*Please note this article was written in 2010. Do not assume these events are available during the year you are reading this!
Do you love Halloween? Are you one of those people who was devastated when you had to stop trick-or-treating because nobody wants to open their doors to grown-ups wearing masks? If you happen to be visiting the Burlington, Vermont area in the month of October (the best time to visit if you want to see foliage), there are a number of ways you can recapture the magic of Halloween both before the actual holiday and on it. Here are just a few of the more notable ways to do so.
Who doesn’t love a good ghost walk? Burlington is full of haunted history, and the best place to hear about it is via a Queen City Ghost Walk tour. Since 2002, they’ve been sending chills up the spines of locals and visitors alike every fall weekend leading up to Halloween and then nightly during the latter part of October. For a complete schedule and details, see their website. The cost for these chills up your spine? $13 per person.
If you think the Saw movies are for sissies, then this event should be right up your alley. Nightmare Vermont has been scaring the bejesus out of people since 2004. The demented–er, creative–geniuses behind this interactive haunted house spend many hours preparing for this annual event and bring theatrical-level special effects to the goal of scaring you to death. This event is especially popular with the college crowd. This year, the ghouls have taken over an entire neighborhood of empty homes near the airport in South Burlington. Tickets ($10) can be purchased and printed on their website. The show runs the last two weekends in October, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The Haunted Forest, a classic Halloween event in Chittenden County, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. 6,000 people attend this annual event, which is more family-friendly than Nightmare Vermont. The Haunted Forest is literally in the woods: You are taken on trails, lit by 1,000 carved Jack-O-Lanterns, from one set to another. Spooky stories are told and scares are had. (Well, DUH. You’re in the woods. At night. In the dark.) Bring a hat and gloves, and wear your longjohns, it gets cold. This event also runs for the last two weekends in October, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Nighttime shows are $12.50, and matinees are $8.50.
A friend of mine once said that when she thinks of Vermont, she thinks of red farmhouses, covered bridges and deer prancing in the fields. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t think of zombies walking down the Church Street Marketplace looking for human brains to eat. The Zombie Walk takes place annually in mid-October and is free. Check out this cool video from the 7 Days blog Stuck in Vermont (by the awesome Eva Sollberger) on the 2007 Zombie Walk:
Okay, so it’s not really a celebration of Halloween, but it’s fun and it involves pumpkins. BIG pumpkins. In its third year now, the Pumpkin Regatta takes place early in the month of October, because it just wouldn’t be the same if there were snow on the ground. Teams use hollowed-out pumpkins weighing 1,000 lbs or more as kayaks to race each other on Lake Champlain. (Yeah, we do weird shit in Vermont.) Pumpkins receive company sponsorship, and proceeds go to the Linking Learning to Life’s PILOT program for mentoring youth. You can watch for free.
It’s not too late to enjoy some of these events this year. For the others, you’ll just have to plan a trip to Vermont for next October. . .and you probably want to start planning that trip now, since it is the busiest time of year here. Happy Halloween!