Fall is one of the best times of year in Western Pennsylvania because of our wonderful foliage. There's also plenty to do to celebrate the season, including an array of spooky and fun Halloween events.
Cruising for Fall
Take advantage of the last few days of warmer weather and enjoy the changing seasons with a ride on the Nautical Nature during the Fall Foliage Pontoon Cruise at Moraine State Park. On weekends through Oct. 30, you can take the 45-passenger enclosed pontoon boat for an enjoyable cruise. Rides are at 1 and 3 p.m. Fees are $10 for adults; $9 for senior citizens age 62 and older; $5.50 for children 2 to 12. For more information, call 724-368-9185 or visit their website.
Corn mazes always are fun, and our area boasts a couple of super ones.
The Beacon Corn Maze and Haunted House at the Beacon Hotel and Restaurant in Renfrew plays host to visitors every weekend in October for frights, chills and fun. For $12 per person, participants can enjoy the 15-acre haunted corn maze, tractor rides and a haunted house. The first tractor leaves about dusk (organizers say "The darker the better”). The last tractor is at 10 p.m.
For the little ones, Sundays are “no scare days” from 1 to 4 p.m. at the maze. Tickets are $8, and food and beverages are available for purchase. For more details, visit the website or call 724-586-6233.
The Coolspring Corn Maze in Mercer offers “Acres of Fun” every weekend through Halloween. For $7.95 a person, you can visit the corn maze, ride the pedal tractors on the racetrack, visit the hay maze, watch the "pumpkin blaster" and take a hay ride. It also is a great place to pick up your Halloween pumpkins. Visit the website for hours or call 724-699-3221
History buffs will love the Butler County Civil War Roundtable's “Downtown Butler Ghost Walk.” The hour-long walk beginning at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22 and 29 starts at Butler’s Diamond Park (across from the Butler County Courthouse) and continues to the Main Street business district. Tour guide Bill May will tell stories of the ghosts of Butler, including the stories of Sam Mohawk, Notorious Outlaws-The Biddle Boys, the 14-Point Wife, the Chinese Laundry Murder, the Phantom Civil War Regiment and more. Advance reservations are requested and may be made at “The Ghost Walk Line." Tickets are $10 per person. Call 724-256-9020 for more information.
Ghost lovers might also want to take part in the Mercer County Historical Society's Lantern-Light Walking Tour of Mercer cemeteries. The evening walking tour on Oct. 26 will focus on the Civil War and the Underground Railroad. The free event is from 7 to 9 p.m. Donations are welcome. For more information, call 724-662-3490.
Another family-friendly event is the Family Walk-About: Creatures of the Night at Succop Conservancy in Butler. Visit the trails Oct. 25 and 26 for larger-than-life nocturnal creatures, including a great horned owl, a flying squirrel, the Little Brown Bat, an opossum and a skunk. Crafts and refreshments are included in the cost. Costumes are encouraged. Advance registration is required at the website or by calling 724-586-2591. The fee is $6 for members and $10 for non-members.
By now everyone in the Pittsburgh area has heard about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ visit to Soergel Orchards in Wexford. This also is the perfect time for you and your family to visit Soergel's to take in a hayride, visit the petting zoo, crawl through the hay tunnel, pick your own pumpkin and more. Many of the activities are free. Visit the website or call 724- 935-1743 for more details.
Spooky Good Times
Ghost enthusiasts can take in Spooky Stories at the Old Stone House in Slippery Rock. This free event will feature story-telling, ghost hunting and a haunted trail from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 27 and 28. The Oct. 27 event will feature a costume contest. A concession stand will be open for refreshments. For more information, call 724-738-4964.
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington County is sponsoring its Trolley Rails and Spooky Tales event on Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29. Ride a vintage trolley into the night, and enjoy tales by a master storyteller. The museum opens at 6 p.m. with trolley rides at 7 and 8 p.m. The cost is $9 for adults and $6 for children ages 3 to 15. The family rate is $35. For more details, visit the website or call 724-228-9256.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Kennywood Phantom Fright Nights, now in its 10th year. A Pittsburgh tradition, the amusement park is open from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and is decorated for Halloween. Kennywood's website claims that the events and decorations are so scary that they aren't recommended for children younger than 13. Fees are $26.99 per person. For more information, visit the website or call 412-461-0500.
Last but not least, visit the Northern Nightmares, an annual Halloween festival that haunts Zelienople and Harmony the final three weekends of October and includes “The Nightmare Trolley Tour,” a 45-minute tour of haunted hot-spots in Zelienople and Harmony and “Chiller Theater,” Halloween-themed classic films at The Strand Theater. Visit its Facebook page for more information.