Goblins and ghosts and ghouls, oh my! Bombarded by so many Halloween products and ads starting as early as September, you may begin to dread the holiday before October even arrives. But, as every Virginian knows, there’s more to Halloween than just trick-or-treat, and the state is bursting with not-so-typical Halloween events.
So have no fear, Virginia’s full slate of off-the-beaten-track Halloween activities is sure to rekindle that spooky holiday spirit. Strap on your costumes and get that face paint ready; you’re about to embark on Virginia’s Halloween Highway.
Our first stop is Lexington. Lexington’s Haunting Tales tour allows visitors to enjoy local ghost tales and a candlelit trek. Follow the footsteps of Generals Lee and Jackson as you traipse through dark downtown, ominous alleyways, and the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. Tours will begin outside of the Lexington Visitor Center and start at 8:30 p.m. The tour is also wheelchair accessible. (540) 464-2250, LexingtonVirginia.com
Have you ever thought those elaborate pumpkin carvings kits from Wal-Mart just don’t cut it? Floyd County is offering topnotch pumpkin carving with an expert. Rio Simone will teach students how to carve patterns into the skin of their own Halloween pumpkin. The Relief Pumpkin Carving class will take place on October 22nd from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts. Children under 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and students under 18 must sign a waiver. (540) 745-2784, JacksonvilleCenter.org
Drop the kids off at Grandma’s because Winchester’s Brew and Boo is no place for small souls. This adult only event will feature live music, a costume contest, and a group performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller Dance. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as food will be available for purchase. Admission is free. October 15th from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Loudon Street Mall. (877) 871-1326, WinchesterVa.Gov/Parks
Aw shucks, not another corn maze! But the Sinkland Farms Corn Maze in Christiansburg is unlike any you’ve seen before. The Corn Maze “After Dark” will have your eyes popping and the goblins that roam the aisles may make you feel a bit flaky. The Corn Maze “After Dark” is only offered on Friday-Sunday nights. (540) 382-4640, SinklandFarms.com
Our next stop is Haunted Hollow in Warrenton. Visitors can take a walk around an old abandoned farm and even venture into the deserted barns. Guests are encouraged to wear running shoes because you never know who or what could be lurking around that next corner. A zombie or werewolf perhaps? This event will be available during the month of October. The first three weekends it will be open on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 6:30 p.m. The last two weekends, it will be open Thursday-Saturday night and Halloween. (540) 522-9183, HauntedHollowVa.com
Ever get that feeling that you’re being watched? Discover the event that is the Creepy Hollow Hayride located in Richmond. Dr. Ulysses Farrington has been busy working in his laboratory, taking apart patients… while they are still alive. Experience the spirits of those who could not escape the doctor’s clutches as well as a bonfire and a Spinning Vortex Tunnel. Those seeking a more intense thrill can venture into Scream Forest, a spooky walking tour. (804) 346-FEAR, CreepyHollowHayride.com
Scaredy-cat? The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk is offering a kid friendly Halloween event. The entire family is welcome to indulge in the ZooBoo on October 29th. Complete with a haunted hayride, a train of terror, scary candy stations, and a Monster Mash Last Dance Hall, this event is sure to be enjoyed by whole family. (757) 441-2374, VirginiaZoo.org
Obsessed with The Little Mermaid, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Monsters Inc.? Well, climb aboard the Spirit of Norfolk for a Pirates, Mermaids, and Monsters Halloween Cruise! This October 30th, guests will set sail into the Norfolk waters. The cruise offers a kid-friendly lunch menu and great views of the waterfront, as well as a pirate, mermaid, or monster costume parade. So slip on your tails, tentacles or tri-cornered hats and hop on board! (866) 304-2469, SpiritOfNorfolk.com
Looking for a spine-tingling event? The Arthritis Foundation of Virginia is hosting a Halloween Bone Bash on October 29th at the Main Street Arena in Charlottesville. The event will feature costume contests, cocktails, a silent auction as well as a live band to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. CharlottesvilleBoneBash.Kintera.org
Finally! The actual day has arrived! The final stop on our Halloween Highway offers a safe environment for the kids. The Children’s Museum of Richmond will host their annual Halloween Hoopla from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 31st. The museum has its own haunted village where kids can trick-or-treat and pumpkin painting and games will be available throughout the night. Tickets must be purchased in advance. (804) 474-7000, C-MOR.org