Come fall, most people think of New England as the place to go for spectacular leaf peeping. And they do come in droves. But as the season winds down and the tourists go home, New Englanders are left more or less to ourselves for another favorite autumn tradition: scaring the heck out of each other. […]
By Joe Bills
Sep 17 2015
Carved pumpkins at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island.Photo Credit : Anne McDonough, Courtesy of Roger Williams Park Zoo
Ghost Tours, The Mount, Lenox, MAWe’ll begin in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, where the spooky happenings are already under way. Starting on select nights in September and continuing every Friday throughout October, Edith Wharton’s historic home, The Mount, in Lenox, conducts a particularly creepy tour. The house was designed by Wharton, who lived there with her husband from 1902 to 1911. In the years that followed, The Mount served as a school dormitory for girls and later as home to the Shakespeare & Company theatre troupe. Members of both of these groups often reported unexplained noises and spooky sightings, including encounters with apparitions seemingly wearing clothes from days gone by. It is interesting to note that, although they aren’t among her best known work, Edith Wharton did, in fact, write some pretty good ghost stories. Coincidence? I’ll leave you to judge for yourself. The Mount’s Ghost Tours are popular, so registering in advance is wise. For more information, visit: edithwharton.org.
Haunted Happenings, Salem, MAOver in eastern Massachusetts, there is a town that specializes in scary. In fact, no town in all of New England has quite as much claim to Halloween spookiness as Salem, home of the 17th century witch trials and other real life horrors. Today’s Salem experience is considerably more touristy and upbeat, with parades and tours to accompany the frights that continue all month long. For a full schedule of events, visit: hauntedhappenings.org.
Ogunquitfest, Ogunquit, MEHalloween falls on a Saturday this year, and across New England, the weekend before Halloween is jam-packed with fun events. For three days, from Friday to Sunday, the downtown area of Ogunquit, Maine, is turned over to what they call Ogunquitfest. Now in it’s 12th year, Ogunquitfest celebrates fall with pumpkin and cookie decorating contests, an antique car show, a craft bazaar, and some really hilarious competitions like a high heel race and a bed race. In the spirit of Halloween, of course, there are some scares to go with the laughs, including ghost tours, a scarecrow contest and a classic haunted house. It is a weekend of wicked fun. For the full lineup of events, log on to: visitogunquit.org.
Ghost Encounters, Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, NH
Family Halloween, Billings Farm, Woodstock, VTThe very next day, the 19th century Billings Farm in Woodstock, Vermont, puts its own spin on a Family Halloween, with a lineup of classic events including pumpkin carving, costume parades, donuts on a string, spooky stories, wagon rides and more. Details can be found at: billingsfarm.org.
Ghostly Sightings Tour and Haunted Basement, Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk, CTNone of this, of course, should give the impression that northern New England has cornered the market on things that go bump in the night. Two of New England’s spookiest events, in fact, take place in Connecticut. For the entire final week of the month, from Sunday the 25th and continuing right through Halloween itself, the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk offers its Ghostly Sightings Tour and Haunted Basement, combining history and fun in the main house and a Civil War-era basement retrofitted as a spine-chilling maze to step up the scares. You can learn more at: lockwoodmathewsmansion.com.
Haunted History Lantern Tour, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, CTIf that’s not enough of a fright for you, spend the night before Halloween taking a Haunted History Lantern Tour of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford. Your guides will introduce you to some of Cedar Hill’s most notable residents, and share their dark tales. Space is limited, so reserve your spot at: cedarhillfoundation.org.
Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RIThe final stop on our Halloween tour of New England takes us to an unlikely location in the Ocean State, as Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence serves up a Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular throughout the month of October. With some 5,000 illuminated pumpkins displayed along the zoo’s beautiful wetlands trail, this display offers some unforgettable scenes, highlighted by some genuine works of pumpkin-carving art. Check out: rwpzoo.org. And there you have it. Until next time, we’ll see you Out and About.