Finding Halloween events & celebrating autumn: haunted houses, apple orchards, ghost tours and more.

UPDATED FOR THE 2014 SEASON

halloween countdown 6 final

AUTUMN ARRIVES:

Friday marks six weeks until Halloween. I’m no longer (nearly) alone in my countdown to the big day – horror movies and creepy documentaries are cropping up on all the channels; fun-size candy bars and this year’s Halloween decorations are arriving in the stores; bloggers are writing about costumes and theme parties.

Monday the 22nd will be the autumnal equinox.

I’m not happy about the looming winter, but autumn is my favorite season and I intend to suck every possible bit of creepy, eerie, festive, color-saturated, pleasure from the next six weeks. I will be able to lose myself in my celebration of all things fall-ish and Halloween-y because (for those of you that don’t already know) I am lucky enough to live in Minnesota, not far from where I grew up, in and around Anoka – the Halloween Capital of the World. 

logo_national_geographic

Click for Proof

I realize not all of you live in or near a town so mad for Halloween, but that shouldn’t hamper your celebrations. This week’s Halloween Countdown post is meant to help all my readers – Minnesotans AND folks from farther afield – find great autumn and Halloween events no matter where they live in the US.

IT’S NOT TOO SOON TO PLAN HALLOWEEN:

Below, you will find a printable PDF calendar of the next six weeks.

2014-halloween-calendar,-general-pdf

 2014  6 weeks until halloween calendar pdf

  • print your calendar
  • look over the included checklist
  • browse the links below for inspiration
  • mark the check boxes of any activities that appeal
  • use the calendar and the links below to plan your season

FINDING & CHOOSING DAYTRIPS & OUTINGS:

Probably, the best tool for hunting down your community’s offerings is a local newspaper or the September / October issue of your city or state magazine. As a supplement to such resources, I’ve gathered a set of search engines and guides to assist in planning. THE most useful site I found was Explore Minnesota – our state’s official tourism site. You can find your state guide at www.50states.com.

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GO TO THE FARM:

ORCHARDS, PETTING ZOOS, CORN MAZES, HAYRIDES, ETC.

Start your search here:

In Minnesota:

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DO GOOD:

calendar dog walk cc by skirtpr         OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         calendar reading cc by US Embassy Canada

Start your search here:

  • Go to volunteermatch.org, enter your state or city, and type Halloween into the “I care about …” box.

No matter where you are:

  • check at the local shelter for dogs that would love a walk on a fall day
  • carve a Jack ‘O Lantern (or several) for the local retirement home
  • read spooky stories at the local elementary school
  • play ding-dong-ditch with a twist – leave a Happy Halloween note & a prize

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ENJOY FALL’S SPECTACULAR COLORS:

Start your search here:

In Minnesota:

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VISIT A HAUNTED ATTRACTION:

Start your search here:

In Minnesota:

GO TO A ZOMBIE PUB CRAWL:

Start your search here:

  • check local newspapers and city magazines
  • Google ‘zombie pub crawl in __________’ (where the blank is your town, nearest metropolitan area, or state.)

In Minnesota:

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GO ON SPECIAL HALLOWEEN TOURS OF HISTORICAL SITES:

Start your search here:

In Minnesota:

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GO TO A PARADE OR FESTIVAL:

Many years ago, I had a costume business with a friend.

We made the lion costumes you see at 0:45 – 0:48.

Start your search here:

In Minnesota:

SEE A HORROR OR CULT CLASSIC FILM OR A MIDNIGHT MATINEE:

Start your search here:

  • Check your local mega-plex for special showings of Halloween movies.
  • To find an independent theater for cult and horror classics, check PBS’s Independent Lens. (Zoom in on the map.)
  • Alternatively, Google ‘independent theater in __________’ (where the blank is your town, nearest metropolitan area, or state.)
  • Search for a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show near you at rockyhorror.com

In Minnesota:

OR MAKE A HORROR MOVIE IN 48 HOURS

The 48 Hour Film Horror Project is a creative contest where teams of filmmakers create a horror film in a single weekend. Teams will be given certain elements to incorporate into their short film and 48 hours – the rest is up to them.

The project weekend will kickoff on a Friday evening and all films are due back Sunday evening. Filmmakers and their friends/family will be able to help to celebrate their accomplishments via a screening soon to follow.

All creative work for the video must be done in the official 48 hour time frame. Films must be 4 – 7 minutes long with an additional minute allowed for credits.

In select cities in October & November, 2014:

  • Oct. 3rd: Minneapolis
  • Oct. 10th: Detroit, Pittsburgh, Seattle
  • Oct. 17th: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Cleveland, Louisville, Providence
  • Nov. 7th: Kansas City
  • Nov. 21st: Amsterdam

You must register at the site. The fee to compete is $175.

Visit the 48 hour film: horror project homepage.

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RESERVE TIME & ENERGY FOR ERRANDS, TASKS, AND HOME-CENTRIC ACTIVITIES:

Don’t forget to leave room for activities that don’t have to be done on any particular date. Outings are great, but things like decorating the house, stealing an hour to browse the local Halloween shop, and snuggling down with a scary book or movie are important too.

NOTE: If you’re going to have a Halloween party, you should set the date now.

HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN QUICK LINKS:

2014: Countdown-to-Halloween Ideas & Checklist

2014: The Paranormalist’s 1st Annual Halloween Photo Scavenger Hunt

FOR MORE HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN ARTICLES VISIT THE MAIN INDEX

halloween countdown main fridays

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8 Comments on “Finding Halloween events & celebrating autumn: haunted houses, apple orchards, ghost tours and more.”

  1. You are simply amazing! Amaaaaazing resource!! Thank you!

  2. Sarah Collins says:

    I really enjoy your blog, this is by far my favorite time of the year. Crisp air, pumpkin picking, falling leaves, and haunted attractions – what could be better? Last year I went to one of the scariest haunted attractions near PA and I can’t wait to go back again. This is the kind of entertainment that you don’t get to indulge yourself in often.

    • Welcome to the blog, Sarah. I’m glad you like it 🙂

      I watched the trailer over at the link you shared … you’re a brave woman. I’m trying to work up the courage to go to our “best/worst” – The Soap Factory (above). I just don’t think I’ve got it in me this year. They say you have to wear special clothes, and some people vomit. I think I’ll try out the “normal” haunted house right near home.


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