CONWAY — From over-the-top scary to simply sweet and fun, families can find something for everyone’s Halloween hilarity level in Mount Washington Valley. And while it’s hardly scary, the season starts out with plenty of fall pumpkins, apples and family fun at the Fryeburg Fair, Oct. 1-8, filled with rides, crafts, exhibits, live entertainment, fair food and tons of animals.
While spooks are certainly part of the fun, no need to leave the faint-of-heart at home during Halloween season in Mount Washington Valley. The calendar is packed with fun for the whole family, so get into the spirit this Halloween with everything from giant swings to ghosts and ghouls.
Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 29-Oct. 28: Experience the Ghoullog and Haunted Playground at Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway: It’s been 10 years of fear as, Cranmore Mountain Resort is transformed into a haunted hallowed ground, offering something for every level of tolerance for the spookiness of the season. The Ghoullog is a 50-minute haunt featuring more than 15,000 square feet of indoor space through a series of dark rooms, scary mazes and unknown places, plus an outdoor element which leads the unsuspecting through the dark woods with all of the scares and screams you can imagine in one haunted attraction. This haunted experience is not for the faint of heart, and is best suited for the older kids. But the Haunted Playground (Cranmore Adventure Center transformed into a Halloween theme) offers plenty of tamer Halloween family fun. Ride the Mountain Coaster, Giant Swing and Soaring Eagle Zip line. All Haunted Playground rides offer a unique night-time experience with special lighting, effects and the occasional ghost or ghoul when you least expect it. Age, height and weight restrictions apply. End the night in the Broken Skull Pub and stop by the Rotting Corpse Gift Shop for a remembrance of the spooky evening. For complete information on the Ghoullog and Haunted Playground, go to theghoullog.com.
Oct.15-31: All Things Pumpkin Festival, Jackson: This festival includes two weeks of business open houses, silent auctions, pumpkin tasting tours (check for dates), Return of the Pumpkin People displays the "New England & Jackson Invitational Pumpkin Carving Competition and the “All Things Pumpkin” Chef Competition. On Oct. 21 only, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., take the “All Things Pumpkin Tour” on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through Jackson Village, stopping at five properties (or more) where each rider receives a pumpkin treasure that consists of either a pumpkin edible or keepsake Info: Call (603) 383-9356.
Oct. 20-22 and 27-29: All Aboard the Pumpkin Patch Express, North Conway: During these two October weekends, kids of all ages will not only enjoy riding the Conway Scenic Railroad train ride, but will go home with a hand-picked pumpkin too. On the last two weekends in October, special Halloween trains will go from North Conway to the "Pumpkin Patch" where each child will have the opportunity to select a pumpkin to take home. Costumes are encouraged.
Oct. 20-21 and 27-28: Murder Mystery Dinner Train: Murder and mayhem add to the Halloween spirit on these two weekends, as adults attempt to solve the crime over dinner on the train. Board the train and gather together to celebrate the love of two brothers, three ex-wives, a brand-new bride and a killer thrown in for good measure. At this wedding “forever hold your peace” takes on a whole new meaning for one unlucky guest. The Conway Scenic Railroad presents an evening of fabulous food and entertaining Dinner Theater aboard the elegant dining car Chocorua or Hattie Evans. Passengers can participate as much or as little as they like in the tongue in cheek humor and zany antics that will keep everyone on their toes as they work the clues to determine the killer on board. The train departs promptly at 6 p.m. Plan to board early and enjoy a cocktail in one of our beautiful dining cars. Reservations are required. The $125 fare includes First Class seating for the three-hour train excursion, a four-course dinner, live theatrical performance by Arts in Motion Theater Company, taxes and gratuities. Beverage service is additional. Murder and mayhem is a formal affair, so dress the part and join the fun. This takes Halloween costumes to the next level! Call (800) 232-5251 for reservations or more information.
Oct. 20-22: New England and Jackson Invitational Pumpkin Carving Competition in Jackson: Watch artists take regular pumpkins and carve them into something amazing in Jackson Village Park. Teams start any time after noon on Friday, Oct. 21, continuing through Saturday at 7 p.m., when judging begins. Winners and pumpkin lighting will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. Once pumpkins have been lit and on display, the public can purchase their favorite and take it home. Selling of pumpkins will take place throughout Saturday evening and Sunday Oct. 23 until 2 p.m. Info: Additionally, throughout the weekend taste special pumpkin creations and kids can carve and create a uniquely decorated pumpkin and enter it into the kids’ creation competition.
Oct. 21 and 28: Silly, Spooky Halloween Extravaganza at Santa’s Village, Jefferson: Celebrating its 8th season, Santa’s Village will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on these two Saturdays with plenty of family-friendly Halloween fun. Santa is usually here at this time, to see all of the children in costume, and those thinking ahead to Christmas joined by the Silly Nilly Witch of the North stirring her own spooky brew. The entire Santa’s Village Park will be transformed into a magical Halloween adventure. There are "spooky" areas for the older children; some "fun" areas for the younger goblins. Shops cater to the Trick or Treaters, and it's much more fun if you arrive in costume. Even the Silly Helpers are dressed for the occasion. Admission for the entire day is $27 per person, and children three and under are free. Tickets include all the rides and festivities for the day. Last ticket will be sold two hours before closing. Sorry, "Return Passes" are not offered during this event.
Oct. 21: Halloween Town at Purity Spring Resort, East Madison: On Oct. 21, the rustic cabins at the Purity Spring Resort’s Camp Tohkomeupog will be theatrically transformed, each with its own theme, ranging from kid friendly to downright spooky. The cabins make up the Trick or Treat Trail, with over a half-mile of lighted pathways winding throughout the camp. Visitors to Halloween Town are invited to stop at each cabin and grab a Halloween surprise (candy and souvenirs). In addition to the Trick or Treat Trail, the event also features a kid carnival, petting farm, food court, tethered hot air balloon rides, and more! This free event is made possible by the generous sponsors throughout the area. This special event benefits The Laura Foundation for Autism and Epilepsy.
Oct. 28: Haunted Happenings at Settlers Green, North Conway: Trick-or-treat at participating stores at Settlers Green Outlet Village! Kids age 12 and under are welcome to participate, accompanied by an adult. Orange signs (above) in store door windows indicate participating stores. While you’re there, visit the new Streetside expansion with 10 new stores.
Hotels are offering Halloween themed events on weekends leading up to Halloween. At the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa guests can take part in fall and Halloween fun including pumpkin decorating and carving every Saturday in October. There will also be Apple Cider Pressing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Mountain View Farm. On Oct. 31, enjoy Mountain View Grand’s Halloween-themed Harvest Tavern specials, followed by delicious s'mores while telling spooky ghost stories around our evening campfire. At the Omni Mount Washington Resort, spend Halloween Weekend (Oct. 27-29) in the Wicked Woods of the Great North. It’s a weekend of witches’ cauldrons, black cats, superstition, mischievous acts and spooky tales is fun for the entire family. Bring the spooky and cute costumes for the kids in your life; and for the adults get ready for the "Wicked" costume party in The Cave.
While it won’t be quite ready for Halloween, Adventure Suites in North Conway, one of the top 10 themed hotels in the USA, is diligently putting the finishing touches on their newest addition — a $1 million room called the Haunted Castle, scheduled to make its debut in November. This five-level room is the first and only simulated overnight haunted hotel experience in the world, and best of all you’re guaranteed to see a ghost (many of them). Beds will shake, ghosts will appear and disappear, cupboards will open and close, to say nothing of the audio effects being designed for this experience. Adventure Suites has implemented a sophisticated computerized system involving motion sensors, time delays, video, projection pneumatics, lights, audio and more to scare the heck out of guests. The room sleeps up to 18 people. Guests can expect to be haunted, expect to have fun, but can’t expect to get much sleep. Special effects will last throughout the night. Try it after mid-November, if you dare!
To plan your Halloween getaway, visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org. Here you’ll find a master list of events, plus accommodations, dining, shopping, entertainment info and much more. To talk to a vacation concierge, simply call 1 (800) 367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH). For more information on planning to New Hampshire go to VisitNH.gov.