What To Do: Dia de Los Muertos, Halloween celebrations across the region

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

November 1 is a special day in Mexico and in Mexican American communities throughout the states. It is the day known as “Dia de Los Muertos” — the Day of the Dead. It is a festive day when families remember and honor their loved ones who have passed away.

In Mexico, every ranch, town and city have special ways to commemorate this day. Casa Guanajuto’s event is called “Dia de Los Muertos.” Special attractions include colorful sawdust carpets, sugar skulls, cempasuchil flowers, chopped paper and other pre-Hispanic traditions.

Kennett Square will be celebrating the holiday this week with a special event.

Casa Guanajuato (645 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, http://www.casagks.org) and The Creamery present “Day of the Dead featuring the exhibition ‘Michoacán and The Legend of The Monarch Butterfly.’”

As a tribute to the local Hispanic culture and to share with Latinx brothers and sisters in celebration of their ancestral heritage, The Creamery of Kennett Square is celebrating the Day of the Dead including an art exhibition, offerings exhibitions, typical costumes reveal and more.

There will also be a special exhibition of the theme made for the event by Kennett High School students.

If you plan to stay at the Creamery after display we recommend making reservations at www.kennettcreamery.com to secure a spot.

The display will be totally free. It will be held October 30 and 31 from 3-8 p.m., November 1 from 1-6 p.m., November 6 from 3-8 p.m. and November 8 from 1-6 p.m.

For more information about the festivities and workshops call Casa Guanajuato on 610-335-6327 (or text).

The sponsors ask that all people keep social distance and wear a facemask during the event.

In addition to the Day of the Dead Exhibit, The Creamery and Guanajuato House will be offering workshops on the theme of Day of the Dead on October 31 and November 7, 1:30-2:30 before the exhibition.

The cost for each workshop will be $ 25 per person persona a $ 2 charge for the transaction, which includes workshop materials, a rich tamale and an alcoholic beverage for people aged 21 + years.

Delaware Art Museum

The Delaware Art Museum (2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware, www.delart.org) is presenting “Dia de los Muertos: Ceremony and Labyrinth Walk” on October 31 from 1-4 p.m.

Guests will be able to honor ancestors and lives lost due to COVID-19 with a ceremony, labyrinth walk, and ofrendas. An ofrenda is a home altar with a collection of objects placed on a ritual display during the annual and traditionally Mexican Día de Muertos celebration.

Hosted by India Colon, this peaceful and celebratory afternoon includes performances by “Campantlanezi” Danza Azteca del Anahuac, Grupo Xtasys, and Seylin Abarca. Visitors can bring pictures of loved ones to leave at altars.

Food is available for purchase from Los Taquitos de Puebla.

The event, which will take place in the Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth, is free and open to the public.

The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup

The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup (Pennsylvania Hunt Cup racecourse, Newark Road, Unionville, 484-888-6619, http://pahuntcup.org) is one of the oldest and most respected equestrian events in the Mid-Atlantic region. This year, the Hunt Cup will celebrate its 86th anniversary on November 2.

The equestrian competition will feature four open races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. Three of them will feature races over fences and one will be a race on the flat.

The challenging course features 22 post and rail fences and is one of just three four-mile races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. First run in 1921 over a course in Whitemarsh in Montgomery County, the race moved to the present location in Unionville PA in 1964, where it has been held annually since. Over the years the race meeting has grown so that the race day card now includes three sanctioned timber races, and the Pennsylvania Pony Hunt Cup for children.

This year, you can watch the races – but not in person. On the event’s website, the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Committee posted this message:

Dear Friends,
Thanks to the unwavering support of our loyal friends and sponsors, we are able to hold the 86th running of the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Races on Sunday, November 1, 2020. However, the current PA Department of Health guidelines limit attendance at outdoor events to 250 people, which means we cannot allow spectators on the grounds.

You will be able to follow the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Races via live stream from the comfort of your home, first race starts at 1:00 pm.

In a normal year, we donate the proceeds of all ticket and subscription sales to the Chester County Food Bank and this year more than ever they need our support.

“During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Chester County Food Bank is seeing an increase in need of over 60%, the Food Bank has mobilized its network of vendors to maintain an average inventory of 500,000 lbs. of food to meet the need of the residents effected by the pandemic”, says Larry Welsch, Executive Director, Chester County Food Bank.

The live stream is free, but we hope, in lieu of purchasing your regular subscription you can make a donation. Partner with us in the race against hunger in Chester County.

Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Committee.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) celebrates autumn with bursts of color.

Visitors can enjoy Longwood’s painted landscape and breathtaking vistas, feel like a kid again at the Garden Railway, and marvel at the Main Fountain Garden performances running through November 1.

The main attraction at Longwood gardens right now is the Chrysanthemum Festival which is running through November 15.

Longwood’s grand Conservatory showcases a vibrant display of chrysanthemums and other autumnal plants, while outdoors, guests can roam nearly 400 acres of gardens, meadows, and woodlands in spectacular fall form.

Display highlights include the Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum, a single chrysanthemum plant grown to produce as many perfect blooms as possible. Measuring 12 feet wide and nearly 10 feet tall, the amazing plant is grown for 18 months to reach its incredible size and bloom count of more than 1,500 perfect, uniform blooms.

In addition, Longwood’s horticulturists have grown and carefully nurtured chrysanthemums into unique three-dimensional forms, including shields, fans, cloud forms, and other shapes. Outdoors, nature puts on a show as brilliant fall foliage colors the landscape.

Young guests can explore Longwood’s three treehouses and watch the whimsical G-scale Garden Railway as it travels past miniature Longwood landmarks.

The Gardens are open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 10 a,n.-6 p.m. with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through October 31 for the Illuminated Fountain Performances at 8:15 pm. Tickets and member reservations should be made in advance online at longwoodgardens.org.

Chrysanthemums were first grown and displayed in the Gardens when founder Pierre S. du Pont opened the Conservatory in 1921. Today, Longwood has one of the finest collections of chrysanthemums in the United States.

Complex by nature, chrysanthemums are divided into 13 classifications, each representing a distinct flower form. Longwood’s collection spans all classes and includes 226 cultivars, including many rare and unusual varieties. Chrysanthemum Festival is one of the largest chrysanthemum shows in the United States.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and college students and $13 for youth (ages 5-18).

Here’s an interesting fact — Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation.

The West Chester Railroad (Market Street Station, West Chester, 610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) is running its special “Fall Foliage Express” trains on November1 and 8. Trains depart at noon and 2 p.m.

The round-trip train ride travels to the village of Glen Mills and back and lasts for 90 minutes. During the brief layover in Glen Mills, riders can explore the historic Pennsylvania Railroad station and have a snack in the railroad’s picnic grove along the Chester Creek.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for children ages 2-12 and free for kids under two.

The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 West Bridge St, New Hope, 215- 862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.comoffers a two-and-one-half hour, 35-mile roundtrip ride on its “Fall Foliage Trains” now through November 1. Every weekend, the rail line in Bucks County will operate regularly scheduled round trip trains out of New Hope Station and SEPTA’s Warminster station.

It’s “All Aboard” for a day of history, leaf-peeping, and excitement. Guests can take a peaceful ride on the rail line’s beautifully restored railroad cars through the woods and hills of historic Bucks County. This 14-mile round-trip excursion offers riders a unique way to experience nature’s burst of colors. Riders also frequently spot deer, foxes and wild turkeys among the colorful autumn landscapes.

Ticket prices start at $45.99.

The Colebrookdale Railroad (South Washington Street, Boyertown, www.dynamicticketsolutions.com)  is running its “Autumn Splendor Fall Foliage Specials” on Saturdays and Sundays through November 8.

The rail line’s 1920s Deluxe Coach, Dining Car, First Class Parlor Car, and Open Car -The Secret Valley Explorer- provide the perfect hayride on the rails. Two-hour round trip departing and arriving in Boyertown.

Spectacular autumn colors and the rich fragrances of fall in the Secret Valley delight the senses while locally produced autumn snacks and ciders are available on board.

Tickets are $55 for adults, $45 for children, seniors $52 and $15 for toddlers (under 2).

The Wilmington & Western Railroad

The Wilmington & Western Railroad (2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, DE, 302-998-1930, www.wwrr.com) is running its “Autumn Leaf Special” with trains on November 1, 7 and 8.

Trips are a one-and-one-half hour roundtrips to the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove. Tickets are $17 for adults, $16 for seniors, $15 for children ages 2-12.

The W&WRR also is running its “Halloween Express” on October 31. Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, $13 for children ages 2-12 and free for kids under two. All passengers in costume (both adults and children) ride for just $10 on this 1½-hour round-trip to the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove.

The rail line is also running its “Hayride Express” on October 30 November 6 at 7 and 8:30 p.m. each night. Visitors can experience a one-hour evening ride through the Red Clay Valley on an original railroad flatcar converted especially for hayrides.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, $13 for children ages 2-12.

Allentown & Auburn Railroad (232 Railroad Street, Kutztown, https://www.allentownandauburnrailroad.com/) is running its “Full Moon Express” on October 30 at 7:30 p.m.

This excursion provides visitors the opportunity to take a train ride by the light of the full moon.

Tickets are $12.

Reading Blue Mountain Railroad (3501 Pottsville Pike, Reading, www.rbmnrr-passenger.com) is running its F-Unit Fall Foliage Excursions on October 31 and November 14.

Passengers can take a train ride powered by the newly purchased F-units 270 and 275. This relaxing trip departs Reading Outer Station to Jim Thorpe, with intermediate stops at Port Clinton Station and Tamaqua Station.

Riders will be able to gaze out the window at the scenic mountains and valleys in their choice of standard coach seating, first-class dome seating, or Pullman seating and also enjoy downtown Jim Thorpe for 3.5 hours before the return trip home.

Tickets are $69 from Reading and Port Clinton and $49 from Tamaqua.

The WK&S Railroad (42 Community Center Drive, Kempton, www.kemptontrain.com) will run its “Bow Wow Express” on November 1.

Visitors can take a special 40-minute ride with their furry friends.

The rail line will have a photographer on-site taking photos and staff from Hillside SPCA will also be on hand.

Those who bring their furry friends will also receive a coupon for a $.50 hot dog and all dogs will receive a complimentary biscuit. Hillside SPCA is always grateful for your donations…cash or actual products may be given to them at this event. All dogs must be on a leash.
Trains depart at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m.

Ticket prices are: Adults, $12; Children (3-11), $6; Children (2 and Under), free; “4-Legged Kids”, $2.

A popular area autumn event is “Hayrides at Hagley” at Hagley Museum and Library (Buck Road East entrance via Route 100, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org).

This year, the hayrides will take place on October 31 from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Participants will be able to take a hayride along the Brandywine to experience the beautiful fall foliage in the Powder Yard.

Reservations must be made upon arrival. Advance reservations are not accepted for this event.

Please allow one person in your party to reserve a hayride inside the Hagley Store. Please enter through the entrance on the left-hand side.

Maximum party size is 10 people.

Fee for reserving a wagon is $5 for Hagley members and $10 for non-members (flat fee, not per number of riders). This is in addition to regular admission for non-members.

Additionally, the historic site will host “Halloween at Hagley” on October 31 from noon-4 p.m.

Children are invited to come in costume to visit treat stations throughout the property. Hagley’s Halloween helpers will pass out candy and other goodies through a treat tube to maintain social distancing.

Admission to Hagley is $15 for adults, $11 for seniors (age 62 and up), and $6 for children (ages 6-14).

Kalmar Nyckel Downrigging Day

Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard (1124 East Seventh Street, Wilmington, Delaware, www.kalmarnyckel.org) is hosting a “Kalmar Nyckel Downrigging Day” on October 31 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Visitors can observe the ship’s annual end-of-the-year ritual and learn from the Captains and crew as they remove pieces of the rigging. Another activity will be a free scavenger hunt.

Kalmar Nyckel is a beautiful recreation of the original Kalmar Nyckel, which was built in Holland in the 1620s. Her mainmast is taller than a 10-story building and she carries 7,600 square feet of sail area and six miles of rigging.

The original Kalmar Nyckel was a Swedish-owned, three-masted armed pinnace that sailed from Goteborg, Sweden in November of 1637 and brought the first permanent European settlers to the Delaware Valley.

If you’re hungry or thirsty, you can enjoy Iron Hill Brewery outdoor Beer Garden, special chowder, and meals (with 20 per cent of food proceeds donated to the ship).

The Kalmar Nyckel crew regrets that they cannot allow visitors to board the ship because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Rain date for the event is November 1.

A popular event in Delaware this weekend is “Steamin’ Days” at Auburn Heights Preserve (3000 Creek Road, Yorklyn, Delaware, 302-239-2385, http://auburnheights.org) on October 4.

“Steamin’ Days,” which is held on the first Sunday of the month through November, focuses on steam power.

During “Steamin’ Days at Auburn Heights,” the site is bustling with activity. Visitors are encouraged to climb into an antique automobile or board one of the trains and experience what it was like to travel at the turn of the 20th century. They can also tour the magnificent 1897 mansion that was home to three generations of the Marshall family.

Also included is entry to the Marshall Steam Museum, which features the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley steam cars along with a 1930s working Lionel electric train display, a hands-on engine display, kids’ activities and exhibits and the Museum Gift Shop. Self-guided experiences will be available along a designated route to ensure one-way paths and proper spacing.

Delaware State Parks owns and operates the Marshall Mansion at Auburn Heights and is responsible for decisions related to tours of the historic property. Tours will be offered, but visitors should be aware that tour groups will be limited to 10-12 people and may include individuals outside their household.

Activities run from 12:30-4:30 p.m. each time. Combo Tickets, which cover all rides and building tours, are $19 (13 and older) and $12 (age 12 and under).

The Historic Odessa Foundation (www.historicodessa.org) is presenting the photography exhibit, “A Wealth of Nature: Photographs by Jane Mruk,” now through November 1 in the Foundation’s Visitors Center gallery (201 Main Street, Odessa).

The exhibit will include approximately 40 of her photographs. Ranging in size and subject matter, the photographs will focus on local scenes of the historic town of Odessa, where she has resided for the past 15 years. Also featured will be nature studies of Delaware’s flora and fauna.

The Odessa gallery will concentrate on 18th- and 19th-century furniture, paintings and associated accessories, with an emphasis on Delaware material.

The Historic Houses of Odessa were operated by Winterthur from 1958-2003. The Historic Odessa Foundation opened to the public in December of 2005.

Today, Odessa is a National Registered Historic District and is also home to a National Historic Landmark and two National Parks Service Network to Freedom Sites. The Historic Odessa Foundation is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the past through tours, focuses on exhibitions, and living-history programs for children and adults.

If you love beer, you should check out the “Biergarten” at Cannstatter Volksfest Verein (5130 Academy Road, Philadelphia, www.cannstatter.org).

The German traditional event, which has been open every Friday since late summer, is concluding its 2010 run on October 31.

Tasty German food and drink will be available for purchase and live German music will be featured each night. Weather permitting, this is an outside event. Pets and outside food and drinks are prohibited and there is no cover charge.

There will be live entertainment from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in Cannstatter’s picnic grove featuring some of the best local bands and musicians.

Food and drink offerings are “The Famous CVV Wings – Hot, Mild and Naked,” Chicken Tenders, Hamburger/Cheeseburger/Veggie-burger, Bratwurst, Hot Sausage, Mozzarella Sticks, Onion Rings, French Fries, Cheese Fries, German Pretzels and other weekly specials.

There will be a large selection of German and domestic beers on tap as well as mixed drinks, wine and bottled beer.

The live music act for the final night will be Black Ops on October 31.

Peddler’s Village usually hosts its ultra-popular Apple Festival (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, 215-794-4000, www.peddlersvillage.com) each year beginning at the start of November.

This year will be a bit different.

According to the venue’s website:

Instead of our annual Apple Festival weekend, this year we will be presenting a two-week AppleTime in the Village featuring apple-themed food and beverages every day in Peddler’s Village restaurants, and an outdoor food tent and live entertainment on weekends.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of autumn.

As always, admission and parking are free. Safety measures are in place to protect guests and employees.

During the weekends of November 7-8 and November 14-15, look for the outdoor Village General Store selling apple cider and fresh apples (from nearby Solebury Orchards), apple butter, apple salsa, apple hot sauce, caramel apple dip, and hot apple cider (by the cup).

The schedule for live entertainment features Acoustic Road, The Cheddar Boys and Galena Brass on November 7; Acoustic Road, Big Chill and Galena Brass on November 8; and The Cheddar Boys and Galena Brass on November 14 and 15.

Visitors to Delaware Avenue in the Penn’s Landing area will be able to light up the night at Spruce Street Harbor Park with “Bright Lights, Our City,” a brand-new light installation programmed on the iconic lights at the park.

Created by FKB Studio, the fun experience allows visitors to create their own light display by placing their hands on the Univest logos on a specially designed, branded kiosk. For the safety of our guests, a hand sanitizing station will be close by for visitors to use afterward.

As individuals interact with the kiosk, light patterns and color palettes will change, creating a living tapestry throughout the Park. The installation will be available nightly, and visitors will be able to enjoy it throughout the summer and fall.

Visitors will be required to wear masks unless they are eating or drinking. Food and beverage lines will be limited to 10 persons at a time. Bathrooms are open to the public and sanitized hourly.

Sanitizing stations will be available throughout the park. There will be no hammocks. Special signage and ground graphics will be posted to help visitors practice physical distancing.

If you’re looking for a Halloween event, this is the last weekend to find one – almost. There are a few that ooze over to the first full weekend in November, but most are ending on October 31 (or have already wrapped up for the season).

The Great Pumpkin Carve

One of the most popular Halloween events in the area is “The Great Pumpkin Carve” (Chadds Ford Historical Society, Route 100, Chadds Ford, 610-388-7376, www.chaddsfordhistory.org). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers initially decided to change it from a “walk around” event to a “drive through” event. Now, there has been more alterations.

The following message is posted on the Chadds Ford Historical Society’s website:

After much feedback from the community, staff and Board, it has been decided to change the decision of a “Drive Thru” to a “Virtual Pumpkin Carve,” This will now allow for anyone to participate in this wonderful event.

Those that are local or distant, that may have been nervous to carve in front of a crowd or would like to work in the comfort of their home, can all participate in groups of any size.

The 2020 “Virtual Pumpkin Carve,” which is running through October 31, event is free.

The 29th annual edition of “Haunted Hayride, Bates Motel and Haunted Corn Maze at Arasapha Farm” (1835 N. Middletown Rd., Gradyville, 610-459-0647, www.thebatesmotel.com) will be scaring visitors through October 31.

The haunted hayride through the woods features monsters, special effects and actors. The Bates Motel has haunted rooms with special effects and computerized lighting.

Due to the current environment, The Bates Motel has changed its half-mile haunted hayride to an all new walk through attraction. There are new props and sets and amazing lighting effects.

Visitors are reminded to wear appropriate clothes and shoes. Our friendly ghouls will guide you and your group through the trail that last year earned the vote of America’s Most Entertaining Haunted Attraction by America Haunts and CNN Travel.

Arasapha Farm is also presenting the “Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Corn Trail.” It is a terrifying walk through a tall corn field and filled with walk thru buildings and sets, tons of animatronic monsters and over 30 actors in full makeup and custom costumes. High tech animations and digital sound effect make this not for the faint of heart.

Tickets are $40 for an adult combo, $35 for a child combo and $75 for a VIP Pass.

The Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, http://www.chaddsford.com) annually hosts its “Harvest Festival” at this time of year and then follows with “Adult Trick or Treat” throughout October.

This year is different — thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Winery’s message for this autumn is —

“We might not be able to host large events this year, but that’s not stopping us from getting in the Halloween spirit. We’re offering a new take on our fan-favorite program with Adult Trick or Treat Wine Kits!

During this nightmarish 2020, you can still keep the tradition alive with Chaddsford wine and your own customized experience.

Snag an Adult Trick or Treat Wine Kit at the link below and then pick it up Curbside at the Winery or Peddler’s Village Tasting Room.

The Wine Kit includes three of the winery’s best-selling fall wines (Spiced AppleTraminette, and Harbinger), a Halloween Pairing Guide, a West Chester-based Scavenger Hunt and the keepsake Halloween wine glass.

Featured pairing at Carlino’s Specialty Foods — Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie or Apple, Pear, Cranberry Crumb Pie with Spiced Apple.

Featured pairing at Éclat Chocolate — Passion Fruit Chocolate or Pear Caramel Chocolate with ’18 Traminette.

Featured pairing at Gemelli Gelato — Dark Chocolate Gelato with ’17 Harbinger

Wine Kits must be ordered in advance online and be picked up curbside. Wine Kits may not be consumed onsite.

The Delaware Museum of Natural History (4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, www.delmnh.org) is presenting “Halloween at DMNH” on October 31.

Those who can’t wait until night time to trick or treat can go to the Delaware Museum of Natural in their Halloween costumes for trick or treat stations, pumpkin science, and some up-close encounters with creepy crawlers.

There will be four separate sessions — 10-11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1:30-2:30 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.

Activities include:

Meet birds from Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections.

Robots from MOE 365 FIRST Robotics Team, including one to safely distribute Halloween treats with social distancing in mind.

Delaware Children’s Museum will bring an activity to the 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. sessions.

Appearances by Delaware’s 501st Legion – First State Garrison.

Admission is $12 (ages 3 and up) and $6 (ages 1 and 2).

On October 30, Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia (19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, http://muttermuseum.org/) will host its “Sixth Annual Annual Mischief at the Mütter.”

This is an event that allows guests to enjoy drinks from an open bar and view the museum’s scientific and frequently grotesque collections – including a variety of body parts.

Visitors can enjoy the Halloween beer garden which includes full access to the Mütter Museum.

Wearing of costumes is encouraged. This event is “21+ only.”

Celebrate a “Revolutionary Halloweekend” at the Museum of the American Revolution (101 South Third Street, Philadelphia, www.amrevmuseum.org) during Halloween Weekend from October 30-November 1.

Visitors will hear spooky stories from the Revolutionary War and learn how early Americans carved turnips—not pumpkins— to ward away evil spirits. Kids (12 and under) who come in costume will get $3 off admission (at the front desk, not available online).

Participants can pick up custom pumpkin-carving templates inspired by art and artifacts in the Museum’s collection in a special Halloween-themed take-and-make bag to create their own jack-o-lantern at home.

On Saturday from 1-3 p.m., Manager of Gallery Interpretation Tyler Putman will carve turnips in the Museum’s rotunda and discusses 18th-century folk customs that might remind you of today’s Halloween traditions. On Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., Noon, and 1 p.m., visitors can hear a kid-friendly version of one of the best-known spooky stories, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, and learn about its Revolutionary ties.

Admission prices are $21 for adults, $18 for seniors, students and active military, and $13 for children (ages 6-17).

East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (www.visiteastpassyunk.com) presents a double dose of spooktacular fun with free activities for the kids, adults and even dogs. The Ninth Annual East Passyunk “Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday” will be held on October 31.

The free family event will feature a child and dog costume contest, live music, pumpkin painting, free treat bags for the first 400 children, street food and seasonal cocktails, maker and craft fair around the Singing Fountain, trick or treating along East Passyunk and a DJ and dance party.

Most activities will be held at the Singing Fountain (East Passyunk and Tasker), with select activities to be held at Mifflin Triangle (East Passyunk and Mifflin) and a scarecrow scavenger hunt all along the Avenue.

The lead-up activities such as book readings, movie screenings, special sales and a socially distanced scavenger hunt will take place from October 24-31.

Shocktoberfest (94 Park Avenue, Sinking Spring, 610-375-7273, shocktoberfest.com) features an array of natural and genetically engineered Zombies in a safe and controlled habitat.

“Schockfest Zombie World” is celebrating its 29th Year with eight “Killer Experiences” — “Zombie Safari Tour,” “Prison of the Dead,” “The Unknown 2.0,” “Ground Assault” and “Midnight Massacre.”

The attraction will close on November 9. Ticket prices start at $20.

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire (Mount Hope Estate and Winery grounds, Route 72, Cornwall, 717-665-7021, www.parenfaire.com) has taken COVID-19 precautions and is in full swing.

The Faire features themed weekends and this weekend’s theme is “Halloween Days & Spooky Knights III.” It will be presented on October 31 and November 1.

Mystery and mayhem rule as spooky creatures of every variety haunt the Shire. Visitors can join the good Shirefolk of Mount Hope for a grand All Hallows Eve celebration, complete with tricks and treats for children of all ages.

Featured events for “Halloween Days & Spooky Knights III” are “Nipperkins Costume Exhibition,” “Adult Costume Competition,” “Kids Treasure Hunt,” and “Trick-or-Treating in the Shire.”

This year’s 40th annual staging of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, an attraction that bills itself as “the most wondrous event in all the Knowne World”, is running now through November 1.

Every summer, the Faire, which takes place at Mount Hope Estate and Winery’s authentic 35-acre recreation of a 16th-century village in Olde England, features a new story from a different year of England’s past.

Unquestionably, the most popular attraction is the Jousting Arena. Visitors to the Faire flock to Bosworth Field whenever it’s time for the Ultimate Joust. Peasants lead cheers for their favorite knights while musicians pound out a heart-thumping beat. The Master of the List announces the combatants and soon an encounter of royal proportions ensues.

The Faire offers a wide variety of activities for visitors, including listening to bagpipe music, checking out handsome Lords in their colorful silks, watching a jester’s acrobatics, learning how to juggle, being the recipient of a gypsy woman’s flirtations and watching the march of Beefeater Guards.

Guildsmen’s Way is the area that features a large variety of merchants and artisans, including jewelers, candle makers, potters, herbalists, leather smiths, clothiers, and pewter makers — all offering for sale and demonstrating their ancient wares.

Tickets are $29.95 for General Admission, $15.95 for children (ages 5-11) and free for children (ages 4 and under).

On October 31, Kitchen Kettle Village (3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, www.kitchenkettle.com) will host “Yummie’s Halloween Boo Bash” beginning at 10 a.m.

Visitors can safely enjoy a meal, some colorful characters, including Village mascot Yummie, a costume contest, special treats and more.

This family friendly event includes:

Meal vouchers for use at the Harvest Cafe between 11a.m.-5 p.m. for lunch.

Spooky Bakery Box filled with sweet & scary surprises from the Bake Shop.

Costume Contest with cash prizes at the stage area for all children beginning at 11 a.m.

Contactless photo opportunities with Yummie & Friends near Girls Day Out from 11 a.m.-noon.

Special treat bag filled with a “treasure map” featuring locations in the Village for exclusive surprises and treats.

All children under 18 years old attending the event will receive a treat bag and may participate in the Costume Contest.

Ticket prices are Children: $9.95 (ages 3-10); Adults, $14.95; and Toddlers (2 and under), free.

The Franklin Institute (222 North 29th Street, Philadelphia, www.fi.edu) is presenting its first-ever Franklin Fright Weekend featuring trick-or-treating through the exhibits, creepy guests from The Insectarium, spooky science experiments, liquid scare shows and other frightfully-fun festivities.

Franklin Fright features:
• Indoor trick-or-treating through iconic exhibits with surprises behind each of the festive doors.
• Creepy crawlers visiting from The Insectarium.
• Spooky eye and heart dissections at the Heart Bar.
• Live Liquid “Scare” Shows featuring ghostly smoke-filled bubbles created with liquid nitrogen.
• Take-home activity! Mini 3D printed pumpkins to decorate with LED lights (kit provided).
• A festive, Halloween-inspired atmosphere with pumpkins and hay bales outdoors in Science Park, while spooky music and costumed staff greet guests and engage in activities indoors in a socially distanced and trusted environment.

Admission is $23 for adults and $19 for children. Wearing costumes is encouraged.

The Philadelphia Zoo (3400 Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, www.philadelphiazoo.org) is presenting its annual “Boo at the Zoo” from October 30-November 1.

Families are invited to enjoy a socially distanced Halloween celebration that features fall plants and foliage, spooky kid-friendly decorations, a COVID-friendly Halloween parade, not-scary extinction graveyard, photo opportunities, and special treats.

Visitors can come dressed in their favorite costumes and enjoy a not-so-spooky safari at “America’s First Zoo.” Instead of trick or treating around the Zoo, kids will receive treat bags given away courtesy of Mars.

The annual not-so-scary extinction graveyard will showcase extinct animals along with animals the Zoo is trying to save from extinction. Fall food and drink special offerings will include hot apple cider, sweets and treats, and more to be announced soon.

All health and safety precautions are in place for Boo at the Zoo – including the wearing of COVID 19-safe face masks and practicing social distancing.

Please note that while costumes are welcome for children, COVID 19 masks must be worn on all children and adults age 2+ and older. Halloween costumes with toy guns and weapons are prohibited.
“Boo at the Zoo” is included with the price of admission. Zoo admission is $24 for adults (ages 12 and up), $19 for children (2 to 11), and free for children under two.

“Boo at the Zoo” (Brandywine Zoo, 1001 N. Park Drive, Wilmington, 302-571-7747, www.brandywinezoo.org) will be held on October 31.

The popular annual non-scary family event features games, animal enrichment programs, live critters and trick-or-treating. Children (and their grown-ups) are encouraged to wear costumes. Tickets are $5.

Celebrate Halloween Brandywine Zoo-style with this merry, not scary, event. Come see all the zoo’s spooky decorations, enjoy socially distanced activities, and meet some of the zoo’s favorite animals. Kids (and grown-ups, too) are encouraged to come in costume!

Pre-register to receive a pre-packaged treat bag for all your little trick-or-treaters. This event is free with Zoo admission, but early registration is strongly recommended, as tickets are extremely limited due to Covid-19 restrictions. Pre-packaged treat bags will be given to all registered children as they leave the zoo.

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3+). This event is rain or shine.  No refunds will be given.

This weekend, Elmwood Park Zoo ( www.elmwoodparkzoo.org) is hosting its annual “Boo at the Zoo.” The event will be held October 31 and November 1.

Visitors are invited to bring the little ones for a fun-filled afternoon for princesses, ghosts and superheroes of all ages. They are reminded to bring trick-or-treat bags, as treat and activity stations will be located throughout the zoo.

Visitors are also encouraged to come dressed in creative costumes and enter the zoo’s costume contest and parade. Adults are also encouraged to dress up. This event is free to attend with zoo admission

Hours are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Zoo admission is $12.95.

Eastern State Penitentiary (2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, www.easternstate.org) is always a spooky place to visit. Now, it has become even spookier with its new “Night Tour.”

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers.

Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners.

At night, the cellblocks fall into darkness and the penitentiary takes on a different energy — its imposing architecture emphasized by dramatic lighting that makes its quiet stillness even more striking.

Many of the programs available during the day are also offered at night, including “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour, award-winning exhibits, and artist installations.

Additionally, some new activities will be available exclusively for the “Night Tour,” including two large-scale video projections on the interior of the penitentiary’s 30-foot-high perimeter walls.

A silent film shot at Eastern State Penitentiary in 1929, with flickering images of prisoners in the mess halls and officers patrolling the corridors, will play in the Cellblock 3 courtyard. In the Cellblock 7 courtyard, 20 animated short films that were created by incarcerated artists for Eastern State’s 2019 project Hidden Lives Illuminated will also be on view.

The lighting design for Night Tours will highlight the prison’s iconic, gothic architecture. Searchlights will sweep from the guard towers over the cellblocks and yards, just as they did when Eastern State was an active correctional facility.

At the moment, all tours are self-guided. Visitors can pick up an audio guide and disposable earbuds on their way into the penitentiary. Once they have their audio guides, they will follow a linear, one-way path through the site to help ensure physical distancing.

Tickets are $19 for Wednesday and Thursday nights, $26 for Fridays and Sundays and $32 for Saturdays.

At Fort Mifflin (Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia, 215-685-4167, www.fortmifflin.us), “Candlelight Ghost Tours” (Fort Mifflin, Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia, 215-685-4167, http://fortmifflin.us) are scheduled for October 31.

Visitors can tour historic (and haunted) Fort Mifflin by candlelight from 7-10 p.m. each night (6:30-8:30 on October 31) and hear true stories of ghostly encounters. This event is billed as an “authentic experience.”

Fort Mifflin, which was originally called Fort Island Battery, was commissioned in 1771. It was also known as Mud Island Fort because it sits on Mud Island (also known as Deep Water Island) on the Delaware River near the Philadelphia International Airport. During the American Revolutionary War, the British Army bombarded and captured the fort as part of their conquest of Philadelphia in autumn 1777.

During the siege, 400 American soldiers held off more than 2,000 British troops and over 250 ships that had been responsible for launching an endless barrage of cannonballs into the fort. After five days of holding off the British, the American troops evacuated the fort after having successfully denied the British Navy free use of the Delaware River.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children (12 and under).

Pennhurst Asylum (100 Commonwealth Drive, Spring City, 484-866-8964, www.pennhurstasylum.com), which is open through October 31, is on the site of a former mental asylum which has been shuttered for over a quarter of a century.

It has been transformed into a haunted attraction with huge sets, detailed rooms and live actors. Visitors can also explore the labyrinth of underground tunnels.

The site features three haunted attractions – Pennhurst Asylum, the Morgue at Pennhurst and Containment.

Ticket prices start at $39 with a variety of combo packages available.

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia (215-413-1997, www.ghosttour.com), Ghost Tour of Lancaster (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) and Ghost Tour of Strasburg (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) operate through November and offer an eerily entertaining evening of true ghost stories and real haunted houses.

The Ghost Tour of Philadelphia is a candlelight walking tour along the back streets and secret gardens of Independence Park, Society Hill, and Old City, where ghostly spirits, haunted houses, and eerie graveyards abound. Tickets are $24.

Participants in the Ghost Tour of Lancaster explore the long-forgotten mysteries of one of America’s oldest cities, with haunting tales of otherworldly vigils, fatal curses, and star-crossed lovers. The tour provides the opportunity to experience 300 years of haunted history from the Red Rose City’s thorny past. Tickets are $18.

The Ghost Tour of Strasburg is a candlelight walking tour of the quaint and historic town of Strasburg in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Visitors will experience an entertaining evening with a costumed tour guide spinning tales of haunted mansions, eerie graveyards, and spirits that roam the night … in a town lost in time. Tickets are $18.

On October 30, there will be “Spooky Twilight Tours at the Betsy Ross House” (239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, http://historicphiladelphia.org/betsy-ross-house/what-to-see/) from 6-8 p.m.

Visitors can travel back to Philadelphia in the 1700s and learn about the city’s gruesome history of infection and inoculation. They can hear true, macabre tales about bloodletting, smallpox, yellow fever, and other gross experiences.  

Participants in the tours can learn what it was like to live in the ghastly 18th century and discover why Philadelphia was an infectious place to be. Then, they can head into the historic House for a spooky, shadowy tour. 

Admission is $10 in advance or at the gate. 

Morris Arboretum (100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, www.morrisarboretum.org) is now open and in celebration mode for Halloween.

On Saturdays and Sundays now through November 1, Morris Arboretum is hosting its “13th Annual Scarecrow Walk.”

The theme for 2020 is “Fairy Tale ’Crows.”

More than 50 scarecrows will be on display throughout the Garden. Visitors can vote for their favorite scarecrows in the “Fairy Tale ’Crows” theme to determine which “’crows” will be the top five prize winners.

New this year at Morris Arboretum will be the “Lighted Lantern Halloween Walk and Ghostly Gathering.” The “Ghostly Gathering at Morris ArBOOretum” is a nighttime event that is safe, fun, and just a little spooky.

Visitors will be able to experience the Arboretum by night on October 30 and 31 from 5-8 p.m. each night. They are encouraged to come costumed and ready for fun at our first-ever Halloween nighttime event. They will get a trick-or-treat bag to fill as they hear spooky stories, play games, and see the Fairytale Scarecrows all lit up at night.

Light snacks and hot drinks will be available for purchase. Every activity will be appropriately distanced.

“Frightland” (309 Port Penn Road, Middletown, Delaware, 302-838-0256, www.frightland.com) features eight special themed areas — “Zombie Prison,” “Ravenwood Cemetery,” “Zombie Town,” “Horror Hayride,” “Idalia Manor,” “Fear,” “The Attic” and “Haunted Barn.”

Frightland Haunted Attractions has been named a Top 10 Scariest Haunted Attraction in the country by Travel Channel, Forbes and Huffington Post.

The venue includes eight haunted attractions including a two-mile Haunted Hayride, four indoor haunted houses and more. The nationally acclaimed Halloween attraction also features live entertainment, carnival amusements and a daytime fall festival.

The venue will remain open through November 7. Tickets are $35.

The “34th Annual Jason’s Woods” (99 Stehman Road, Lancaster, 717-872-5768, www.jasonswoods.com), which is running through October 31, is a horror show complex that features a combination of live actors, impressive animation and scary special effects.

Popular attractions include “Horrifying Hayride,” “Chamber of Horrors,” “Zombie Apocalypse,” “Lost in Jason’s Woods,” and “Carnival of Fear,” Admission prices are for combo tickets are $25 for three attractions and $40 for five.

The “26th Annual Field of Screams” (109 College Avenue, Mountville, 717-285-7748, www.fieldofscreams.com), which is open now through November 14, features four world-class Haunted Experiences and an impressive Midway Area. Top attractions include “Horrifying Haunted Hayride,” “Den of Darkness,” “Frightmare Asylum” and “Nocturnal Wasteland.”

Ticket prices start at $16.

For “Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place” (100 Sesame Place, Langhorne, 215-752-7070, www.sesameplace.com), the popular amusement park has been converted into a Halloween-themed safe venue for kids with trick or treating, pumpkin decorating, hayrides and a hay maze.

The park has been transformed into a family-friendly Halloween haven and guests will enjoy trick-or-treating around the park, Halloween-themed shows, participating in our interactive Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt, pumpkin decorating, swinging, flying, and cruising on Count von Count-themed mechanical rides, and unique photo opportunities with everyone’s favorite furry friends dressed up in costume on their Halloween-themed floats!

Featured attractions, which will continue until November 1, are The Count’s Guess Who Express,  Sesame Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt, Contactless Trick or Treat Stations, The Castle Swing, The Count’s Cruisers, Who Said Boo?!, Countdown to Halloween, and The Count’s Fly By.

Admission to the park is $30.99.

The “28th Annual Fright By Night” (Six Flags Great Adventure, Route 537, Jackson, NJ, 732-928-2000, www.sixflags.com), which is running now through November 1, features family-oriented activities during the day and much scarier attractions after dark for teens and adults.

The park will operate from 2-10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and from 5 p.m. with varying closing times on Friday evenings.

From 2-6 p.m., families and young thrill-seekers will experience “HALLOWFEST Thrills by Day” including Scarecrow Street, Pumpkin Patch Lane, Hay Bale Maze, Trick-or-Treat Trail, Magic on the Move, and Cornstalk National Park.

“Chills by Night” begins at 6 p.m. and will feature four scare zones, three shows, and three haunted mazes available outdoors in the wide-open midways, plus one indoor haunted maze. Attractions include Scarecrow Street After Dark, District 6 Unearthed, Lady of the Lake Cemetery and Clown Town.

Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116, www.linvilla.com) is hosting Pumpkinland, its annual autumn-themed interactive event.

Pumpkinland is open from mid-September through early November and takes center stage at Linvilla Orchards. Larger than life figures and scarecrows illustrate the legends and lore of the harvest season, featuring local history and some of the many stories of pumpkins and apples.

Visitors will see piles of pumpkins in all colors, shapes and sizes more than 100 tons of pumpkins on display.

There is also a huge selection of straw bales, corn shocks, toys and fall decorations of all kinds.

This year the site’s offerings have changed a bit to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.

Guests will still be able to enjoy hayrides and train rides, test their navigation skills in the straw bale and cornfield mazes, pick their own fall apples, grab some candy and caramel apples, and see the Linvilla jack-o-lantern exhibit.

This year, timed tickets will be required for Linvilla’s Autumn Moon, Harvest and Witch’s Hayrides. Timed tickets allow the staff to safely manage the numbers of visitors throughout the day.

For sanitary reasons, face boards will not be available for photos this fall, and the playground will be closed for the foreseeable future.

One of the best ways to enjoy autumn is by checking out the corn mazes at Ramsey’s Farm (Ramsey Road, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-477-1499, www.ramseysfarm.com).

Corn mazes, along with hayrides, a pumpkin patch and scarecrows, will be featured at Ramsey’s Farm, which is located in northern Delaware on Route 92 just south of the Pennsylvania-Delaware state line. The new season runs on weekends now through October 31.

Ramsey’s “Pumpkin Patch” has been in operation since 1995 and the farm’s varied mazes have been delighting and baffling visitors who return each year for the popular annual event. The owners of Ramsey’s Farm raise pumpkins, gourds, ornamental corn, popcorn, feed corn and hay.

The farm’s pumpkin field stretches over 12 acres and yields approximately 20,000 pumpkins each season. Hayrides around the farm will be offered from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Visitors will be able to shop for pumpkins and other items at the farm store. There will also be hot food and beverages available for purchase.

Tickets are $8 for the corn maze, $5 for the sorghum maze, $3 for the hay maze, $3 for pumpkin painting and $3 for a hayride.

“Hurricane Hill Farm Maze” (Baldwin’s Farm, 704 East Reeceville Road, Coatesville, 610-384-6952, www.hhfmaze.com) will be open Saturdays and Sundays until October 31.

Fall is different at the farm this year.

This season, Hurricane Hill will offer a hayride to the pumpkin patch and other attractions for the children.  To manage the number of guests attending, they will only be offering timed tickets. No tickets will be sold at the farm this year.

Tickets will be offered in time slots of 10 a.m. noon, 2 and 4 p.m. The farm will close at 6 p.m.

Included with your admission ticket ($9.50 per person includes on-line ticketing fees) are the following:

Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch.  Everyone purchasing a ticket will receive a free small pumpkin. You may also walk to the Pumpkin Patch via the Farm Trail if you prefer to not take the hayride. The Corn Maze is not open this year.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm (150 Cherry Hill Road, Ronks, 717-687-6843, www.cherrycrestfarm.com) has opened its popular annual “Flashlight Maze” and will keep it open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night through November 7. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has reserved several weekends during the autumn months for Flashlight Maze.

This special activity allows visitors to experience the Amazing Maize Maze in total darkness. All you need are flashlights and a few friends.

The Flashlight Maze is a nice, non-scary, Halloween alternative that has appeal for people of all ages. The Flashlight Maze, which has a $12 admission fee, is open from 6:30-10 p.m. with the last entrance into the Maze at 9 p.m.

The main attraction is Cherry Crest’s “Amazing Maize Maze,” which is billed as “the world’s most dynamic and interactive corn maze.” It is a five-acre corn maze with over two-and-one-half miles of paths, scenic bridges, and clues.

Participants can walk at their own pace as they encounter the “Kernels of Knowledge” along with a variety of clues, tunnel slides, and watering stations. They can also check out a bird’s eye view from the two bridges and watch everyone’s flags waving high above the corn.

The average time to complete the “Amazing Maize Maze” course is one hour. Ticket prices start at $19.

Other pumpkin patches around the area are Highland Orchards (1000 Marshallton Thorndale Road, West Chester), Olszanowski Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch (315 Pughtown Road, Spring City), Glen Run Valley View Farm (280 Lenover Road, Atglen), Milky Way Farm (521 East Uwchlan Avenue, Chester Springs), Sugartown Strawberries (650 Sugartown Road, Malvern),Yeager’s Farm and Market (1015 Pike Springs Road, Phoenixville), and Barnard’s Orchard (1079 Wawaset Road, Kennett Square).

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