Tag Archives: Halloween

Halloween Haunts

What’s this! Your cheeks sense chill air, crisply scented with leafy decay as a slow creeping sensation causes the hairs on the back of your neck to rise… it’s Halloween!! State parks are the best year-round, but are also the SP🎃🎃KIEST way to get a taste of nature as the days shorten. We thought we’d list prime, kooky ways to get your heart rate up!

Trains and Treats in California

There’s festive fun aplenty to get your autumn on track at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Park goers should prepare themselves for a freight–er.. fright! on the Spookomotive Ride, leaving the station hourly this Saturday and Sunday, the 29th and 30th, from noon to 4 p.m. The 45-minute, 6-mile (round-trip) train ride is $15 for adults, $8 for young people aged 2-17, and free for children two years old and younger. A mad scientist will be on board to startle and delight passengers, as well as to field questions regarding how to reanimate sewn-together people, or use lightning as a renewable energy source for your own secret laboratories!

The theme for the weekend is Witches & Wizards, but if you’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to reveal your zombie train conductor costume with all its bells and whistles (overalls are back in a big way this fall, after all), the CSRM would probably be it. There’s trick-or-treating at the museum on Saturday, Oct. 29th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with plenty of sweets and knowledge to be had for magic folk and ghost engineers alike.

Chugging right along…

[Image: hiddensandiego.net]

Once called Día de los Muertos, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is a pre-Columbian tradition which has its roots in central and southern Mexico. Today, the macabre-yet-bright skeletal imagery and the spirit of venerating deceased loved ones marks a holiday celebrated across cultures here in the United States. [Image: hiddensandiego.net]

If you can’t make the Halloween events at the CSRM and find yourself in southern California, you can check out the Día de los Muertos celebrations at Old Town San Diego SHP. On November 1st and 2nd, there will be historical and modern altars set up around the park to commemorate the inhabitants of Old Town. Visitors can take an altar tour to learn about this tradition, and themselves contribute to the “Tributes & Sentiments” chalk graveyard to remember their own loved ones.

Wicked Woods in New York

A halloween hallow?

Serene or sinister? The more you know, the more your answer will crystalize. [Image: www.pinterest.com]

In keeping with the haunted themes of the season, Green Lakes State Park in Central New York is welcoming one and all to their event, Wicked Woods. On October 29th, from 4 to 8 p.m., admission to the park is free. There will be beachside mini-golf and costumed trick-or-treating, a haunted trail, crafts, a photo booth, and a large bonfire to cap it all off. You can learn more about the event here. As an added bonus, you can work some feel good magic into your eerie festivities by bringing along a non-perishable food item to donate to the local food bank.

Owl-O-Ween in Tennessee

Owls have long been as much a part of Halloween imagery as pumpkins, ghosts or witches. It’s possible this is because of their domination of the nocturnal world, which they survey with their piercing eyes and well-informed demeanor. If you’ve ever taken a break from personifying these mighty nighttime hunters and wondered about the distant hollow hoots one occasionally hears on dusky hikes, Owl-O-Ween at Long Hunter State Park in Hermitage, Tennessee is just the ticket. For $3 per individual, or $5 per family, hikers can explore nature after sundown, while learning about the Barred Owl and its unique night-song from a knowledgeable ranger! October 29th, 7:30-8:30 p.m., guests are encouraged to make a reservation by calling 615-885-2422 or visiting the Long Hunter State Park website, here.

 

Uh oh...

This would look a whole lot more terrifying if you were a field mouse… [Image: www.birdwatchingdaily.com]

Whether you’re looking to take on Halloween fully costumed, or simply enjoy the smells of autumn, there is an inexpensive or free way to satisfy your Halloween cravings at a state park near you. There’s no time like the present to download a Pocket Ranger® mobile app and explore what’s going on!

Say “I Do” to a Wedding at the State Parks!

Maudslay State Park [www.aestelzerphotoblog.com/do-it-yourself-forest-wedding]

Maudslay State Park [www.aestelzerphotoblog.com/do-it-yourself-forest-wedding]

Celebrate your love for the outdoors by having your wedding at a state park! We are not lying when we say there are hundreds of breathtaking wedding venues offered at state parks across the country. In addition to getting incredible views and unbeatable wilderness ambiance, holding your wedding at a state park may be the best way to keep your budget in check. Below is just a taste of the kind of unique venues you can reserve.

Oceanside Wedding

If sandy beaches and open ocean are must-haves for your wedding day, here a few venues from both coasts that we think will fit the bill.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park [Image: fildakonecphotography.com]

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park [Image: fildakonecphotography.com]

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park, Florida

Arguably Key West’s best beach, Fort Zachary Taylor is the place for couples looking for a tropical wedding. Hold your wedding on the beach at sundown for the most epic sunset photos.

Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington

Looking for lighthouses? Cape Disappointment State Park has two! If you have a small wedding party, hold your ceremony in the lantern room at the top of the park’s North Head Lighthouse. In addition to lighthouses, this park has an ocean-facing beach, which also makes for a spectacular ceremony location.

Big Sur Wedding [Image: vagabond3.com/woohoo-were-getting-hitched]

Big Sur Wedding [Image: vagabond3.com/woohoo-were-getting-hitched]

Big Sur Wedding, California

For a show-stopping scenic vista, go big with a wedding at Big Sur. Choose from one of the three Big Sur state parks (Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and Andrew Molera State Park), and contact California State Parks weddings/special events coordinator at 831-525-5060 for more information.

Odiorne State Park, New Hampshire

With immense views of the Atlantic Ocean, Odiorne State Park is the perfect place for a warm-weather wedding. Hold your ceremony outdoors by the water, and then mosey across the lawn to a reception under the park’s large, sleek tent. During cocktail hour, your guests can pop into Odiorne’s Science Center to check out aquariums of lobster and native fish. There’s even a touch tank with starfish! This is a popular wedding location, so reserve early.

Woodsy Wedding

Custer State Park [Image: www.tomkphoto.com/kristi-troy-custer-state-park-wedding]

Custer State Park [Image: www.tomkphoto.com/kristi-troy-custer-state-park-wedding]

These wilderness venues have plenty of rustic chic ambiance plus great hiking trails. Don’t forget those hiking boots!

Custer State Park, North Dakota

One of the premiere destinations for wedding venues in the Black Hills, Custer State Park offers beautiful countryside and Sylvan Lake as a backdrop for your ceremony. Hold your nuptials outdoors and then bring the party indoors to the banquet hall at the park’s resort. If you’re lucky, maybe the park’s herd of wild buffalo will amble by, giving your wedding photos extra pizzazz.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Nebraska

Located just outside of Omaha, Mahoney State Park is the place for sweeping views of picturesque Platte River. With its many fireplaces and log-cabin atmosphere, board your wedding party at the Peter Kiewit Lodge or have guests stay over in the park’s lakeside cabins. Summer wedding? Cool off at the park’s Family Aquatic Center, which has pools and water slides. In the winter, the park is home to an exciting toboggan run, which may be the best way to warm up before taking the plunge into matrimony!

Maudslay State Park is perfect for woodsy- and garden-themed weddings, too! [Image: www.thewestchesterweddingplanner.com/fall-foliage-wedding]

Maudslay State Park is perfect for woodsy- and garden-themed weddings, too! [Image: www.thewestchesterweddingplanner.com/fall-foliage-wedding]

Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

Waterfalls, bluffs, caves, forests, and lake: There are so many ceremony options at this park! Get married by Fall Creek Falls, a 256-foot waterfall or at the base of the 95-foot tall Piney Creek Falls. Or exchange vows at bluffs like Rocky Point Overlook, which has an exposed cliff that looks northward across the Cane Creek Gorge. Hold your reception at the Fall Creek Falls Inn, which offers panoramic views of Fall Creek Falls Lake. Staying the weekend? Tee off at the park’s 18-hole golf course! For information about planning your wedding at a state park in Tennessee, submit an Event Information Request Form or call Cassie Rapert (Group Sales Manager) at 615-920-3432.

Palmetto Island State Park, Louisiana

Palmetto Island State Park is perfect for those couples looking for a true southern Louisiana wedding. Located on the Vermillion River, the park’s beauty comes from its interior lagoons and coastal forestland that is abundant with palmettos. A great location for larger wedding parties, reserve the park’s visitor center to host your reception.

Garden Wedding

Holding your wedding at one of these state parks means you won’t need to fuss about floral arrangements. And don’t worry about elaborate décor! The historic estates found at these parks will give your wedding all romantic, vintage flair it needs.

Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine

Once the summer retreat for New England’s poets, writers, and artists, the historic Hamilton House and gardens at Vaughan Woods State Park are a fully-realized romantic vision. The estate and perennial gardens are found atop a hillock that overlooks the Salmon River. Different flowers bloom throughout the spring and summer. Vaughan Woods State Park is perfect for engagement photos, too!

Say “I do” at the picturesque Hamilton House & Gardens [Image: www.historicnewengland.org]

Say “I do” at the picturesque Hamilton House & Gardens in Maine. [Image: www.historicnewengland.org]

Ridley Creek State Park, Pennsylvania

If you’re looking for a grand entrance, look no further than Ridley Creek State Park’s magnificent Hunting Hill Mansion. Originally, a stone farmhouse built in the late 1700s, the Jeffords family modified the estate into an English Tudor-style mansion-house in 1914, adding a ballroom and grand staircase room. The grounds are just as stately as the stone façade mansion, including several formal gardens, horse stables, tennis yard and scenic overlook. We recommend getting hitched in the formal gardens and then kicking up your heels in the ballroom.

Saint Edward State Park, Washington

Once a Catholic seminary, the stately architecture and beautiful shoreline make Saint Edward State Park an immensely popular wedding venue. The Grotto is a charming garden alcove surrounded by woods, just the place for an intimate wedding ceremony. Hold your reception at the park’s Grand Dining Hall. This beautiful space has floor-to-ceiling arched windows, dance floor, and glass chandeliers, a perfect balance of elegance and function.

Eclectic Wedding

An outdoor wedding is one thing. An outdoor wedding with mermaids, that’s a whole other thing! Give your wedding that much more character by having it at one of these three parks.

Mermaids at a wedding [Image: marrymetampabay.com]

Image: marrymetampabay.com

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Florida

Complete your tropical wedding with a few special guests: the world famous Weeki Wachee mermaids! For more than 60 years, the mermaid show has enchanted thousands of visitors to the park. Exchange vows at the Mermaid Theater, which dips 16 feet below the surface of the park’s legendary spring. Occasionally, native wildlife, such as turtles, fish, manatees, otters, and every now and then an alligator swim alongside the mermaids in the spring!

Bannack State Park, Montana

Dreaming of a gold rush wedding? The Old West lives on at Bannack State Park, the site of Montana’s first major gold discovery in 1862. This historical landmark includes 50 well-preserved buildings that line Main Street of the ghost town. At different times of the year, the park hosts historical re-enactments. In stark relief next to Montana’s open countryside, this ghost town makes for some stunner wedding photography.

Get hitched in Bannack State Park’s ghost town [Image: somethingblue22.blogspot.com]

Get hitched in a ghost town! [Image: somethingblue22.blogspot.com]

Maudslay State Park, Massachusetts

With its plethora of gardens, Maudslay State Park is an excellent late spring and summer venue. However, Maudslay’s haunted-look in the fall is perfect for couples planning a Halloween-themed wedding. In addition to the pet cemetery and remains of the estate’s original mansion, there are rumors that the park is haunted by a few spirits. Fall foliage combined with looming pines that line the paths of the once grand estate hit just the right gothic note in September and October. Hold your ceremony outdoors in the gardens and then move the party indoors to the park’s historic barn, which boasts high ceilings, large windows and rustic charm.

Share your outdoor wedding pics with us on Instagram and Facebook!

November Events Before the Snow Falls

Just because the temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean that there aren’t great outdoor November events at the state parks. From a buffalo auction to a rifle frolic, there’s plenty to do before the snow falls!

Florida

A retro, red trailer parked at a campground

Get ready to party with some Tin Can Tourists at the Vintage RV Show! [Image: www.messynessychic.com]

8th Annual Vintage RV Show
Koreshan State Historic Site
November 1, 2014

Before you winterize your RV, come out and see what RV’ing looked like years ago! At Koreshan State Historic Site’s 8th Annual Vintage RV Show, co-mingle with a thousand other RV enthusiasts and check out the wonderful and often quirky vintage RVs on display. There will also be quite a few vintage cars to check out, too. Reserve a campsite, so you can spend the weekend among fellow travelers.

Kentucky

Men dressed in period clothing carry rifles

Kentucky Riflemen [Image: parks.ky.gov]

8th Annual Tanner Station Rifle Frolic
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park
Nov 1 & 2, 2014

We hope you’re enjoying our list of November events. Our next event takes you to Kentucky for the 8th Annual Tanner Station Rifle Frolic held at Blue Licks Battlefield State Park. This event celebrates the Kentucky flintlock rifle. In the 1780s, flintlock rifles were an essential tool used by early Kentucky settlers. This premier living history event hosts exciting, historically accurate matches that attract the best traditional flintlock shooters. High-quality prizes are awarded to winners, such as handmade knives, powder horns, and tomahawks. Many participants wear clothing that was typically worn during the Kentucky settlement period. Staff will be on hand to answer any history questions you may have. There is period camping for both vendors and participants on the grounds of Tanner’s Station. Modern camping is available at Blue Licks Battlefield State Park.

Delaware

Steamin’ Day
Auburn Heights Preserve
November 2, 2014

People ride a Stanley Steamer over a bridge

Take a ride on a Stanley Steamer [Image: northdelawhere.happeningmag.com]

Celebrating the magical age of steam, don’t miss the last Steamin’ Day of the year at Auburn Heights Preserve. Steamin’ Days features steam-powered automobiles and the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley steam cars. From the vintage popper, pick up a bag of fresh steam-popped popcorn, and watch the Firing Up Demonstration to see just how the Stanley cars are put in motion. Then, hop on for a historic ride in one of the antique automobiles. The Marshall Steam Museum offers a hands-on engine display, activities for the kids, and a working 1930s Lionel electric trains display. There are also tours of the antique-furnished Auburn Heights mansion, and rides along the Auburn Valley Railroad.

Tennessee

150th Anniversary Battle of Johnsonville
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park and
Johnsonville State Historic Park
October 31 – November 5, 2014

Union soldier shows visitors currency

Image: press.tnvacation.com

Not just for history buffs, the Anniversary Battle of Johnsonville held at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park  and Johnsonville State Park has something for everyone. On November 4, 1864, Confederate troops under Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked the Union supply base at Johnsonville, causing immense damage to Union artillery and transports. This Civil War battle will be commemorated with cannon fire, artillery and infantry firing demonstrations, period civilian activities, and cavalry demonstrations. The park will recreate a 19th century Halloween; near the Crockett Cemetery, experience the same storytelling and fortune-telling games the troops told and played by the campfire. Other weekend activities will include pontoon boat rides, Civil War art, and BBQ.

Georgia

Syrup Makin’ Time on the Plantation
Jarrell Plantation Historic Site
November 8, 2014

A syrup-making demonstration using an old mill

Making syrup from sugar cane [Image: jcnews.com]

In the red clay hills of Georgia, step back in time and enjoy a traditional syrup cookoff at Jarrell Plantation Historic Site. The entire process of crushing and cooking the sugar cane with a steam engine and then boiling the juice can take around six hours. Spend some of that time watching the sugaring demonstrations, and sampling the sugar juice and stalks. Stroll through the plantation, and watch as volunteers dressed in period clothing demonstrate various farm tasks, such as woodstove cooking, storytelling, crafting, and tending farm animals. Jarrell Plantation is a great example of a “middle class” Southern plantation, with many of the original buildings and artifacts of the Jarrell family still intact. Explore the historic cotton plantation houses, sawmill, gristmill, blacksmith and carpenter shops, gardens and visitor center.

South Dakota

Fall Buffalo Auction
Custer State Park
November 15, 2014

People bid on a wild buffalo in a corral--one of the greatest November events

Name your price at the Buffalo Auction [Image: gfp.sd.gov]

Looking to start your own buffalo herd? Earlier this fall, there was a rousing bison round-up at Custer State Park. Now, the park will auction off a portion of their herd, between 250 and 400 head. By auctioning off a portion of the herd to the general public, the park ensures that herd numbers are kept in balance with available rangeland forage. Funds from the auction all support the state park system. The auction includes calves, heifers, bred heifers, mature cows and bulls, and even wild burros.

Suggested Gear List:

  • Binoculars
  • Backpacks
  • Camera
  • Hats

Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and much more!

The Best Halloween Scary Stories

Everybody loves a good, scary, blood-curdling Halloween story to tell around the campfire. We’ve already given you the low down on Halloween Haunted Hikes and told you where to trick or treat in state parks. Now, we’re dishing out scary tales to tell next time you’re camping out at night.

Every year, our Facebook pages or emails are flooded with urban myths and other scary stories in preparation for the upcoming holiday.Reddit asked users to post the scariest two-sentence, and, boy, were they scary. We gathered some of the best of these two-sentence scary stories users submitted.

Here are a few of our favorite scary stories!

Comparitively Sane

“You hear your mom calling you into the kitchen. As you are heading down the stairs, you hear a whisper from the closet saying, “Don’t go down there, honey, I heard it, too.”

scary stories

Image: www.dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com

JustAnotherMuffledVo

“I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy, check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy, there’s somebody on my bed.”

scary stories

Image: www.rarapop.files.wordpress.com

Hangukbrian

“I always thought my cat had a staring problem – she always seemed fixated on my face. Until one day, when I realized that she was always looking just behind me.”

scary stories

Image: www.zastavki.com

Calamitosity

“She asked why I was breathing so heavily. I wasn’t.”

scary stories

Image: img2.wikia.nocookie.net

Ravn000

“It’s been watching me for hours now… Sometimes I catch glimpses of its reflection on the computer screen, but I dare not turn around…”

scary stories

Image: www.aaronwilliams.tv

namelessuser

“After so many years living alone in this large house I came to a startling revelation. In this time I had closed far more doors than I had opened.”

scary stories

Image: www.doubtfulnewscom.c.presscdn.com

madamimadamimadam

scary stories

Image: www.doubtfulnewscom.c.presscdn.com

“You get home, tired after a long day’s work and ready for a relaxing night alone. You reach for the light switch, but another hand is already there.”

Halloween Costumes: Nature and Fantasy

Halloween is a couple weeks away, but for anyone creating their costumes from scratch it means planning ahead, rummaging through closets, borrowing from friends, and going to thrift stores. After all what is Halloween without a treasure hunt to create your own version of classic characters. If you’re still scratching your head for ideas, here are some nature and fantasy-inspired Halloween costumes.

Artemis is the ancient Greek deity of the hunt, wilderness, and childbirth. She is also known to be close to women and children. In classic statues she is depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows, along with a friend deer, a sacred animal, since it was her first capture. When channeling Artemis one needs to be ethereal, wise, caring, and close to nature. Her classic portrayal is simple.  You’ll need: a head piece, hair pins, simple makeup, light cream-colored or white dress, romanesque sandals, and a waist belt. Extras: a deer, lyre, and gold bracelets.

Image: www.museumsyndicate.com

Image: www.museumsyndicate.com

Gandalf is the most recognizable wizard from J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. There are other wizards: Samuran, Radagast, and the Blue Wizards, but Gandalf is known for his wisdom, courage and beautiful language that inspires, so the wearer of this costume needs to possess these qualities. He also communicates with animals, some who save him from danger. For the basic Gandalf the Grey costume: Layer a cloak, robe, gray belt and a light satchel. And don’t forget to add the white hair and the white beard! Also a walking stick and the famous gray hat. Extra: mittens, a sword, pipe, and a gray scarf. Make your finger nails as dirty as you want them. This guy is hiking, horseback riding and killing orcs; he’s not suppose to be super clean.

 

Tomb Raider’ s Lara Croft of the reboot game is based on the origin stories. This newer version released last year features a realistic touch to the classic adventure gal. Unlike the previous version, Lara Croft’s outfit is wearable for all, and you can even add your own touches by adding less or more tears and blood to your clothes and skin. Play the archaeologist exploring the kingdom of Yamata (Japan) in a true survivalist outfit by wearing: a gray tank top, cargo pants, boots, plus arm and leg bandages.  Extras: bow and arrows, firearms, belt and gun holsters, archery glove, ax, among others.

 

Rick Deckard from the dystopian film, Blade Runner is a fun part to play; he’s always in motion, either chasing someone or being chased, yet has time to be reflective. Though the film is purely science fiction, it does deal with themes about human nature and morality. Rick Deckard is a veteran police officer hunting down replicants (androids), who escaped a space colony, and are illegally hiding on earth. Deckard is faced with a choice of whether or not to destroy a replicant who shows human empathy. Deckard wears: a trench coat, deckard-type shirt and tie, brown dockers, brown belt, black sneakers or shoes. Extras: pistol, holster and inside jacket.

 

Tauriel is a woodland Elf whose name means “daughter of Mirkwood.” She appeared in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug for the first time, which confused some fans since she didn’t originate from J.R.R. Tolkien’s world. That being said, it’s a wonderful creation that adds a much needed female character to the series. From what we know about her, she is adventurous, impulsive and rebellious. She doesn’t always follow the social order of the Elves or listen to her elders, but follows her young 600-year-old mind. Cosplaying as Tauriel requires time and determination! She has stark auburn hair with a braid design. She wears: a long green cloak over a green shirt, arm braces, brown boots, brown leggings, and carries a bow & arrow. Extras: Elf ears, leather bodice and two daggers.

 

When you’re ready to wear your nature-fantasy costume, check these haunted hikes and trick-o-treating events! For more information on Halloween festivities see the Events Calendar in the Pocket Ranger® app.

Halloween Camping Recipes

The season of autumn has arrived and Halloween is in a few weeks, which means fall camping season is here! What better way to spend Halloween than camping outdoors? Here are a few spooky Halloween camping recipes to have your family screaming for more!

Marshmallow Witches Recipe

Courtesy of Tasteofhome.com

Halloween camping recipes with three marshmallow witches on a red plate

Image: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/118993615124823337/

This recipe is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. It takes 30 minutes to assemble and you can have the kids join in to help you. This recipe serves 12.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vanilla frosting
  • 36 miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 1 drop each of green, red and yellow food coloring (optional)
  • ¼ cup flaked coconut
  • 12 chocolate wafers
  • 12 miniature peanut butter cups
  • 12 milk chocolate kisses

Directions

  1. For the face of the witch, place a small amount of frosting on the bottom of the three chocolate chips, then press two for eyes and one for the nose onto the marshmallow.
  2. For hair, combine green food coloring and a drop of water in a small re-sealable plastic bag; add coconut and shake well. Spread a small amount of frosting on sides of marshmallows; press coconut hair into frosting. Then, place 3 tablespoons of frosting in a small heavy-duty, re-sealable plastic bag. Tint frosting orange by adding red and yellow food coloring. Set aside.
  3. For hats, spread some of the remaining frosting in the center of the chocolate wafers; press peanut butter cups upside down into frosting. Lightly spread bottoms of chocolate kisses with frosting and place on peanut butter cups. Cut a small hole in the corner of pastry or plastic bag and insert a small star tip. Fill the bag with frosting and make stars around the base of each peanut butter cup. To each witch, secure a hat to with a dab of frosting.

 Monster Claws

 Courtesy of Kraftrecipes.com

Chicken fingers monster claws on a plate with sauce

Image: www.kraftrecipes.com

Get a spook out of these crispy chicken fingers! Total cooking time is only 30 minutes and this recipe serves 4. (Recipe can be altered to serve more.)

Ingredients

  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise in half
  • 1 packet of Shake ‘N Bake Extra Crispy Seasoned Coating mix
  • ¼ red pepper, cut into 8 triangular pieces
  • ½ cup barbeque sauce (or any sauce of your preference)

Directions:

  1. Heat up your outdoor grill. (If you are in an RV, heat oven to 400ºF degrees.)
  2. Coat chicken with coating mix as directed on package. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until chicken is done.
  4. Make ½ inch slit in thinner end of chicken strip; insert red pepper triangle in slit for the monster’s claw.
  5. Serve with your choice of sauce.

 

Pizza Mummies

 Courtesy of Spoonful.com

Several pizza mummies on a platter

Image: www.aflexiblelife.com

Add this to your all-time “Favorite Halloween Camping Recipes” list because it only takes 10 minutes, and you can alter the ingredients to make how much is needed.

Ingredients

  • English muffins
  • Pizza sauce
  • Black Olives
  • Scallions
  • Red or green pepper
  • Cheese sticks or slices

Directions

  1. Heat up your grill. (If you are in an RV, heat oven to 350ºF degrees.) For each mummy, spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin.
  2. Set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green or red pepper for pupils.
  3. Lay strips of cheese across the muffin for the mummy’s wrappings.
  4. Bake or grill pizzas for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasted.
Campground decorated for Halloween with tombstones and spiderwebs

Image: halloweencamping.com

Download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to choose a state park that offers camping. Use the app’s Events Calendar to see which state park near you is hosting a Halloween and trick-or-treating event for campers!

Halloween Haunted Hikes

Looking for your own Blair Witch Project experience this October? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a few of the best haunted hikes at the state and national parks, complete with monsters, ghosts, and chilling landscapes.

Creepy stick figures hang from the trees in the Blair Witch Project

Image: tumblr.com

Haunted Hikes

Wharton State Forest (New Jersey)

A sign warns that these woods are the home of the Jersey Devil

Enter if you dare! [Image: nxphoto.wordpress.com]

For three hundred years, people have reported sightings of the Jersey Devil. Described as a kangaroo-like creature with leathery wings, sharp talons and the head of a goat, the Jersey Devil roams the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. Legend says that this monster was born to Mother Leeds in 1735. Mother Leeds had a brood of 12 children, and when she discovered she was pregnant with her 13th, she cried, “Let this one be a devil!” Soon after being born, the baby transformed into a devil, quickly dispatching Mother Leeds and her many children thanks to its razor-sharp claws. More recent sightings include strange tracks and blood-curdling wails coming from woods and bogs in the Pine Barrens. In 2007, a man insists he saw a creature with a horse head and bat-like wings within the Wharton State Forest. Trek down Wharton’s Batona Trail for your own possible UBE (unidentified biological entity) encounter.

Maudslay State Park (Massachusetts)

An apparition runs through Maudslay State Park

Maudslay is Haunted! [Image: theaterintheopen.org]

Maudslay State Park was once the estate of the old English family, the Moseleys. Two beautiful manor homes and a gothic wooden castle were once on the property, but after a series of fires, these structures burned to the ground. So, what’s creepy about the place? Without the mansions, the layout of the park is disorienting; trails unexpectedly change, tall landscaped bushes crowd in on you, not to mention there’s a large, yawning opening to the old root cellar, reminiscent of the lair of Stephen King‘s It. The sprawling gardens themselves, while beautiful and lush in the spring and summer, take on an eerie tone in the late fall. There is a pet cemetery near the site of the old mansions, complete with headstones scrawled with pet names. It is also said that a former caretaker haunts the park. To celebrate Halloween, the park holds its annual Maudslay is Haunted event, which features a macabre walk through the park. If you’d rather go it alone, bring along Fido to keep you company on this perfectly ghostly stroll.

Olympic National Park (Washington)

A creepy fog veils Lake Crescent

Is that fog or are ghosts gathering over Lake Crescent? [Image: www.kaleberg.com]

Olympic National Park has gained some vampiric notoriety since being the backdrop for the Twilight series. Whether you’re a Twilight fan or a Sasquatch seeker, head to the Hoh River Trail. With huge trees towering overhead and green moss thickly carpeting the woodland floor, this primeval rainforest seems like the perfect habitat for mythical creatures of all kinds. Explore some of Hoh River Trail’s 35 miles on a rainy day for the ultimate fantastical experience.

If lake spirits are more your thing, trek over to the mysterious, crystal-clear waters of Lake Crescent. On a still day, you can peer 40 feet into its depths, but the heart of Lake Crescent plunges to pitch-black depths of over 600 feet! There are many tales of travelers meeting untimely, watery ends at Lake Crescent, and native lore speaks of how the Klallam tribe once conjured evil spirits here. In 1940, the body of 30-year old Hallie Latham Illingworth was found by fisherman. Hallie had been murdered three years earlier, and her body sunk into the icy depths of the lake. Through a process called saponification, her corpse washed ashore mummified. Hallie is now said to be the Lady of the Lake that haunts Lake Crescent. For possible ghost sightings, hike or mountain bike the 9-mile Spruce Railroad Trail that circles this beautiful but sinister waterbody.

Sleepy Hollow (New York)

A reenactment of the Headless Horsemen of Sleepy Hollow

The Headless Horsemen of Sleepy Hollow [Image: www.sleepyholloween.org]

The quiet, but infamous village of Sleepy Hollow is located on the banks of the Hudson River in Westchester County. This tiny town was the setting for Washington Irving’s famous ghost story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” In Irving’s tale, schoolmaster Ichabod Crane encounters a headless horseman while riding home through the woods late one night. Although his horse and coat were discovered by villagers the next morning, Ichabod Crane was never seen in Sleepy Hollow again. On weekends throughout October, there are tours of Sleepy Hollow, including a reenactment of Ichabod’s harrowing ride. Luckily, you have something that Ichabod Crane didn’t have: Pocket Ranger®’s Official Friends of Westchester County Parks app. With features like Waypoint Marking and Alert (safety communication), you’ll never be wholly lost in those haunted woods.

Big Ridge State Park (Tennessee)

A sign with many creepy trail names for haunted hikes at Blue Ridge State Park

So many creepy paths… Which to follow first? [Image: hikinghot.blogspot.com]

The Ghost House Trail that loops through Blue Ridge State Park is rife with supernatural activity. From Indian Rock, where settler Peter Graves was scalped to the deeper woods where a young “witch” was purportedly hung, the trail has plenty to be apprehensive about. Most of the ghost stories center around the old Hutchinson home, now just ruins surrounded by eerie, quaking pines. In the late 1800s, the Hutchinson daughter, Mary died of tuberculosis. At the exact moment that she passed, visitors making their way to the house heard a dog run towards them. Raising their lanterns, there was no dog to be found. Along with the phantom dog that runs loose on the trail, Mary is sometimes heard crying near the ruins. Her father’s specter has been known to visit campfires in the area. Besides the Hutchinson house, spirits are also said to gather around the ruins of the gristmill, and others have caught ghostly orbs on camera when visiting the park’s Norton Cemetery. If you’re too afraid to go it alone, the park offers guided night hikes of the Ghost House Trail throughout October. These hikes will hit up the trail’s notorious, spooky spots, while rangers share their own tales of terror.

Kettle Moraine State Forest – Lapham Peak Unit (Wisconsin)

Lit jack-o-lanterns light the way on the Fright Hike at Lapham Peak

Image: bike-waukesha.blogspot.com

Dates: October 24 & 25th, 2014
The best way to burn off all the sugar from the Halloween candy you’ve been inhaling is to sign up for the annual Fright Hike at Lapham Peak in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. On this one-mile, eerie hike, watch out for ghouls and demons wandering the woods. Flashlights are optional. After surviving the hike, warm up by the witches’ bonfire and listen to ghost stories and live music. There’ll be frightfully good things to nibble and sip, like popcorn, hot dogs, and hot cocoa. If you’re feeling extra brave, come back the next night and do the Fright Hike all over again.

Suggested Gear List

All of these items and more can be found at Pocket Ranger®’s Gear Store.