adults, $4 children ages 5 to12, free for children age 5 and under. All proceeds go to the Historic Preservation Club at the University of Mary Washington. (540) 654-1315.
* FearFest at Kings Dominion – For the sixth year, the Doswell park offers chills and thrills with five mazes: Headless Hollow, headlined by the Headless Horseman and “the Hollowers”; Blood Shed, a labyrinth of stalls, animal pens, rotting wood and undead farmhands; Maze of Madness, an insane asylum; BlueRidge Bloodbath, a nightmarish drive; and FreakShow in 3D. From 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 29 at Paramount’s Kings Dominion, Doswell. Tickets prices vary. (804) 876-5000 or paramountparks.com/kingsdominion.com.
* Fright Fest at Six Flags America – The Largo, Md., theme park, transforms into a “scream park” in October. New attractions include three spooky shows: Dead Man’s Party, Disco Inferno and Monster Mash Bash. While adults visit some haunted houses, children can go on Trick or Treat Trail in the Looney Tunes Spooky Town. From 1 to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday through Oct. 29, and 5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 27 at Six Flags America, Largo Md. Ticket prices vary. (301) 249-1500 or sixflags.com.
* Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens – New at the park’s Halloween-themed festival are the Wicked Woods maze and Rockin’ Eve’s Countdown to Midnight. Other scarefare: The Big Bad Wolf, Corkscrew Hill, Sleepless Hollow Manor, Curse of Pompeii, Last Laugh Industries, Jack’s Nightmare Express and Curse of DarKastle. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays at Busch Gardens. Ticket prices vary. (800) 343-7946 or buschgardens.com.
* “The Beast with Five Fingers” – Gary Crawford will present the 1946 film about Italian villagers who believe a dead pianist’s severed hand is responsible for murder. The film stars Peter Lorre and Robert Alda. Free; call to register. Begins at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at Bull Run Regional Library, 8051 Ashton Ave., Manassas. (703) 792-4530.
* “Dracula” – The Manassas Dance Company annual production includes original music composed by Kim Reynolds and performed live by his band. Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. at Grace E. Metz Middle School, 9950 Wellington Road, Manassas. Advance tickets: $23 adults and $18 seniors and children; at the door: $25 adults, $20 seniors and children; available at (703) 218-6500, (703) 257-1811 or tickets.com. (703) 257-1811.
* “Sleepy Hollow” – The classic story about the Headless Horseman opens the Pied Piper Theatre’s 2006-2007 season. The family-friendly musical tells the tale of Ichabod Crane who begins his new teaching job in a small New England town. When he’s not battling Brom Bones for the hand of the pretty Katrina Van Tassel, he’s fearing for his life. Begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 22 at Gar-Field High School, 14000 Smoketown Road, Woodbridge. Tickets: $7 in advance, $8 at the door; $6 each for organized groups. Season passes are available. (703) 330-ARTS or center-for-the-arts.com.
* “The Unexpected Guest” – The Castaways Repertory Theatre presents Agatha Christie’s murder mystery. The present-day production pays homage to the film noir detective movies of the 1930s. Solve the mystery as a stranded motorist and police investigators try to figure out killer at a remote countryside. Oct. 20 through Nov. 4 at Ferlazzo Building, 15941 Donald Curtis Drive, Woodbridge. Showtimes: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 1 p.m. matinee Oct. 28. Tickets: $14 general admission, $11 seniors, students, military and Prince William County employees, $10 matinee. (703) 508-5418 or castawaystheatre.org.
* “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” – The 2006 Wayside Theatre Children’s Theatre Company will perform the short story by Washington Irving and adapted for stage by education director Sarah Blackwell. Begins at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 21 and Oct. 28 at the Wayside Theatre, Main Street, Middletown. Tickets: $6. (540) 869-1776 or waysidetheatre.org.
* Carlyle House: An 18th- Century Virginia Home in Mourning – An exhibit on the mourning practices of 18th-century Virginia through the experience of the Carlyle household. Col. John Carlyle was a prominent resident of Alexandria and one of the city’s original trustees. On Oct. 28, there will be an historic re-enactment of Colonel John Carlyle’s 1780 funeral. From 6 to 9 p.m. viewing and visitation will be held at Carlyle House with a funeral procession and internment at 9 p.m. at Old Presbyterian Meeting House, 321 S. Fairfax St. Reservations required; call (703) 683-3451. Runs through Nov. 5 at the Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., Old Town Alexandria. (703) 549-2997 or carlylehouse.org.
* Discussion and book signing with Margaret Hoffman – The author of “Blackbeard: A Tale of Villainy and Murder in Colonial America” and “Dead in the Water” will discuss her books at several book events in the Northern Virginia area. Set in Colonial Williamsburg and the Outer Banks, “Blackbeard” is a historical novel about the infamous pirate, and “Dead in the Water” is a suspense novel based on a true U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue mission in Santa Barbara, Oxnard and Marina del Rey. From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at Borders, 2904 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge, (703) 897-8100; and 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 29 at Borders, 11270 Bulloch Drive, Manassas, (703) 368-9824.
* Mystery Book Club – “Last Lessons of Summer” by Margaret Maron will be discussed at this month’s meeting. The book tells the story about Amy who inherits her family’s business. On top of that, she reflects on her marriage to a man who loves her only for her money, her mother’s apparent suicide, her grandmother’s unsolved murder, and the possibility that she may be the next to die. No registration required; new members welcome. Begins at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Bull Run Regional Library, 8051 Ashton Ave., Manassas. (703) 792-4530.
* Who Are You Going to Call? D.C. Metro Area Ghost Watchers! – The D.C. Metro Area Ghost Watchers discuss how they use science to investigate local ghostly hauntings and other paranormal events. The program is for adults and mature teens only. Free; call to register. Begins at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at Bull Run Regional Library, 8051 Ashton Ave., Manassas. (703) 792-4530.
TRICKS AND TREATS FOR KIDS AND DOGS
* Harvest Moon Candy Hunt – Jennie Dean Park offers a night of safe Halloween fun. Children should bring a loot bag and a flashlight. Candy, prizes and contests for everyone. Oct. 27 at Jennie Dean Park, 9680 Wellington Road, Manassas. Hours: ages 2-3 at 6:30 p.m., ages 4-5 at 7 p.m., ages 6-7 at 7:30 p.m., ages 8-10 at 8 p.m. Cost: $5 per child; pay at the gate. (703) 257-8237 or e-mail [email protected]
* “Howl..oween Costume Party” – There will be a pet costume contest with veterinarians as the judges for Best in Show. The grand prize is a free microchip or $50 credit to their account, with first runner-up receiving a dental gift basket. Other activities: photo booth, educational displays and discussions, and treats for pets and people. Pets must be restrained by the owner at all times. Kids are welcome. From 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 30 at Ridge Lake Animal Hospital, 1400 Old Bridge Road, Woodbridge. (703) 491-1111.
* Halloween Howl – People Animals Love will host a masquerade party for dogs and dog lovers at 7 p.m. Oct. 21. The annual fundraiser features a reception, plated dinner, dancing, a silent and live Auction, and prizes for best costumes. Radio talk show host and author Diane Rehm will serve as master of ceremonies. The event benefits the programs of PAL. A doggie comfort station will be on site. Oct. 21 at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza S.W., Washington, D.C. Tickets: $125 for humans, free for dogs. (202) 966-2171, halloweenhowl.org peopleanimalslove.com.