Oh, the nostalgia: itchy costumes, smelly hairsprays, never-dry facepaints, and the constant reek of sweaty rubber masks.
Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely adore Halloween and always have. I love the thrill, the candy, the sense of mystery and ominous anticipation. If it were up to me, I would continue trick-or-treating right up until my deathbed, but alas I am now of that sad, pathetic age where you are too old for house parties and far too old for trick-or-treating. And since I have no children, I have been reduced to scaring the living hell out of any kid who dares wander up my driveway.
Don’t worry, I give them candy too. Once they stop crying.
But lately, I have wondered if maybe a change of pace might be nice. I simply love sitting on the couch, with nothing but candles illuminating the room as I watch horror movie after horror movie, devouring king-sized candy bars by the dozen, only pressing pause to refill my apple cider mimosa or to answer the door to a legion of tiny Ninjago characters. But what if -- stay with me here… what if I did all that while camping?
Is such a thing possible? you ask. And I say: YES. There are such magical campgrounds that embrace Halloween and all of its eccentricities: gory decorations, trick-or-treating, horror stories around a campfire, pumpkin carving…. These are right up my dark, cobwebbed alley.
So without further ado, here are fifteen campgrounds and RV sites around the U.S. with amazing Halloween activities:
1. Silent Valley Club, Southern California
With that inherently creepy name, I’m already on board. This RV camp hosts both a site-decorating contest and a costume contest. Kids frequently trick-or-treat around the grounds, and there is a pumpkin (anything and everything pumpkin) bake-off. Of course, they have ghost stories around the campfire. They even put together an annual haunted house that they claim is “one of the scariest you’ll ever experience.” Challenge accepted, SVC.
2. High Falls State Park, Georgia
The state park hosts an event on the 26th that includes a costume contest, s’mores roasting (when was the last time you had a s’more?!), and spooky storytelling. It’s an all-around good time for kids and adults alike.
3. Killens Pond State Park, Delaware
On October 19th and 26th, this state park has a fall-themed event for all ages. Pumpkin carving is a given, scarecrow-making, and of course there are costume and site-decorating contests. Best of all, they have something called a “Hoot ‘N’ Howling Campfire Experience,” where children can gather around a campfire and learn to make wild animal calls. Cool.
4. Wharton State Forest, New Jersey
Only a few minutes away from the campsite lies the Historic Batsto Village, where a Halloween event will be taking place on October 27. It includes a variety of activities, like a Halloween parade and the mysterious “Jersey Devil Bound Walk and Talk,” which is only for older kids and sounds equal parts creepy and awesome.
5. Ponca State Park, Nebraska
On October 12 and 19, head over to this state park for annual Halloween event, complete with hayrides, pumpkin carving, and pumpkin rolling (fun!). They also have a site-decorating contest and a variety of fall-themed arts and crafts.
6. Thompson Falls State Park, Montana
This is one for the adults. While there are no costume contests or crafts, the town of Bannack offers a guided ghost tour, during which guests will see ghoulish actors recreating real historical town events. Super spooky, super cool.
7. Canton/East Sparta KOA, Ohio
This campground really loves Halloween -- every weekend of October they have Halloween activities. Spooky evening forest walks, creepy haunted house, and ghoulish hayrides -- they have it all!
8. Lums Pond State Park, Delaware
They have all the staples of a Halloween celebration: pumpkin carving and painting, hayrides, trick-or-treating, and costume contests. On top of that, they also offer pony rides, face painting, s’mores roasting, and ghost stories around the campfire. Can I just say… ooooh, ponies!
9. Fort Boonesborough State Park, Kentucky
In true Halloween spirit, this state park hosts a Halloween event for thirteen days during October. They have a pirate-themed miniature golf course, pancake breakfasts, and pirate-themed hikes (they really like pirates, I guess). They also offer trick-or-treating, crafts, and hayrides daily.
10. Scenic Ridge Campground, Wisconsin
This campground has some outstanding Halloween activities, including a pumpkin hunt (what is that and where can I sign up?), a chili potluck, trick-or-treating, and a creepy haunted trail set in an actual cemetery. Cool.
11. Gettysburg Campground, Pennsylvania
This campground literally has it all: costume contests for kids and adults alike, trick-or-treating, crafts, a pumpkin-carving contest, campsite decorating, haunted hayrides, a haunted house, and a Halloween dance. Fwew. They are definitely covering all their bases with fun for the whole family.
12. Land-O-Pines Family Campground, Louisiana
This is another location that offers activities for all ages. For the younger kids: a coloring contest, candy hunt, bingo, costume contests, and hayrides. For the older kids: a zombie-themed weekend that includes such creepy activities as “Find the Hidden Body Parts” (what?!), a zombie obstacle course, a zombie vs humans game, a pumpkin race, and a campsite-haunted-house-building contest. They go hard in Louisiana.
13. Jellystone Park
Jellystone is a chain of campgrounds that has several locations, including some in Alabama, Lodi (California), Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, and many more. Depending on the location, there are tons of Halloween events going on. Check their website to discover Halloween activities at a location near you.