By TOM LAVIS
Whether people are looking for frighteningly good fun or an entertaining family outing, the region boasts a number of Halloween-related activities.
Faranda’s Farm in Jerome is becoming a destination for autumn adventure.
The farm, located on Route 601, one-half mile west of Route 219, is peppered with pumpkins, hay bales and animals where visitors can enjoy a day of fun.
“Our motto is: ‘Where family memories are created,’ and we have been fulfilling that purpose for about 10 years,” said Philip Faranda, owner of the farm. “We see people who have been coming year after year to enjoy the things we have to offer.”
From hayrides to hay forts, there is something for all ages.
Faranda and his wife, Mary, continue to offer old favorites such as Big Jack, a 30-foot inflatable pumpkin that sits in a field and towers over the activities.
“We have a massive corn maze in the shape of a K-4 locomotive and a hay fort that features tunnels and jumps,” Faranda said. “We also concentrate on educational things, so the clues for the corn maze pertain to the Pennsylvania Railroad.”
This year’s educational theme is cows and milk production.
“We are lining up some experts to give the public an idea of how milk is produced,” Faranda said. “The barn is by far the most popular thing for our guests.”
Public hours are 4 p.m. to dusk Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to dusk on Saturdays and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $8 and groups can be accommodated by appointment.
Faranda suggests that visitors should bring a flashlight.
Vale Wood Farm
As the leaves begin to turn color, Vale Woods Farm near Loretto is hosting its annual Pumpkin Patch.
Beginning Saturday and running through Oct. 22, people will have an opportunity to pick their own pumpkins and enjoy apple dumplings, apple cider and pumpkin and apple pie ice cream. The farm will welcome visitors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
During the weekends, special family fun includes hayrides, a straw maze and a giant corn box.
Children can pet a calf and participate in interactive games.
Weekend admission is $1 per person. Children 2 years old and younger are admitted free.
Fall hayride tours are available from Oct. 9-20.
To get to the farm, take the Munster exit off Route 22 and turn toward Munster. Go straight through the blinking light onto Munster Road and follow the signs.
Weakland Farms presents Maze Madness through Oct. 29. The farm is located at 124 Munster Road, five miles off Route 22.
The maze is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 1 to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
“This is definitely the most difficult maze we have had in the three years the farm has been open,” said Joyce Moses of Portage, sister of farm owner Rick Weakland.
“Depending on the age, people seem to enjoy different activities. Small children love the straw maze and everyone seems to enjoy the hayrides.”
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Children 5 and under are admitted free.
Other activities include a corn maze, refreshments, pick-a-pumpkin, hayrides, campfires, hay maze, live entertainment and handmade quilts and crafts.
Huston’s’ Haunted Farmhouse
The ghosts of renegade Revolutionary War veterans haunt all those who dare to enter Huston’s Haunted Hollow near Rockwood.
The attraction is all in good fun and includes a haunted farmhouse, a hayride of horror, an evil corn maze and bonfire with refreshments.
Hauntings eventually came about when coal miners unearthed the remains of a Revolutionary War soldier and tossed them aside on a bony pile.
After that misstep, unexplained accidents befell the workers.
The attraction is located six miles south of Somerset on Route 281. Hauntings will be held from dusk to 11 p.m. each Friday and Saturday in October.
Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 10 and younger. Group discounts for 20 or more people are available.
For the second consecutive autumn, amusement-park fans, families and kids looking for an alternative to the more frightening events of the season will be treated to “Hallowboo” beginning Saturday at Idlewild Park in Ligonier.
Many of the park’s most popular rides and attractions in Olde Idlewild, Jumpin’ Jungle, Hootin’ Holler, Raccoon Lagoon and Story Book Forest will be redecorated in Halloween themes.
Also, a variety of family- friendly entertainment will be provided such as trick-or-treating throughout Story Book Forest; a walk-through hay-bale maze; mask making; the Haunted Hollow train ride; and two theme shows performed at various times three times a day.
Jeff Croushore, public relations and marketing manager, said rides and attractions take on a different look during “Hallowboo.”
“We transform the park into a fun, festive Halloween experience,” Croushore said. “While there may be a few attractions that appeal to those seeking a scare, most of ‘Hallowboo’ is a spooky and kooky adventure, suitable for kids of all ages.”
Spookier attractions include “Confusing Hilda’s,” an eerie house where guests see strange and unusual things and “The Parlor,” a tour of a creepy funeral home.
Concessions include fall favorites such as hot apple dumplings, cider and pumpkin ice cream.
“Hallowboo” is open from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 8, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29.
Story Book Forest will close at 5:30 p.m.
Admission is $15.95 for ages 3 and older (children 2 and younger get in free).
Information: (724) 238-3666.
The Ghosts of Staple Bend Tunnel
The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site will feature an evening of ghost stories.
Visitors will take a trolley ride back to the Staple Bend Tunnel and listen to the stories of the Portage Railroad as told by ghosts.
The event is free to the public but reservations are required because of limited seating.
Tours will be conducted at 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m. on Oct. 28.
Old Bedford Village
A covered bridge and a pioneer village serve as the perfect backdrop for some spooky Halloween entertainment.
A variety of activities are on tap as Old Bedford Village welcomes visitors to enjoy two murder-mystery evenings from 6 to 10 Saturday and
Oct. 14. There has been a murder and it’s up to visitors to interview suspects and pinpoint the killer.
It is recommended that visitors bring a flashlight.
“We try to scare people, but without the gore,” said Roger Kirwin, village executive director. “It’s all family entertainment, and parents should use their own judgment when it comes to including children at some of the events.”
But kids will delight at the village’s Pumpkinfest from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22.
“We will have plenty of activities for the children,” Kirwin said. “There will be games, face painting, buggy rides and a pumpkin pie-eating contest.”
Children ages 14 and younger are admitted free at Pumpkinfest.
The village is taken over by ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night during “Haunted Village Evenings” from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 27 and 28.
Each evening will include haunted houses, hayrides, and corn maze all for one price.
Admission for all evening entertainment is $6.
Kennywood Phantom Fright Nights 2006
Each fall, after Kennywood’s gates close for the season, the Phantom takes possession of the midway.
Visitors can experience three haunted mazes, plus Kennyville Cemetery and Gory Park.
The park is open from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. The park also is open from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 8.
Tickets for Phantom Fright Nights are $19.50 at Kennywood or $16.50 if purchased in advance at a participating Giant Eagle location.
Kennywood undergoes a complete transformation, with costumed actors roaming the paths, spooky music filling the air, classic horror movies playing, fog blanketing the park and every lightbulb in the park changed to a different color.
Chain saw-wielding ghouls jump out in the most unexpected places, and the traditional rides take on a spooky theme.
Guests are not permitted to wear masks, costume-style make-up or costumes at Phantom Fright Nights.
Kennywood does not recommend Phantom Fright Nights for children younger than 13, but all ages are admitted.
Kennywood Amusement Park is located at 4800 Kennywood Blvd. in West Mifflin.
Information: (412) 461-0500.
Seldom Seen Haunted Mine
To discover some subterranean ghouls, Seldom Seen Tourist Coal Mine near Patton will be conducting hauntings from 3 to 9 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15, 21 and 22 and 28 and 29.
The mine is located on Route 36, four miles north of Patton.
Admission is $5.
Information: 247-6305 or 674-8939.
Another underground adventure awaits visitors to Lincoln Caverns’ 23rd annual Ghosts & Goblins Tours from 11 a.m. to
5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from Friday through Oct. 28.
Visitors are offered one-hour family tours during those hours through two caverns, one natural and one haunted.
Full haunted tours are conducted from 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Lincoln Caverns are located on Route 22, three miles east of Huntingdon.
Tickets are available in advance or at the door.
Call 643-0268 for admission prices, group rates and advance ticket discounts.
By TOM LAVIS
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