Pumpkins, Corn Mazes, Haunts & Howls in the Ozarks

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 Ozarks.

Ozark Corn Maze, now through Nov. 14, Cave Springs. Get lost in the corn maze shaped like a Razorback, shoot the Corn Cannon, ride the Cow Train and visit the petting zoo. Concessions are available. The attraction is closed on Monday and open by appointment only on Tuesday and Wednesday for field trips for schools, church groups, day cares and children’s organizations. The labyrinth is open to the public from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday; and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $7 per individual, and $5 each for groups of 10 or more. www.ozarkcornmaze.com

Eureka Springs’ Paranormal Pair Month, Oct. 1-31, Eureka Springs. Take a ghost tour at both the 1905 Basin Park Hotel and the 1886 Crescent Hotel. Tour attendees are encouraged to bring cameras to “catch” a few ghosts of their own as activity is said to increase during the lead-up to Halloween. 479-253-9766; www.americasmosthauntedhotel.com

Go Batty!, Oct. 2, Withrow Springs State Park, Huntsville. Bats are an important part of the ecosystem of this state park. Join a park interpreter for an easy hike to War Eagle Cave to learn about these unique flying mammals and the threats to their existence. Admission is free. 479-559-2593; www.ArkansasStateParks.com

Ghosts of Davidsonville Fall Festival, Oct. 9, Davidsonville Historic State Park, Pocahontas. The family-friendly festival features musical performances, carnival games, activities just for kids, the Arkansas Game and Fish mobile aquarium, carnival food and a hayride through the park’s historic town site and decorated campground. Admission is $5. 870-892-4708; www.ArkansasStateParks.com

Haunted House, Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30, and 31, Benton County Fairgrounds, Bentonville. The entrance fee is $5 per person. There is also a scare-free zone for young children to paint and decorate pumpkins. www.bentoncountysheriff.org/PAL

Voices from the Silent City Cemetery Tour, Oct. 15-16 and 29-30, Eureka Springs Cemetery, located on Ark. 62 east. The Eureka Springs Historical Museum offers this colorful living history tour featuring actors in costume playing the roles of early citizens as they reminisce about their lives. The one hour walking tour begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs every 20 minutes thereafter with the last one ending at 8:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults, and $5 for children 12 and under. Free parking and shuttle service will be available at Eastgate Shopping Center located on Hwy 62 East across from Passion Play Road. 479-253-9417; www.eurekaspringshistoricalmuseum.org

8th annual Ghost Walks, Oct. 19, 21, 26 and 28, Bentonville. Prepare to be thrilled, chilled, and even educated by the “Grieving Widows and Denizens” of Peel Mansion during this event. Beginning at 6 p.m., public tours of the Bentonville Cemetery are led by a trio of widows in black. The women will tell the stories of those who now rest at each historical gravesite – the Berry Family (including the late Governor James Berry), the family of Colonel Samuel Peel, pauper’s corner, the last freed slave in Benton County, concluding at the mausoleum. Participants will then be guided back to the Peel Mansion where they will be met by Mrs. Samuel Peel (Emmaline) who will graciously lead guests through her home. The Peel Mansion is listed among the 1,000 most haunted places in the United States. Additionally, the last public hanging in Benton County in 1876 will be re-created in the Carriage House. Afterwards, for those still possessing an appetite, dinner will be served in the atmospheric conservatory with its antique black and white tile floor. The cost is $25 for adult, $20 for children 6-12, and free for those under 6. Reservations are strongly encouraged. 479-254-3870; www.peelcompton.org

Old Orchard & Haunted Farm, Dark to 11 p.m., Oct. 21-31, Highfill. A haunted house and trail at Long’s Old Orchards & Farms, located about three miles west of the Northwest Arkansas Airport. There is also a pumpkin patch, and concessions will be available. 479-736-8200; www.oldorchardandfarm.com

Ghost Walks, Oct. 22, Powhatan Historic State Park, Powhatan. Wander around the century-old buildings, the Black River and old cemeteries while you listen to the spine-tingling tales of ghostly happenings throughout the park. Make sure and look for the ghostly figure reported to be seen in the historic courthouse’s second story window. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6-12. 870-878-6765; www.ArkansasStateParks.com
· Devil’s Den Haunted Hayride and Hike, Oct. 23, Devil’s Den State Park, West Fork. Park staff planned a ghoulishly good time on a one-mile loop hayride and a quarter mile hike. The event is appropriate for the whole family. Admission is $2. 479-761-3325; www.ArkansasStateParks.com

Haunted Battlefield Tour, Oct. 23, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, Prairie Grove. Tour groups will be guided from the amphitheater to the front of the historic Borden House along part of the park’s walking trail, as well as down into the valley where the heaviest fighting occurred during the actual Battle of Prairie Grove. Chances are good that there will be a few scary surprises along the way. Tours depart every 20 to 30 minutes. The last tour will leave at 10 p.m. Parking is available at the east Borden House entrance. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. 479-846-2990; www.ArkansasStateParks.com

Pioneer Haunted House, Oct. 23, Pioneer Park, Maynard. Admission is free…if you’re brave enough to venture through the doors! For more details, phone 870-647-2701.

From Pumpkin to Pumpkin Pie, Oct. 23, Davidsonville Historic State Park, Pocahontas. Pumpkins are aplenty this time of year. Learn how to make more than a jack-o-lantern from the orange globes. Workshop participants will learn how to turn a pumpkin into pumpkin pie, just in time for Thanksgiving. Admission is $10. 870-892-4708; www.ArkansasStateParks.com

Trick-or-Treat on the Square, Oct. 29, Fayetteville. Dress up the kids and even the dogs for some safe Halloween fun. Businesses on and surrounding the square pass out candy to children. Admission is free. 479-521-5776; www.experiencefayetteville.com

15th annual Howl-O-Ween Party, Oct. 30, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs. Enjoy tricks and treats at the world’s largest sanctuary for “Big Cats.” The refuge is located seven miles south of Eureka Springs on Ark. 23. Admission is free. 479-253-5841; www.turpentinecreek.org

Trunk-or-Treat, Oct. 30, Horseshoe Bend. Kids get to go trick or treating without going from house to house, they go trunk to trunk in the Diamond B Mall parking lot. Games and prizes are also part of the fun. A costume contest will be held in the Horseshoe Bend Theatre. 870-670-5764; www.horseshoebendarcc.com

“Lost Head” Boat Tour, Oct. 31, Fort Smith State Park, Mountainburg. Take a spin back in time as park interpreters recount the tales of local lore, mayhem, and mirth on this Halloween night boat cruise here on Lake Fort Smith. Costumes are encouraged. Reservations are suggested and can be made at the marina at 479-369-1018. This is a weather dependent program. Admission is $8.50 for adults and $4.50 for children ages 6-12. www.ArkansasStateParks.com
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