Halloween is a time when imaginations run wild. There are ghost tours to join, pumpkins to pick, haunted houses to scream through, and tall tales aplenty. The Shenandoah Valley is ripe for all the above plus fall family fun if you know where to look.
Who doesn’t love a good-natured fright near Halloween? Take a walking tour through some of the Shenandoah Valley’s towns to hear the shadier bits of history … the parts that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Haunting Tales: Lexington’s Ghost Tour is led by artist and entertainer Mark Cline most nights. Costumed and carrying a lantern, Cline meanders through downtown Lexington telling historic tales. Lexington, VA was established in 1778 and is the final resting place of two Virginia governors, two Confederate generals, and many soldiers. The stories practically jump out of the bricks in Lexington, so check those out, too.
Ghosts of Staunton, VA offers a variety of spooky tours. Choose from Staunton’s Haunted History, Dark Tales and Haunts of the Queen City, Haunted American Hotel, Haunted Depot, or a special Halloween Haunted Depot Spirit Box Tour. With this many options, you may want to line up more than one outing.
Haunted History Ghost Tours of Old Town Winchester, VA is available October 29 and 30 at 6 p.m. The tours will highlight “the mysterious history of Winchester” as you learn about the “restless spirits from the Colonial and Civil War eras.” Indeed, the Shenandoah Valley is a treasure trove of ghost stories.
If you’re not into blood-thirsty “zombies” on parade, you’ll want to avoid the 9th Annual Front Royal Zombie Walk. They’ll ramble out of Bing Crosby Stadium in Front Royal, VA at 6 p.m. on October 23 to make their way to the Virginia Beer Museum. Thankfully, it’s just a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Warren County and there will be not-so-scary fun, food, and live music to close out the event. Whew.
Entirely indoors, American Fright Night at Shenandoah Caverns in Quicksburg, VA is the Shenandoah Valley’s largest haunted house at 40,000 square feet. Wind your way through American Celebration on Parade in a totally different way: in the dark, with the creep factor turned up to 100.
DarkWood Manor is one of the Valley’s best haunted house attractions, and you’ll find it in downtown Luray, VA. Each year offers a different storyline and new characters. This attraction is not advised for children under the age of 10 or those with certain medical conditions. Be sure to read the warning and disclaimer before planning your trip.
What does buried treasure have to do with Halloween? Plenty. Ghosts protect their treasure, right? Let’s find some in the Shenandoah Valley.
Beale’s Gold | Bedford, VA
In Bedford, immense amounts of gold and silver have been rumored to exist. It’s said that Thomas Beale discovered a mine out west in the 1800s and brought as much as he could carry to Virginia. Amateur and professional treasure hunters have sought the buried treasure with no luck, but we think a pint of Beale’s Gold Helles Lager may be the gold you’re really searching for. It’s known location is Beale’s Beer; enjoy!
Treasure of Signal Knob | Strasburg, VA
Is there gold and silver buried on Signal Knob near Fort Valley? Legend says there is, pointing to Lord William Powell as the burier or such treasure. Stories vary as to where the goods originated – some say he robbed a stagecoach while others suggest the precious metals were discovered with the help of Native Americans in the area. Some even suggest Powell was a counterfeiter and perhaps the gold and silver weren’t real or pure anyway. Hike the Loop Trail
Corn Mazes & Pumpkin Patches
Take a break for family fun this fall with an adventure through a corn maze or a hunt for the perfect pumpkin.
Back Home on the Farm is a working farm in Harrisonburg, VA. The pumpkin patch, corn maze, cow train, and carousel are always a hit. There are many free activities for the kids, including photo props (like a LOVEwork), barnyard minigolf, climbing walls, and more.
Old McDonald’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Inwood, WV has giant slides, TWO five-acre corn mazes, hiking trails, a playground, and much more.
Mulberry Hills Farm in Mount Crawford, VA offers a selection of pre-picked pumpkins or you can scour the field for your own. Be sure to take photos at the photo-op spots as well as pet the farm animals. Look for their LOVEwork, too!
The Pumpkin Patch at Hill High Farm in Winchester, VA is a full-day delight with hayrides, a corn maze, and more free fun for the kiddos, too. Venture out to the pumpkin patch to choose your very own to take home.
Orr’s Pumpkin Patch in Martinsburg, WV is a great place for the kids to not only choose their own pumpkin but to also see Spookley the Square Pumpkin, a beloved character from children’s books in which Spookley is shunned by the typical round pumpkins due to his shape. Orr’s Farm Market embraces Spookley the Square Pumpkin as part of National Bullying Prevention Month (October). Spookley will be incorporated throughout the month with a Spookley-Themed Pumpkin Patch, special storybook times, and even a smaller Spookley maze for little ones.
Whichever way you go with your Halloween and October adventures, we hope you have a great time and make fantastic memories.
Header Image Courtesy Back Home on the Farm.