There's no better place to look for paranormal activity than in Hampton Roads — home to bloody histories and some of the oldest standing structures in the country. Some local haunted houses, like the beloved Poquoson Haunted House, have gone the grave, themselves. But there are still a number of fantastically frightening fetes around town. Here are five of them.
Ghost Trails hayrides
In this spooky hayride through the woods of York River State Park, kids and adults will ride along darkened trails and witness scary scenes from Virginia's haunted past. The 30-minute adventure will include stops in a Civil War encampment and a pirate's lair. "There's a spooky climax at the end of the trip," said Brad Thomas, chief ranger at York River. The ride concentrates more on history than on blood or gore, so it's appropriate for children as young as 6 or 7. "It's the kind of scare where the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, the same chill you feel when someone tells a good story," Thomas said. The rides are popular and often sell out. Thomas recommends making a reservation before making the trek to York River.
Rides operate 7-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 25-27. Admission is $3, $25 for groups of 10. Call 757-566-3036 or visit http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/yor.shtml.
Little goblins will enjoy this family-friendly festivity at the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton Saturday, Oct. 27. From safe trick-or-treating to creepy make-and-take activities, a scavenger hunt and a haunted house, the fun is bound to entertain kids of all ages. A Haunted Mine motion simulator will give rides for $1, and the Hampton Sheriff's office will offer child identification program services. The fun begins at 4 p.m. Starting at 6 p.m., the tiny terrors will march through downtown Hampton begging for candy and treats from local businesses. The downtown trick-or-treat is open to the public and maps are available at the space center.
Advance tickets are encouraged. The bash costs $5 in advance and $7 on the day of the event.
Order tickets online at vasc.org or call 757-727-0900, ext. 703. Virginia Air & Space Center is located at 600 Settlers Landing Road in Hampton.
For 12 years, the members of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Community have transformed the wooded meditation trail behind their church into a spooky Halloween fright fest. This year, more than 80 volunteers have set up 10 scenes of a Haunted Hotel, complete with a spooky grand ballroom, a boiler room maze and the creaky elevator that takes you to the 13th floor. The 25-minute guided tours wind groups of 10 about a third of a mile down the path.
"All of the proceeds go toward funding our summer mission trips for our teens," says Pat Kovac, trail organizer. "It's great fun, and it's just grown. We start talking about our themes a year in advance."
Last year more than 870 people braved the trail, and Kovac says she expects a big showing this year. The trail is open from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30. Tickets cost $8. Students can purchase tickets in advance for $6. Call 757-766-3800 for more information.
Haunted Hampton: A Night at the Museum
For the first year, Hampton History Museum curator Michael Cobb will guide visitors through a spooky maze in the museum, highlighting "some of Hampton's deepest and darkest secrets." There will be four 40-minute tours a night beginning Monday, Oct. 29,through Halloween night, Wednesday, Oct. 31, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Previously held at Fort Monroe, each tour will include spooky tales of old Hampton, including stories of the first recorded witch in American, ghosts of Civil War soldiers, pirates from Blackbeard's Crew, and Edgar Allen Poe. In addition, each tour will include a lantern tour of St. John's Church cemetery. Refreshments will be available.
Advance tickets are encouraged. Tickets cost $20 per person. For more information, call 757-727-1610. The Hampton History Museum is located at 120 Old Hampton Lane.
Legends of Sleepy Hole
For two nights, the Suffolk park transforms into a wilderness of screams and scares. The haunted hayride, which features live actors, is on a scary scale that is more appropriate for children ages 10 and older and adults.
New this year, the park has included Halloween fun on the softer side, with a section for younger kids that features a bounce house, carnival games and crafts.
The hayride costs $5 per person. Proceeds are donated to United Way. Sleepy Hole Park is located at 4616 Sleepy Hole Road, Suffolk. For more information, call 514-7567.
Sam McDonald contributed to this report.
Fright Light Laser Show. Friday, Oct. 26. It's a howling good time in the Virginia Living Museum's Abbitt Planetarium with "Fright Light." Wild and weird laser images accompany songs from Black Sabbath, Garbage, and The Who. $6. Thevlm.org.
Harvest Festival. Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. New Beginning Empowerment Church, 1901 E. Pembroke Ave., Hampton. Free candy, fun, games, activities, and bounce houses for the children. 722-6791.
Halloween Party. 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. Phoebus VFW Post 3219. Tickets are $10 per person in advance and $12 per person at the door. Come dressed as your favorite ghoul or goblin, enjoy dancing, contests, snacks and friends. For information and tickets, call the Ladies Auxiliary at 723-2667.
Zoo Boo. 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. The Virginia Zoo presents Zoo Boo, the Zoo's annual Halloween event including Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fright Night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For information, visit virginiazoo.org. The zoo is located at 3500 Granby St, Norfolk.
Halloween Festival. 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28. First Presbyterian Church, 514 S. Armistead Ave., Hampton. Trunk or Treat, food, games, haunted playground. Prizes awarded for best trunk, best adult costume, best kid costume, best baby costume and best dog costume.
Trunk-or-Treat. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. North Riverside Baptist Church, 311 Selden Road, Newport News. Use the Shoe Lane entrance to the parking lot.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times