Haunted Happenings in the Arkansas River Valley

Jill M. Rohrbach
Pumpkins, corn mazes, haunted hayrides, and the howls of costume-clad children scampering through the dark collecting candy are the ubiquitous signs of the autumn harvest and Halloween.

A full schedule of spookiness and fall fun awaits, whether you’re looking for a spine-tingling, make-your-flesh-crawl adventure, a place to trick or treat and wear a costume, legends from beyond the grave or more cultural affairs. Check out the calendar of events at https://www.arkansas.com/ for more information on events throughout the state. Here’s what’s happening in the Arkansas River Valley.

Clayton House Haunted History Tours, Fridays through November, Fort Smith. Hear the real ghost stories of the Clayton House, which has numerous reports of apparitions and audio evidence documented by multiple paranormal teams. Listen to the stories, take the tour, and you just might leave with your own paranormal experience. The cost is $10 per person, and participants must be 12 years old or older. There must be a minimum of 3 people for a tour. Reservations are suggested. The historic home is located at 514 N. 6th St. 479-783-3000; www.claytonhouse.org

Slaughter on the Water Haunted Trail Ride, Oct. 14-30, Fort Smith. Get on board for this spooky trail ride featuring goblins and ghosts in a haunted forest near the Arkansas River. Sponsored by the Fort Smith Jaycees, proceeds go to non-funded events like the Mayor’s Christmas Parade in December. Trail is for ages 5 and older. The cost is $5 per person and the event is offered from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursdays and 7:30 p.m. to 12:10 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It takes place near the Moffett, Okla., Stockyards (west of Fort Smith on Oklahoma side of Arkansas River) From U.S. 64, take Moffett Stockyards Exit and look for signs. www.fortsmithjaycees.com

Murder and Mayhem Trolley, Oct. 21-31, Fort Smith. From the Fort Smith Museum of History, catch a ride on the motorized trolley and hear stories that rattle the skeletons in the closets of historic Fort Smith. From a bloody love triangle to a jilted lover to the ghost of a young girl, the stories are based on local myth and legend. Because some of the stories may not be appropriate for young ears, the tour is recommended for ages 13 and older. Learn about the outlaws, bordellos, saloons and ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The trolley runs at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the last two weekends in October and at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Halloween night. 479-783-7841; www.fortsmithmuseum.com

The Haunting of the Fort Smith Museum of History, Oct. 23, Fort Smith. At a noontime program, the River Valley Paranormal Research and Investigations (RVPRI) group presents a discussion on the paranormal activity at the Fort Smith Museum of History. Discussion includes evidence collected from RVPRI’s investigations of the museum. Admission is $15 at the door and includes admission to the museum, which is located at 320 Rogers Ave. 479-926-9704; www.rvpri.com/paranormalbasics.htm

Halloween Fun at Petit Jean, Oct. 30, Petit Jean State Park, Morrilton. Celebrate the “spooky season” on Petit Jean Mountain with family-friendly activities. Costumes are welcome and admission is free. Contact the park for a schedule. 501-727-5441; www.petitjeanstatepark.com
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