History & Tourism

In Our Backyard: Ohio Halloween Chills And Thrills

7 Oct , 2021  

Special to 1812Blockhouse

Autumn has officially arrived once again bringing the anticipation of cooler days, colorful leaves, and crackling fires. However, nothing says fall better than the thrilling, chilling events in October to celebrate Halloween.

“October is a real treat in Ohio because we have so many amazing options for fall fright and family fun,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “Halloween-themed festivals, events and attractions all across the state will make it easy for people to safely celebrate the spirit of the season — and have a lot of fun.”

Have a spooky good time at Halloween festivals and events

  • Ohio’s two amusement parks are both well known for their Halloween celebrations. Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt and Cedar Point’s Haunt at HalloWeekends, which are both open on the weekends through October, give guests plenty to be frightened of besides the parks’ monster roller coasters. Both parks also host Tricks and Treats Fall Fest on select days; a perfect event for family friendly Halloween fun.
  • Central Ohio’s largest waterpark, Zoombezi Bay, has transformed into ZOMBIEzi Bay, featuring four haunted houses, two scare zones and other sinister surprises. The park is open Thursday through Sunday nights through October.
  • For one night only, on Oct. 23, Columbus will play host to HighBall Halloween, deemed “the nation’s most elaborate costume party.” This annual tradition, which started in 2008, includes a fashion show, a costume contest and musical performances.
  • The Ohio History Connection in Columbus is once again hosting its “All Hallows’ Eve” every Saturday night in October. Described as an evening of “old-fashioned Halloween fun,” the event features a retelling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by the bonfire, pumpkin carving, a masquerade party, strange characters roaming the village and more!
  • “Boo at the Zoo” and similar events return to the ClevelandColumbusCincinnatiToledo, and Akron zoos on multiple weekends in October with kid-friendly Halloween fun.  
  • In Williamsburg, just 30 miles east of Cincinnati, you’ll find All Hallows’ Eve Terror Town. Legend has it that awful horrors happened in this re-created Western-style town called Bravado. Guests will learn the terrible truth about what occurred as they interact with dozens of frightening characters who roam the town seeking their next victims.
  • Head over to Chillicothe and check out The Passion of Dracula at Haunted Mountain, located at the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre, home of the outdoor drama “Tecumseh.” This immersive theatrical production, set in the English countryside in 1911, follows three doctors in their quest to save the lovely heroine from the clutches of Count Dracula. 

Haunted Ohio: Visit these places if you dare

If you’re seeking a truly haunting experience, you can find it here in Ohio. Rumor has it that Ohio is home to all types of haunted places, from the lighthouse at Put-in-Bay and the jail in Licking County to the Ridges at Ohio University and the Franklin Castle in Cleveland. You can even stay in one of Ohio’s many haunted hotels and inns and eat at one of the many restaurants across the state where visitors claim to have seen apparitions and other paranormal activity.

The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield is considered one of the most famous haunted prisons in America. It has a long, documented history of paranormal activity and offers ghost hunts all year long. But if that’s not scary enough, visitors can also participate in Escape from Blood Prison, where freaky inmates create a bloodcurdling experience every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night in October.

“The Ohio State Reformatory is eerie enough even when it’s not Halloween, but we take frightening to the next level when we transform every nook and cranny of the facility into Blood Prison,” said Dan Smith, associate director at The Ohio State Reformatory. “Escape from Blood Prison is the only attraction in a real haunted prison.”

The reformatory is one of four haunted sites in Mansfield, making the city the self-proclaimed “Haunted Capital of Ohio.” The city is an ideal destination for investigators of paranormal activity as well as visitors who just love a good scare. Visit HauntedMansfield.com for more information.

Get lost in Ohio’s scenery

The Ohio. Find It Here. Fall in Ohio page offers hundreds of inspirational ideas for people to celebrate the season. It is the perfect place to go for those who prefer pumpkin spice and are looking for fall family fun.

  • Enjoying the fall foliage is a wonderful way to spend a day or weekend in Ohio. Ohio. Find It Here.’s “Experience Ohio’s Best Fall Foliage” blog lists 10 of the state’s most colorful places to visit.
  • Ohio’s state parks are beginning to burst with color. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Fall Color Report provides regular updates on the changing colors across the state along with accommodations ranging from campgrounds and cabins to resort lodges.
  • The annual “Fall Festival of Leaves” in Bainbridge, known as Leaf Country USA, takes place Oct. 15-17. It features a parade, arts and crafts, a car and tractor show, a log-sawing contest and directions for driving the four self-guided “Skyline Drive” scenic tours.
  • Other beautiful places to visit this fall are captured in “The Instagrammer’s Guide to Fall in Ohio.” From sunflower fields and apple orchards to covered bridges and pumpkin patches, these places provide extra scenic backdrops for creating wonderful photos — and special memories. 
  • Fall is the perfect time to get lost — in one of Ohio’s many wonderful corn mazes! Since corn is Ohio’s second largest crop, it’s not surprising that these mazes made of maize exist in nearly every part of the state. Here are five of the state’s top corn mazes.

For more Halloween activities, travel ideas and inspiration, visit Ohio.org. Follow @OhioFindItHere on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to share your Halloween and fall adventures with #FallinOhio and #OhioFindItHere.

Source: Ohio. Find It Here; Photo: Creative Commons License

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