EWING, Va. — Prepare for two nights of fun and fright when Wilderness Road State Park (WSRP) hosts its annual Halloween special event, Pumpkins in the Park, on Oct. 30-31. Highlighted by the wildly popular Haunted Trail Hayride, where folklore comes alive, this year’s event will again feature children’s activities, contests and the community based Trunk-or-Treat.
Admission is $10 per vehicle each night.
The Haunted Trail Hayride is a 30-minute, spine-tingling journey along a wooded trail that features spooky scenes, amazing props, and scares behind just about every tree. This setting is sure to illicit a scream or two.
“It amazes us here at the park just how popular the Haunted Trail Hayride really is,” stated Mike Brindle, the event’s coordinator. “We have people asking us year ‘round about it and what is going to be featured on it. We’ve added new scenes, some of which are back by popular demand based on our survey of those that experienced the ride last year. Our area is rich in history, and some of that history is on the dark side, with sad and even sometimes scary aspects. We want to tap into this local folklore and better immerse the riders into each scene.”
There will be much more interaction between the riders and the ‘creatures’ on the trail. Oftentimes, the scenes will extend out onto the trail, and even around the wagon the riders are on.
“We are also making some changes to cut down the wait time for those wishing to enjoy the ride,” explained Brindle. “We have a few larger wagons, and we are adding a fifth tractor and wagon on Saturday night, which is typically the busiest night. We encourage folks to come on Friday night if they want to avoid longer wait times.”
The Haunted Trail Hayride lines open at 6 p.m. each night (Friday and Saturday) and everyone in line by 10 p.m. gets to enjoy the ride. For the first time, the park will also offer pumpkin painting on both nights.
The children’s portion of the event will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday on the Karlan Mansion lawn. Children’s activities include: pumpkin painting, face painting, costume contests, the community based Trunk-or-Treat and more.
To help meet the demand of costume-clad candy seeking children, the park is encouraging area churches, businesses, organizations and families to come out and participate in order to make the trunk-or-treat a true community event.
“It’s the support from the community that truly makes this event a success,” explains Brindle. “It’s the community that helps to ensure the children have a fun and safe Halloween experience, while also getting lots of candy.”
Those participating in the Trunk-or-Treat park on the Karlan Mansion lawn to distribute candy from the trunks of their vehicle. Each trunker is encouraged, but not required, to dress up, decorate their vehicle and create signs recognizing their church, group, business or family. As an added incentive this year, the park will award a prize to the best overall display by a trunker.
Those wishing to participate in the costume contests should meet at the stage area at the Karlan Mansion by 5:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the costume contests in three categories, ages infant-3 years, ages 4-7 and ages 8-12. The winner of each contest will receive a $25 Walmart gift card, while second place will receive a $10 gift card.
Refreshments will be available both nights, along with the always popular Pumpkins in the Park T-shirt. This year’s version is antique orange featuring a raven on the front and a highlight of the Haunted Trail scenes on the back. The shirts are just $12 each, in sizes youth extra small through adult 2XL, and are on sale now.
This event is sponsored by Friends of Wilderness Road State Park. For more information, or to find out how your church, group, business or family can help make this event a success, call the park at 276-445-3065, email [email protected] or visit www.friendsofwildernessroad.org.