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Celebrating Halloween 2011 in the National Parks

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This is a great time of year. Not only do the parks come alive with bright fall foliage, but the parks also come alive with Halloween activities fun for the whole family. And let’s face it, Halloween is a pretty awesome holiday. Dress up and buckets of candy? Simply awesome.

Check out some of the fun events planned across the country fun for families of all ages!

Ghost Walk, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Date: October 22
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Info: Call 800-257-9477

Like precious heirlooms passed down from one generation to the next, stories spark our imagination, often painting pictures of bygone days. On this 1-mile lantern hike, our costumed characters bring Ohio's past to life with tales of love and despair, joy and grief, and kindness and horror. Hikes depart every 30 minutes.

Halloween Tales, Minute Men National Historic Park

Date: October 22
Time: Special early show from 4:45 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. Regular show at 7 p.m.
Cost: Free
Info: Call 978-318 -7825 or email jim_hollister@nps.gov

Join Park Rangers and Volunteers in a very spooky, candle-lit setting for an evening of traditional New England ghost stories. This year we are offering a special early show from 4:45 - 5:45 p.m. appropriate for young children up to age 6.

Howling Homestead, Homestead National Monument of America

Date: October 22
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Cost: Free
Info: 402-223-3514 or visit http://www.nps.gov/home

Join us to learn about the night sky and reptiles, have fun with the "mad scientist," take a night hike through the tallgrass prairie, and much more! The first 100 children receive a free pumpkin to take home from the Friends of Homestead. The event is appropriate for all ages. Please leave your costumes at home.

1st Annual Whiskeytown Harvest Festival, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Date: October 22
Time: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Cost: Free
Info: Call Danica Willis at 530-242-3438

This fun and family-friendly event will feature apple tasting, a harvest-themed bake-off contest, games for all ages, tours of the historic Camden House and orchards, and light refreshments. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own basket and take apples home.

Hayrides, Pumpkins, and More!, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Dates: October 22, 23, 29, 30
Time: Saturdays 9 - 11 a.m. and Sundays 2 - 4 p.m.
Cost: Hayrides are $5
Info: Call 330-657-2012 or visit www.thespicylamb.com

Pick your own pumpkins, meet farm animals, take a hayride, and even pick up some gourmet spices.

Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Dates: October 22-29
Time: 9 a.m. - noon
Cost: Free
Info: Call 330-657-2538 or visit www.cvcountryside.org

Join the Annual Halloween Celebration on October 29! All children dressed in costumes will receive a free caramel apple!

Bat Mask, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Date: October 23
Time: 2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Info: Call 228-875-9057 ext. 4100 or visit www.nps.gov/guis

Have you ever wondered whether bats are really blind? Do your kids think they can really turn into vampires? During this event, kids can meet a Junior Ranger Ambassador and even make bat masks. It’s educational, Halloween-inspired, and lots of fun!

Early Bird Hayride, Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Date: October 26
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Cost: $12
Info: Call 865-436-1200

Enjoy a ranger-led open air hayride viewing wildlife and discovering the diversity of Cades Cove. Accessible to persons using wheelchairs.

Haunting Hawthorne, Minute Man Historical Park

Date: October 26
Time: 7 p.m.
Cost: Free
Info: Call 978-318-7825 or e-mail mima_info@nps.gov

Celebrate Halloween with Nathaniel Hawthorne's chilling tales... Read by the author! (Portrayed by Rob Velella, independent literary scholar.)

Illustrated Program on Poe and Halloween, Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site

Date: October 28-30
Time: 2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Info: 215-597-8780

Join a Park Ranger for a 45-minute illustrated program about how Halloween is the perfect time of year to celebrate the works of this great author.

Alcatraz Night Tour, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Date: All year!
Time: Call for times
Place: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California

Okay, spooky! Venture into dark corners of this old island prison! Limited to just a few hundred visitors, the Alcatraz Night Tour programs include special topics, tours, and activities not offered during daytime hours. Visitors can tour the old prison island at night, giving it a very spooky feel. Check out the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy online for more information or call 415-561-4700.

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