Dracula, Frankenstein and other heroes of the horrors will be on hand and ghouls and goblins will once again be found in a haunted graveyard and aboard a haunted hayride. For October chills and thrills, few places can compete with the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut. Family fun can be found in the Halloween-happy city of Bristol; with the 18th and 19th century spirits of Woodbury telling their tales in that town's Ancient Burying Grounds; and more spirits will be found on the Haunted Trail walk at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington. Nor do kids have all the fun; there is an adults-only dinner and "devilish scavenger hunt" on the agenda in Torrington. Contacts for all the events are found in the calendar below.
The Witch's Dungeon
Zenobia, the Gypsy Witch will be stirring an evil brew and Nosferatu, the Vampire, from a classic 1922 horror film, will be joining the eerie crew when Bristol's Witches Dungeon Movie Museum creaks opens for the 41st year in October. The museum features life-size replicas of heroes of the horrors such as Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, shown in dioramas based on vintage cinema thrillers. The heads are based on life-casts of the actual actors; sets and clothing are authentic to the era. Special voice-tracks by Vincent Price, Mark Hamill and John Agar bring the dioramas to life. Zenobia has a special soundtrack by June Foray, who did voices for many Disney and Warner Brothers cartoon characters and was the voice for a series of witches as well as for Rocky on TV's Rocky and Bulwinkle show.
The Museum, which is not recommended for children under age 7, will be open weekends beginning October 14, and every day October 27-31. Special guests this year will be Sara Karloff, daughter of the famous actor, and Bill Diamond and the puppets of "Monster TV." A preview of the museum's life size figures and prop treasures will be on display at the Hollywood Horrors weekend at the Warner Theater in Torrington September 29 and 30, where the original Frankenstein and Dracula films will be shown along with the documentary The Witch?s Dungeon, 40 Years of Chills, made last year in honor of the museum?s anniversary.
The Haunted Graveyard
This is the ninth year for the Haunted Graveyard, with five haunted houses and a graveyard linked by a labyrinth of terrifying trails opening on September 28 at Bristol's Lake Compounce Family Theme Park. Among the spine-tingling features on the 45-minute walk through the Haunted Graveyard are the Castle Vampire, where all manner of creatures descend upon unknowing visitors, and the Catacombs, where bones and broken altars litter the deep cavern.
Except for Halloween night, all of the park's rides will be operating with appropriately eerie added special effects for the season. Part of the proceeds from the Haunted Graveyard is donated to Juvenile Diabetes Research. Park gates open and rides begin at 5:00 p.m. each evening until 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 10:00 p.m. on Sundays. The Haunted Graveyard will begin at dusk. The park will be open every weekend (except Sunday, Sept. 30) through October 28, 2007. The Haunted Graveyard only will be open on Halloween night.
Another popular Bristol family event is the annual Haunted Hay Ride at the Indian Rock Nature Preserve. This event is perfect for children ages seven and up. It features an hour's ride through the dark and mysterious trails of the preserve, followed by activities for children, teens, and families. Rides will be held on Friday and Saturday nights Oct. 12 and 13, 19 and 20 and 26 and 27 from 7 p.m. ? 9 p.m.
A happening to delight all ages is the annual Halloween Party held at Bristol's New England Carousel Museum, scheduled for Wednesday, October 31 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Activities will include Halloween games, tricks and treats and a children's costume contest. Those who want to make their own original costumes can sign up for the Spookin' Fun Costumes workshop with artist Anne Cubberly on Saturday, October 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield. Phone (203) 438-4519, or register online at www.aldrichart.org.
A final possibility for family fun is the Haunted Trail Walk on Friday October 26 at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington. This guided half-mile walk is offered several times between 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. and ends with cider, popcorn and marshmallows roasted over the fire at the Institute's Indian Village. The fee is $6 for adults, $4 for children.
The 6th Annual All Hollow's Eve event in Woodbury will take place on Saturday, October 27. Candlelight tours led by spookily clad 18th and 19th century spirits of Woodbury will wind through the town's Ancient Burying Grounds, where citizens of Old Woodbury will be on hand as storytellers. The evening's historic festivities include a tour of the Hurd House Museum, the earliest house in Litchfield County, and a spooky tour of the 1750 Glebe House Museum with refreshments. Entrants to the Glebe House's annual Scarecrow Contest will be lining the museum's Hollow Road, with the winner to be announced at the start of the All Hollow's activities.
For Grown-ups Only
Halloween fun in the Litchfield Hills isn't limited to kids. On October 30 at 6:30 p.m. Cuisine with Jill Nicolson in Torrington will offer a Mischief Night Party and Scavenger Hunt. Guests will enjoy dinner and drinks including a Ghoulish Martini, then will break into teams and go into town for a Devilish Scavenger hunt with Prizes for the top 3 teams..
HAUNTED HAPPENINGS IN THE LITCHFIELD HILLS
September 28-October 28, and October 31. Haunted Graveyard, Lake Compounce Family Theme Park, 822 Lake Avenue, Bristol. (860) 583-3300, www.hauntedgraveyard.com.Park Friday to Sunday, gates open and rides begin at 5:00 p.m., open until 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10:00 p.m. Sunday (closed September 30) The Haunted Graveyard begins at dusk. No rides open on October 31. Admission after 5 p.m., $17.95
September 29-30: Hollywood Horrors, film classics, Warner Theatre, 68 Main Street, Torrington, (860) 489-7180, www.warnertheatre.org.
October 12-14, 19-21, 27-31:Witches Dungeon Movie Museum, Witches Dungeon Movie Museum, 90 Battle Street, Bristol, (860) 583-8306, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.. $1 donation. www.preservehollywood.org
October 12-13, 19-20, 26-27: Haunted Hayride, Indian Rock Nature Preserve, Bristol, 7 to 9 p.m., (860) 583-1234 . www.elcct.org. Friday and Saturday night. (860) 583-1234, www.elcct.org $10.
October 26: Haunted Trail Walk, Institute for American Indian Studies, 38 Curtis Road (off Route 199,)Washington. (860) 868-0518; www.birdstone.org. October 26 . 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Adults, $6, children, $4
October 27: All Hollows Eve, candlelight graveyard and house tours, Glebe House Museum, 49 Hollow Road off Route 6, Woodbury, (203) 735-1908, www.theglebehouse.org. October 27, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. $25 per family. Because tour space is limited early reservations are advised.
October 27: Spookin' Fun Costumes workshop, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 258 Main Street, Ridgefield, (203) 438-4519, www.aldrichart.org, October 27 1 to 4 p.m. $30 per family; fee includes all costume materials.
October 30: Mischief Night Party and Scavenger Hunt, Cooking with Jill Nicolson, 184 South Main Street, Torrington, (860) 489-1003, www.cruisinewithjill.com. $75
October 31 Halloween Party, New England Carousel Museum, 95 Riverside Avenue, Bristol, (860) 585-5411,www.thecarouselmuseum.org. 4:30 p.m.-6 pm. adults, $5, children, $2.50