Monday, September 8, 2014

Haunted Halloween Events in Northern Virginia

Recently, I wrote about family fun fall festivals in Northern Virginia, however, if scary or Halloween-themed events are your thing, Northern Virginia has many annual haunts going on. Some will make you scare your pants off, while others are designed to just give you a chill. All are planned with good old-fashioned fun in mind. In Northern Virginia the most popular kinds of Halloween events are haunted forests, ghost tours and festivals (the events at the end are great for younger kids).

Haunted Forests and Fields

Haunted forests are a popular mode of scare in NoVa and there are several haunts to check out if you are the type who loves a good fright. Unlike the ghost tours happening this time of year, most of the haunted forests do not seem to be rooted in history, but are designed for pure Halloween fun.

Halloween Woods


These woods are located in Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, Va. and are advertised as being pretty scary (younger kids are not recommended for this tour). Visitors should prepare to be scared with this one. There is a background story as to why these woods are haunted and the tale is pretty creepy. The scaring usually starts in early October. For visitor information and how to take this tour please visit the Halloween Woods website.

Cox Farms Field of Fear


Cox Farms is traditionally is a very popular seasonal place for families to go for its fall festival. In addition to daytime fun, there is the "Fields of Fear". For this haunted event, reservations are recommended since tickets are limited, but tickets can be bought on the same day. The frights typically start in late September. For more information, please visit the Cox Website for more information about the Cornnightmare, Haunted Hayride and much, much more. Cox also has daytime events more suited for younger kids or for those wanting the fun without the scare.

Wicked Woods Haunted Forest


This event takes place in Spotsylvania, and visitors walk through 1/4 mile of creepy woods. There is also "Insanitarium Asylum" and "Murder Manor". These tours, which start in early October, are not recommended for kids under the age of 12. Check out the Wicked Woods website for more information

Never know what might appear after the sun sets and the moon rises at some NoVa attractions

Ghost Tours


There are several recurring ghost tours located in the region, but during the Halloween season there are special events which are a bit different from standard tours. Most of the ghost tours are rooted in historical events or people. Here are a few good picks:

Footsteps to the Past

This tour is offered by an Alexandria historian group. The regular ghost tour that you can catch throughout the year is interesting, but in the fall season they list additional special events, including a special event which is a joint effort with the Potomac Valley Paranormal group that invites visitors to take an active role in a ghost hunt with real life ghost hunters and use paranormal investigation tools. Check out the Footsteps to the Past website for more details on seasonal events. 

Leesburg Ghost Tour


This tour is ongoing, but is a great idea for an evening in October. The tour takes you through downtown historic Leesburg and visitors can learn about the paranormal research, investigation and see paranormal tools that investigators use to aid them in their exploration. You can learn more about this tour on the Virginia Scientific Research Association website

Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tour


This tour is located in historic Fredericksburg and lasts for 90 minutes. The tour takes you through Fredericksburg to see haunted streets, buildings and visitors can learn all the ghostly tales this historic city holds. Check the Ghosts of Fredericksburg website for all the details on how to register for this tour.

Kid-Friendly Events

Pumpkin Village Fall Festival


Leesburg Animal Park is a fun place for kids at any time of the year, but for the Halloween season switches things up a bit. There's hay mazes, giant slides, a pumpkin patch, apples, cider, face painting, tractor rides, live entertainment (on weekends), a spooky pirate ship, and much more. This festival, which typically starts in mid to late September, was formerly known as "Pumpkinville". Check out the Pumpkin Village Fall Festival website for price information and other details.

Air & Scare at Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Museum


If you have younger kids, this event is definitely more suited than the above mentions. The event is a one day scare fest which traditionally lasts about 6 hours, and usually it takes place in late October.  Kids are encouraged to come in costume and enjoy indoor trick or treating, spooky science experiments, face painting and more. Please visit the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Air & Scare section of the museum's website for more information.

During the fall months and Halloween season, many people seek out events in the Northern Virginia area that highlight the spooky and ghostly aspects of Halloween. Northern Virginia is full of stories that relate to historical hauntings, ghostly and paranormal activity, so it's natural this region is such a popular spot for Halloween events.

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