ScaryBeat: You’ll Float, Too

Clown-filled, blood-soaked Halloween events — and some family-friendly frights.

click to enlarge Land of Illusion - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Land of Illusion


U.S.S. Nightmare

As a self-professed scaredy-cat, there is one comforting thought I’ve always had wandering through haunted houses: If they can’t touch you, then they’re not real. Well, if you’re brave enough, the U.S.S. Nightmare offers the option to make their nautical nightmare a tactile reality. For a few extra shillings ($40 instead of $20), you can become a part of the RIP Experience — a more intense undertaking of the usual haunted tour. It’s a hands-on walk-through, so if you level up, they will touch you and it will be creepy. Baring the flashing red pendant necklace that indicated I was a willing captive of the RIP Experience, I was immediately whisked into the series of 40 haunted scenes. I was first abruptly escorted into a crickity elevator where the abominable crew gave me the low-down on what to expect — an elaborate plot that rivaled the convolutedness of a Darren Aronofsky flick.

Surprisingly, there aren’t too many jump-scares in this house; it’s more of a perpetual psychological teardown, with gruesomely made-up characters and unsettlingly realistic special effects that will frighten even the bravest bilge rat. Bloodsucking vampires will offer you a vile of red liquid (Blood? Tomato juice?) to induct you into their clan; “Swamp water” will rise to your waist as you make your way through a maze overseen by Pennywise the clown; lunch ladies in a grimey galley will offer you the finest five-star dining of heads on a spit; and, if you’re lucky, you might have a ghostly encounter with Captain William S. Mitchell, the U.S.S. Nightmare’s dearly departed commander.

My recommendation? Pay the extra cash and upgrade to the RIP Experience. The necklace is your key to an untold world of horror that the characters will inflict on you — an opportunity that isn’t given to general admission crewmates. I’m not one for spoilers, but I will say this: Pay attention to the story the characters weave, because it might be your ticket to making it to shore alive. Wednesdays-Sundays through Oct. 29; 7-11 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31. Captain’s Extreme Tour Oct. 13 and 14, 20 and 21; Light’s On Matinee Oct. 29. $17 Wednesdays; $20 Thursday-Sunday; $28-$30 Fast Pass; $50 Front of Line; $40-$60 RIP Experience. U.S.S. Nightmare, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., — ERIN COUCH 

Land of Illusion

For starters, I do not like haunted houses. Nothing about them is appealing to me — the noises you hear, the unexpected characters that pop out and, worst of all, the sounds of the screams of those who enter before you do. No thanks. Reluctant on my part, I mustered up the courage and went to Land of Illusion: Haunted Scream Park in Middletown. With four haunted houses and one haunted trail in the same place, this was unlike any haunted house I have ever been to. On a social level, it was a great place to bring a group of friends because it has a bar, food vendors, live music and circus acts. Surrounded by what felt like a fun Halloweentown vibe, I was actually feeling pretty good when I initially arrived.

The first of the park’s four houses I ventured into was Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate. Decorated incredibly well — and boasting barely any room to breathe — this house is Land of Illusion’s “cult classic.” With deranged doctors operating on live humans, a butcher shop with pigs cut in half and pools of blood on the walls, I was in a state of panic. All of the houses operate under one overarching rule — actors cannot touch you — but they can do pretty much everything else. At one point, I could feel Dr. Psycho himself breathing down the back of my neck. The park’s three other houses are Killer Klowns, Temple of Terror and the VooDoo Bayou Shanty. Killer Klowns is exactly what it sounds like: Playing off the new It movie, it was the most heavily attended of all the houses on the night I visited. Temple of Terror was something right from the Aztec era, with wooden bridges, etched stones and floor tiles that shift under your feet.

After those two, I only had one more house to go: VooDoo Bayou Shanty. And I was horrified. Engulfed in a faux, steamy swamp, this house centered around themes of old mythical spells, potions and dark magic. At the end of the night, guests have the option of getting revenge on the creatures that haunted them, Walking Dead-style. The Zombie Sniper Patrol is themed like a marine mission: Guests are loaded up into a truck and sent out to “kill” all the zombies — aka shoot them with paintballs. Although not included with general admission, it’s worth the upcharge ($12.99 Fridays and Saturdays; $19.99 Sniper Patrol only). Fridays-Sundays through Nov. 4. $36.99; $53.99 Fast Pass; $24.99 Sundays; other ticket packages available. Land of Illusion, 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown, — ALISON BAXTER

The Dent Schoolhouse

Dent Schoolhouse is an adventure from start to finish. Based on a legend about missing children, a twisted janitor and an unsettling smell coming from the basement, this place is really supposed to be haunted and hosts ghost tours on Wednesdays. While my group and I were waiting to enter, we were surrounded by dead students with unusually chipper grins and bright eyes — like they knew that we were in for a treat. They had pale faces with dark under-eye circles and their clothes were ripped because — I found out after asking — they were stabbed to death. A little girl in line behind me asked if it hurt when they died and a dead boy replied with, “Why don’t you let me know?" One of the ghoulish kids even had “you’re next” carved into his cheek.

Dent Schoolhouse is said to be the scariest haunted attraction in Ohio, and I must say, I was impressed. Each room in the school was set up like an all-too-realistic horror movie scene, from the classroom and restroom to the cafeteria and boiler room in the basement. At one point, we were walking through the bathroom and busted pipes started spraying water on us. There were school children begging for us to play with them, the lunch lady asked to serve my liver and the kitchen cook called me “bite-sized.” Creepy.

There were also a lot of hidden surprises. Whenever I thought, “OK, there’s no one down this hallway,” the wall would slide down and someone would scream for help or reach their hand out to touch me. The clown portion of the schoolhouse was totally spooky. The clowns ranged in size but all had the same curling smile on their faces as they followed us around the room. Clowns have never been my thing so of course they took a particular interest in me. From beginning to end, I felt like I was really inside a schoolhouse from hell. It took about 20 minutes to get through, but that depends on how quickly you’re moving (I was moving at high speed). You can also purchase a “touch pass” if you’re feeling exceptionally brave — it allows the characters to interact with you a little more. Don’t be late to class… Wednesdays-Sundays through Oct. 29; 7:30-10 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31; 7:30 p.m.-midnight Nov. 3 and 4. Lights-Out Tour Nov. 3 and 4. Lights on Tour Oct. 29. Ghost Tours every Wednesday in October. $20 Sunday-Friday; $25 Saturday; $40 Fast Pass; $50 Front of Line; $20 Lights Off; $35 Lights Off touch Pass; $35 Ghost Tours. The Dent Schoolhouse, 5962 Harrison Ave., Dent, — KENNEDY PONDER

Brimstone Haunt

After the Springboro Haunted Hayride closed, Brimstone Haunt stepped in to fill its scary shoes. Home to two separate attractions, guests can opt to venture through Brimstone Kingdom haunted hayride or the Forgotten Forest (or both). The Kingdom was a prosperous place until it was laid bare by the curse of Brimstone Road. Now it is home to monsters, madmen and all other iterations of macabre characters whose main goal cause chaos on your one-mile ride. The Forgotten Forest, a higher-intensity scare experience, is a walk through a supernatural haunted wood — abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Ticket office opens 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. $13 Haunted Hayride; $10 Forgotten Forest; $20 combo. 472 Brimstone Road, Wilmington, Ohio,

Halloween Haunt at Kings Island

Ten haunted attractions, three outdoor scare zones and live shows featuring a host of inhuman creatures transform Kings Island into a foggy hodgepodge of fear every October. Each attraction features a different theme; if you’re looking to stay in this year’s prevalent clown motif, head to CarnEvil, a circus that never left town after their tent collapsed, trapping everyone inside — forever. Other attractions include a nausea-inducing Slaughter House; a deranged-doctor-filled Urgent Scare; KillMart, a convenience store gone to hell; and the board game-themed Board To Death. Take a break from haunted houses in a Fallout-esque, toxin-infused Wasteland scare zone. And if you still haven’t discovered what’s in the shed, take a ride on Mystic Timbers, the park’s newest wooden roller coaster (complete with ’80s-themed trains and music). Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 28. Tickets start at $31.99. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason,

Highway 50 Fright Field

This Frankensteinian cornfield and haunted woods returns for its fifth season of frights on a real 1830s farm near an actual Indian archaeological site — both of which are rumored to really be haunted. Keep an eye out for zombies on winding trails throughout the woods, and when the sun sets, try your luck at maneuvering a nighttime corn maze. New this year is a third attraction: Operation Termination Zombie Paintball, which arms you with 100 paintballs against a horde of zombies. But Highway 50 isn’t all scary — Fall Fun Days are held 10 a.m.-5 p.m. every Saturday in October, complete with pumpkins, gem mining and a daytime corn maze ($5). 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays in October. $12 adults; $10 kids. 11294 State Route 50, North Bend,

Lewisburg Haunted Cave

Descend into the underworld…literally. This haunted cave — the world’s longest haunted attraction — is located 80 feet below ground in the Lewisburg Limestone Mine and features 500 feet of haunted bridges. Learn more about the mine on a historic (and scare-free) wagon ride hosted by the Lewisburg Historical Society. Keep an eye out for some creepy critters — the cave is home to the largest brown bat population in Ohio. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. $17 adults; $8 children 10 and under; $8 wagon rides. 4392 Swishers Mill Road, Lewisburg,

The Mayhem Mansion

As legend has it, bootlegger Robert Haverford became rich during the Prohibition era, revealing in his illegal sales. But in 1933, when the ban on alcohol was lifted, instead of celebrating, Haverford was in turmoil because his only daughter Elizabeth had fallen gravely ill. That fall, Elizabeth died at the tender age of 8, sending her stoic father spiraling into a demented depression. When he invited the entire town over for her wake, he offered to open one of his finest casks of alcohol. As mourners imbibed the liquor, they began to fall ill. At the end of the night, everyone was dead save for Haverford himself. He committed suicide as his final act of the evening and when the police came, days later, they discovered a horrifying collection of bodies, decaying in different rooms of the mansion. Instead of removing the corpses, they simple boarded the home up, leaving the spirits, souls and rotting flesh inside. Allegedly actually haunted, this collection of gung-ho actors will attempt to keep you inside the house, like Haverford’s guests from decades ago. 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays; 7 p.m.-midnight Saturdays through October. $15; $10 ages 10 and under; $5 additional for Fast Pass. 13966 DeCoursey Pike, Morning View, Ky.,

Mount Healthy Haunted Hall

Experience 20 different scenes at this favorite local haunt, featuring a host of classic creatures like the Wolfman, Frankenstein and zombies. In addition to its central house, the hall is comprised of five tents, backyard areas and a swirling, brain-bending vortex. Popular scenes returning this year include the Hellavator, Satan and Bate’s Motel (Hey, Norman!). 8-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7-9 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 28. $10; $2 discount with canned good donation. 7700 Seward Ave., Mount Healthy,

Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride

Hold on tight: During this hellish hayride through a cornfield, riders are stalked and taunted by creatures hidden amongst the crops. Familiar faces like Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface and a bloodied take on Santa Claus appear alongside zombies, backwoodsmen, clowns and chainsaw-wielders. If the ride leaves you wanting for more farmland frights, take a jaunt through the onsite Farmer’s Revenge, an indoor attraction that challenges trespassers to escape a very displeased farmer. 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. $12 hayride; $10 Farmer’s Revenge; $20 combo ticket. 4172 Belleview Road, Petersburg, Ky.,

Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride

Hop on a bus straight outta hell and be trailed by fire-belching semis. Riders will venture through fog-filled tunnels, an abandoned mine, an eerie hallow and more, with peculiar creatures hitching rides along the way. Other onsite attractions include a corn maze, two indoor haunted houses and new this year is buried alive and a 4D coffin ride. 7:30 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. $25; $45 VIP speed pass; $20 Haunted Hallow only; $5 coffin ride. 1261 W. Dalton Road, Wilmington,


Monster Mash at Northside Yacht Club — Enjoy a night a boozing and music. The Halloween-themed night will have live music including Michale Graves of misfits, Crypt Seeker, Treason, and Bloodgate. This event is 18 and up. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12. $10 advance; $13 at the door. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside,

Cinema at Stanbery Park: Beetlejuice Whether this quintessential Tim Burton flick is your cup of tea or not, Stanbery Park is playing it on Friday the Thirteenth. Watching movie about a couple who recently realized that they’re actually ghosts and enlist in the help of a psychologically unstable demon to terrorize an unsuspecting family sounds like a pretty befitting way to celebrate the unluckiest day of the year. 8-9:30 p.m. Oct. 13. Free. Stanbery Park, 221 Oxford Ave., Mount Washington, searchable on Facebook.

Lingering Spirits Paranormal Investigation — Become a ghost hunter for one night only and figure out which spirits are lingering at Hillforest. 8 p.m.-midnight Oct. 14. $40 members; $50 non-members. Hillforest Victorian House Museum, 213 Fifth St., Aurora, Ind.,

Old West Fest: Halloween Ghost Town — Ever wanted to see a real ghost town? The Old West Festival is taking you back to in time to an eerie interpretation of this classic Western village. Be regaled with tales of the Wild West, join in on a family sing-along, catch a roping, whipping and spinning saloon show and watch a fake (but convincing) gun fight. 10-6 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15. $14.99 adults; $11.99 children. 1449 Greenbush Cobb Road, Williamsburg,

Murder Mystery Dinner Train — Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad is hosting an 8-mile round trip train ride through Warren Country full of mystery and mayhem. Mysterious characters will travel with you giving you clues to solve the murder mystery. Ride to a delicious buffet dinner and cash bar at the Golden Lamb, after which you’ll reboard the train and the murderer will be revealed. 6:15 p.m. Fridays through Oct. 27. $84.95. Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, 127 S. Mechanic St., Lebanon,

Zipping from Zombies at Camp Kern — Forget the living dead: By combining two of the most common rational fears — fear of the dark and fear of heights — things get really scary at Camp Kern’s Halloween zipline attraction. Arrive at a creepy 1820s house and scurry your way along the Little Miami River away from a hodgepodge of spooky creatures. Then, zip back to the real world under the light of an eerie Friday-the-Thirteenth moon. 6:30 p.m. Oct 13-14. $55. Camp Kern, 5291 State Rt. 350, Oregonia,

Fright Night Flicks at Washington Park — Grab a picnic blanket — and maybe your safety blanket from childhood — and watch some films in the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve. Build up your courage with a screening of Casper on Oct. 18 to prepare you for a bone-chilling viewing of The Ring on Oct. 25. Be warned: The plot involves a ghostly girl climbing out of a TV screen, so try not to imagine the horrifying possibilities that could arise with a theater-sized silver screen… 8-10 p.m. Oct. 18 and Oct. 25. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

HallowEve Brew Bash — With the return of our favorite Cincy breweries’ autumnal drafts — like MadTree’s The Great Pumpcan and Braxton’s October Fuel —  there needs to be a venue where we can have every one of these brews at our fingertips. Fortunately, Ault Park is hosting the HallowEve Brew Bash to satisfy your thirst for a fall beverage that isn’t a pumpkin spice latte. Costumes are encouraged. 6:30-10 p.m. Oct. 20. $20 through Oct. 17; $25 after. Ault Park, 5090 Observatory Circle, Hyde Park,

Halloween Hustle 5K — Don your free Halloween cape and run a 5K to benefit local charities. Activities for kids and adults will take place onsite. 8-11 a.m. Oct. 21. $39.99 advance; $45 day-of. Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown,

Cincinnati Halloween Masquerade & NOIR — The Pandora Society is hosting an elegantly spooky evening speakeasy-style with their second-annual Halloween Masquerade. Grab your unnecessarily long cigarette holder and cheesiest fedora and dive into this eerie shindig that will rock throughout every nook and cranny of the Southgate House. Eclectic performances throughout the evening include live music from NOIR, sideshows MC’d by drag queen Stixen Stones and plenty of bands on the main stage. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 21. $15 advance; $20 at the door. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky.,

Zombie Ball: Dance of the UnDead — Throw on your finest tattered clothing and head to Pyramid Hill’s grand pavilion, where an open bar will serve beer, wine and specialty cocktails throughout the evening. Brave a jaunt on a haunted hayride and preserve your ghoulish look in a zombie photo booth. You and your zombie love can upgrade to a Zombie Romance Package, in which they’ll pull up to the event’s “blood-red carpet” in a hearse. Your chariot awaits. 7-11 p.m. Oct. 21. $30 individual; $50 couples; $100 Zombie Romance Package. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton,

Campfire Classics at Washington Park — Grab your dimmest flashlight and hold it under your chin ominously for this spooky live reading of some of the eeriest stories in the history of Gothic literature. In the spirit of “The Raven,” stay for a midnight dreary and ponder weak and weary over shiversome tales from Edgar Allen Poe. Then, cap off the night by drinking away your goosebumps with libations from MadTree, Taft’s Ale House, Moerlein and Rhinegeist. 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 24. Free. Washington Park Southwest Porch, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Haunted House: Night at the Museum — The paintings at the Taft Museum come to life when the sun goes down. Wander the halls while hearing stories of the museum’s supposed spirits; rumor has it that co-founder Annie Sinton Taft still roams the building in a billowing pink dress. The night includes themed food and drinks, music and art making. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 26. Currently sold out; go online for updates. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown,

Oakley Masquerade — The 20th Century Theater is mutating into a South Beach-style nightclub, where local craft beers, wine and top-shelf liquors abound in a haunted lounge. Taste some light hors d’oeuvres before participating in a silent auction and preserving your ghastly appearance in a photobooth. Show up in your finest spooky costume. Proceeds go toward Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. 8 p.m.-midnight Oct. 27. $40. 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley,

Blues & Boo Bash at Southgate House — Seven Blues acts — including the Tullie Brae Band, Doug Hart Band and Tempted Souls Band — take over two stages. There will be door prizes for best costume. This event is 18 years of age and up. 7 p.m. Oct. 28. $15-$20. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky.,

Crawl of Screams — Put on your freakiest (or sexiest) costume and head out for the inaugural Crawl of Screams, a boozy night of frights, drink specials and partying from the creators of the ’90s Bar Crawl. Participating bars include Shooks Bar & Dance, The Drinkery and Scene Ultra Lounge; expect treats and plenty of jump scares along the way. 6 p.m. Oct. 28. $20-$40. Starting location TBD, searchable on Facebook.

Hocus Pocus Halloween Festival — Ever since Hocus Pocus hit theaters in 1993, we’ve all been yearning for a sequel to this Halloween cult classic. In the meantime, we’ll have to celebrate the original while trying not to get our hopes up every time another rumor about a follow-up is shot down. Feel free to commiserate with other diehards at Hocus Pocus Halloween, a festival in downtown Middletown. The fest offers kids activities, a classic car show, live music and, most importantly, a screening of the film we all forget that we love until October rolls around. Noon-dusk. Oct. 28. Ticket prices TBD. Main St. between Central and First avenues, Middletown,

Hallo-Wine Happy Horror Party — Pop a cork at Unwind Wine Bar for an evening celebrating a spook-tacular Halloween. Costumes are highly encouraged, so don’t wait all the way until the 31st to buy your creepy ensemble. 8:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m. Oct. 28. Free. Unwind Wine Bar, 3435 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park,

Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween Special Bring your sense of humor to this cult classic film screening with a live cast from the Denton Affair. Audiences are encouraged to dress up, bring flashlights, bells and noisemakers. 9:50 and 11:55 p.m. Oct. 28. $9.75. Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton,

Ohio Renaissance Festival’s Tricks or Treats Weekend — Little lords and ladies can trick or treat around the village and decorate a pumpkin to bring home. A costume contest will also be held for kids and adults (Mother of Dragons, anyone?). 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 28-29. $22.50 adults; $9.50 children. 10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville,

Halloween at Urban Artifact: Yarghhh! Edition — With a pirate theme, this event is sure to shiver yer booties. Featuring live music form Drunk n Sailor, Founding Fathers and Go Go Buffalo, dance the night away while wearing your best costume. The event is free for all and the winner of the costume contest gets a $50 gift certificate to Urban Artifact. 10 p.m. Oct. 31. Free. Urban Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock St., Northside,


Burger Farm & Garden Center — Head to the farm’s 40th-annual fall festival every weekend in October. Family-friendly activities include hayrides, a puppet show, live music, carnival and pony rides, paintball and more. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. $3. 7849 Main St., Newtown,

Bonnybrook Farms — This farm is a haven of pumpkin patches, corn mazes, wagon rides, farm animals and more. Get your fix with farm-fresh food like pulled pork, sloppy joes, pumpkin pie and apple cake. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29.  Free admission. Bonnybrook Farms, 3779 State Route 132, Clarkesville,

Country Pumpkins Fall Festival — Pick your own pumpkins, navigate a 4-acre corn maze and befriend some barnyard animals at Country Pumpkins farm. Other attractions include a hay maze, hay pyramid, sand tunnels, cotton wagon ride and the new Amazing Escape game, which challenges guests to muddle their way through a physical and mental obstacle course. Pumpkins, gourds, squash, mums, straw and Indian corn are also for sale. Daily through Oct. 31. Activity prices vary. Country Pumpkin Farm, 1835 Sherman Mount Zion Road, Dry Ridge, Ky.,

Fall Farm Fun Weekends at Gorman Heritage Farm — Pick pumpkins, take a hayride, visit with some friendly barnyard animals and show off your sharp-shooting skills with a pumpkin slingshot at Gorman Heritage Farm. Members can also cut and take home an unlimited number of sunflowers for $10. Saturdays in October. $5 adults; $3 seniors and children ages 3-17. Gorman Heritage Farm, 10052 Reading Road, Evendale,

Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant — Take a day trip to Huber’s to pick your own pumpkins and indulge in classic comfort food (fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade fruit cobbler). The farm is also home to a fantastic winery, cheese shop and petting zoo. Pumpkin picking daily through October. Free admission. 2421 Engle Road, Starlight, Ind.,

Kinman Farms Fall Fest Adventure — Autumn’s heaven is just a short hayride away. Picnic shelters, bonfires, games, a carnival tent and a 5-acre maze all await you at the end of your voyage. After you’ve built up an appetite with all the fall-time pleasantries, grab some lunch at Kinman’s Grill, which serves up hot dogs, brats, metts, pulled-pork sandwiches and caramel apple slices. Different live bands perform every weekend, so check online for the current schedule. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. Attractions are free-$9. Kinman Farms, 4175 Burlington Pike, Burlington, Ky.,

Hidden Valley Fruit Farm — Pet a pig, pick a pumpkin and sip some fresh-pressed apple cider. This historical family farm hosts Family Fun Days and Fall Fun Days Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 22, with Pumpkin Days taking over Oct. 28 and 30. Hop on a hayride and get acquainted with some friendly barnyard animals, including a pair of llamas with fabulous toothy underbites. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30. Free admission. Hidden Valley Fruit Farm, 5474 N. State Route 48, Lebanon,

Irons Fruit Farm — Hitchhike a hayride to a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, test your navigation skills at a winding corn maze and reward yourself for making it out alive with the farm’s bakery treats that include apple fritters, pies, cookies and cinnamon-cider donuts. Special events like live music, artisan booths and costume days occur each weekend in October; check online for a current schedule. Saturdays and Sundays in October. Free admission. Irons Fruit Farm, 1640 Stubbs Mills Road, Lebanon,

Niederman Family Farm — Pick your favorite pumpkin from the patch — they’re priced by size — and navigate your way through a four-acre corn maze. Afterward, reward yourself with the farm’s signature cinnamon-sugar donuts, served fresh from the concession stand along with funnel cakes, kettle corn and gooey caramel apples. Or reserve a spot at an evening bonfire; just remember to bring your own s’mores and roasting sticks. Through Oct. 29. $12 admission; $50-$100 bonfire. 4972 Lesourdsville West Chester Road, Liberty Township,

McGlasson Farm — Find music and produce together along scenic Route 8: The sixth-generation McGlasson Farm turns into a live music joint on October weekends, where guests can pick their own pumpkins straight from the patch and sip on fresh-pressed apple cider while enjoying performances from local Folk/Americana/Bluegrass acts in the afternoon. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October. Free admission. 5832 River Road, Hebron, Ky.,

Shaw Farms — This farm is family-friendly with things to do for all ages: pumpkin tours, hayrides, corn mazes and an interactive playground. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily Oct. 1-31. Free admission. 1731 Ohio, State Route 131, Milford,

Sunrock Farm — Nothing screams fall more than a pumpkin patch, and Sunrock Farm offers pumpkin patch tours throughout the month of the October. Guests can also milk a goat, gather eggs, hold chickens and more. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31. $10-$12. 103 Gibson Lane, Wilder, Ky.,

Turner Farm — Take a horse-drawn wagon tour of Turner Farm and help yourself to one free you-pick pumpkin — then pick some turnips and feed the farm’s hoard of sheep. In operation since the early 1800s, Turner is one of only three working farms remaining in the village of Indian Hill. Saturdays through Oct. 31. $20; free kids 2 and under. 7400 Given Road, Indian Hill,


Jack-o’-Lantern Junction — Enter EnterTRAINment Junction through a trick-or-treat maze populated with kind-hearted ghosts and skeletons. Kids: Make your way to Halloweenville, a miniature animated display, hop aboard one of two spooky outdoor trains and go on a jack-o’-lantern scavenger hunt. The Junction features the only indoor pumpkin patch in the area — kids receive a free mini pumpkin — and the world’s largest indoor train display remains open to guests throughout the event. Daily through Oct. 31. $13.95 adults; $11.95 seniors; $9.95 children. EnterTRAINment Junction, 7379 Squire Court, West Chester, 513-898-8000,

Fall-O-Ween at Coney Island — Trick-or-treat through the Creep County Fair, walk through a not-so-scary town comprised of whimsical kid-sized buildings and meet a host of slightly spooky characters. Additional activities include pumpkin painting, a Halloween-themed magic show, pony rides, a pumpkin launch and an apple pie school, where kids can create their own pies. Head over to the park’s Famous Fairways golf course, which has been transformed into a creepy-crawly playground, and catch a showing of Fright Lights, a choreographed light show set to popular Halloween tunes. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 22. $11; free ages 2 and younger. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California,

The Great Pumpkin Fest at Kings Island — This year marks the 50th anniversary of the classic animated special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. What better place to celebrate than Kings Island’s Peanuts-themed Planet Snoopy? This light-fright event preludes Halloween Haunt Saturdays and Sundays throughout October, featuring treat-or-treating, live themed shows, a petting farm and more. Discover ingredients used in spells and potions at Lucy’s Witches Kitchen, converse with a talking pumpkin named Patch and create a masterpiece at Woodstock’s Coloring Station. Noon-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. Ticket prices vary. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason,

Fabulous Fall Funday at the Taft Museum — If the kiddos are sick of the endless pick-your-own-pumpkin events and bouncy hayrides, take them to the Taft Museum for some refreshing indoorsy fall fun activities at the Fabulous Fall Funday. Let their creativity flow to construct a decoration to take home, solve puzzles and hang out with live bats during a presentation by EchoBats. 1-4 p.m. Oct. 15. Free. Taft Museum, 316 Pike St., Downtown,

Fall Flyer — Enjoy a 10-mile old-fashioned train ride with your family and friends between Lebanon and Hageman Junction. During the ride conductors will tell the history of the Cincinnati, Lebanon and Northern Railway. There will be a hay maze for children and the Black Barn, a local greenhouse and local market, will be selling apple cider, pie, caramel apples and more. Children will receive a pumpkin and adults will receive a LM&M Railroad tote bag. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. $14-$15 adults; $11-$12 children and seniors. Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, 127 S. Mechanic St., Lebanon,

HallZOOween — Halloween at the Cincinnati Zoo is “always hairy, never scary.” Expect special animal encounters, treat-or-treat stations, a “scare-ousel” and more throughout the grounds. Take a magical ride aboard the Hogwarts Express and stop by Phil Dalton’s Theater of Illusion show at 1 and 3 p.m. daily. Polar bears, elephants and many other animals will receive pumpkins as a special Halloween treat; a complete schedule of other animal enrichment activities is available online. Be on the lookout for one of two golden Frisch’s Big Boy statues hidden each day of HallZOOween — the keen visitors who find them will receive $150’s worth of zoo merchandise. Come dressed in costume and get a little wild. Noon-5 p.m. select weekends through Oct. 30. Free with zoo admission: $17 adults; $12 children and seniors. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale,

Halloween Nights at Parky’s Farm — Spooky light displays glow throughout the farm during this annual family-friendly event. Take a wagon ride, stop by a fun house and play a round of glow-in-the-dark mini golf. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays through Oct. 29. $8; free children under 2. Parky’s Farm, 10073 Daly Road, Green Hills,

Haunted Village at Heritage Village Museum — Ghouls, witches and a mad scientist beckon guests inside the village during six nights of slightly scary fun. Come dressed in costume and trick-or-treat throughout the village, which also offers face painting, balloon-animal making and a variety of spooky games. Guests can also take a stroll into a cemetery — if they dare. 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. $10; free for museum members. Sharon Woods Park, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville,

Harvest Moon Family Festival — There will be face painting, a juggling show, sack races, archery games and a s’mores station. Children will be able to saddle up for a pony ride and tour a smokehouse and firetruck. 5-8 p.m. Oct. 14. Free admission. Swaim Park, corner of Cooper and Zig Zag roads, Montgomery,

Magic Forest Halloween Hikes at Caldwell Nature Preserve — Walk through a trail illuminated by jack-o’-lanterns at the Caldwell Nature Preserve — you’ll meet costumed characters from history and nature along the way. Hikes last approximately one hour and are recommended for children ages 3-10. 7-8:30 p.m. Oct 21-22. $6. Caldwell Nature Center, 433 W. North Bend Road, Elmwood Palce,

Spooktacular Aerospace Fun — This family-friendly, costumes-encouraged event at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is scary educational. A variety of Halloween-themed aerospace stations throughout the museum will feature hands-on activities — learn about air vortices by shooting Halloween targets and discover density while bobbing for apples. Other activities include a spooky scavenger hunt, Halloween skee-ball and jack-o’-lantern cornhole. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 28. Free. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, 1100 Spaatz St., Dayton,

A Very GREEN Halloween! — This is an event for the whole family to enjoy. Children are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. There will crafts available for children and a kid friendly nature inspired Halloween. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 29. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park,

BooFest — Dress up in your favorite costume and enjoy family activities, pumpkin painting, music, a special magic show and a pet parade. There will be a costume contest for most creative, best duo and best overall costume. If you’re looking for a furry friend of your own don’t fret: the Animal Friends Humane Society will be in attendance to help you adopt your very own cat for $10 or dog for $50. Look for “shop, eat, treat” in the windows for participating retailers. Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 28. Free admission. Liberty Center, 7100 Foundry Row, Liberty Township,


Frankenstein — Based on the Gothic novel by Mary Shelley, this interpretation by Nick Dear follows Victor Frankenstein’s grotesque monster in a desperate journey to find acceptance, becoming increasingly vengeful and murderous against his creator. Warning: The play contains mature sexual content, violence and brief nudity. Through Oct. 14. $22 adults; $15 students. Falcon Theatre, 636 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky.,

Jekyll & Hyde — A musical rendering of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of a man torn in two: a genial English doctor who unleashes a violent and destructive alter ego. The horror-drama about the battle between good and evil debuted on Broadway in 1997. Through Oct. 21. $23. Stained Glass Theatre, 802 York St., Newport, Ky.,

Dracula — Bram Stoker’s macabre and bloody thriller travels from Transylvania to Victorian London. Adapted by Steven Dietz, the Halloween-themed horror story will feature longtime favorite Giles Davies as the legendary vampire and multi-talented Miranda McGee as his favorite victim. Oct. 13-Nov. 4. $55; $51 senior; $31 student. Otto M. Budig Theater, 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Young Frankenstein — More funny and less freaky, Mel Brooks’ hilarious, affectionate musical is inspired by the classic horror story. The grandson of Victor Frankenstein inherits his family’s property in Transylvania and, with assistant Igor (eye-gor), plays mad scientist and brings his own creature to life. Oct. 19-Nov. 12. $29 adult; $26 student/senior. Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glenway Ave., Covedale,

13 Dead Dreams of “Eugene” — An unsettling, haunting tale by storyteller Paul Strickland and his frequent partner in offbeat songs and stories Erika Kate MacDonald. This one is rooted in shared nightmares that trouble the sleepy town of Sabina, Ohio. Oct. 20-Nov. 14. $25. Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine,

The Death of Brian: A Zombie Odyssey at Know Theatre — Listed as the second half of Know’s Halloween Double Bill, this epic tale in three parts blends physical theater and radio drama in three episodes. It’s a story about the humanity of a zombie from Ricky Coates, the artist behind the 2016 Fringe’s Tesla ex Machina. Episode 1: 9 p.m. Oct. 20; Episode 2: 9 p.m. Oct. 21; Episode 3: 9 p.m. Oct. 27. $15 each. Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine,


Howl-O-Ween in the Park — Calling all pups and pup owners – take a walk on a pumpkin-filled trail and meet local dog specialists along the way who will fill your goody bags with mouthwatering treats. Local vendors and organizations will be on the trail as well. There will be a costume contest and don’t forget to stop by the photo booth with your furry friend. Shop for supplies and receive free samples from PetSmart. Noon-3 p.m. Oct. 22. $10 per dog. Caldwell Nature Center, 430 W. North Bend Road, Elmwood Place,

Barks & Broomsticks — Grab your pup and join the SPCA for a Sunday Funday full of raffles, games, a costume contest and more. 2-5 p.m. Oct. 22. $10 person; $5 per pups and kids. Urban Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock St., Northside,

Howling Pooch Parade — Dress up your pup to win prizes. This year there will be winners for Best costume, Best Dog Trick and Best-Tail Wagger. All proceeds benefit Wyoming Youth Services. There will be vendors, raffles, as well as refreshments. 1 p.m. registration; 2 p.m. parade Oct. 22. Free to attend; $10-$15 contest registration. Wyoming Youth Services, 800 Oak Ave., Wyoming,

MainStrasse Paw-Rade — Get your favorite four-legged friend out of the house and bring them to Covington. Show off how cute your pup is during this dog parade. There will be prizes for best themed costume (this year’s theme is “love your village, you’re your pet”), best store-bought costume and best original costume. After the parade there will be plenty of pet-friendly vendors and refreshments. 12:30-3:30 p.m.; parade starts at 2:30 p.m. Oct 22. $5 per dog. MainStrasse Village, Covington, Ky.,

Howlaween Parade at Beech Acres Park — What is better than cute dogs and costumes? Bring your dog and dress him/her up in a Halloween costume. There will be a contest for best costume as well, and don’t worry, they don’t discriminate against big or small breeds — they each have their own category. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. check-in; 1 p.m. parade Oct. 29. $5 per dog. Beech Acres Park, 6910 Salem Road, Anderson,


Aurora Ghost Walk — Hear ghost stories while taking a guided tour of the residential district. Walk through the Historic Hillforest House Museum, where witches brew and snacks will be provided. 7-9 p.m. Oct. 26. $10. The first tour leaves from St. Mary’s Rectory, 203 Fourth St.; the second tour leaves from Hillforest House Museum, 213 Fifth St., Aurora, Ind. RSVP to 812-926-1100.

Bobby Mackey’s Music World Ghost Tours — Think of everything you would deem as scary and double it. This tour has everything: murder, a slaughterhouse, satanic rituals and the mob. Announced as “the most haunted nightclub in America” by travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, the Honky Tonk bar is home to several spirits, one by the name of Johanna. Experience the thrill first hand. Tours available by appointment. Prices vary. Bobby Mackey’s Music World, 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky.,

Cincinnati Ghost Tour — Go on a brave trek through Cincinnati’s Gaslight District. Led by author, actor, and tour guide Roy Heizer, this walking tour goes through the old history of the Queen City and those who lives there before us. The tour lasts 90 minutes. Dates vary through October. $15 (cash only). Tours begin and end at 295 Ludlow Ave., Clifton,

Haunted Cincinnati Tours — Dark, authentic and deeply researched. Outdoor walking tour themes include Buried Secrets, which visits Washington Park, Memorial Hall, Music Hall and more, and Eerie Encounters, which visits the Taft Museum, Lytle Park, the old site of Fort Washington and more. Tours last around 90 minutes. Tours throughout October. Tickets start at $18.95. More information at

Newport is Haunted — Ghost stories, murder, blood: nothing is off limits during this American Legacy Tour. The tour guides you through Newport by dim lantern light as you learn about Bobby Mackey’s Music World, which appeared on Ghost Hunters as the “most haunted nightclub in America.” Tours last between 90 minutes and two hours. Saturdays through Oct. 29. $20. Tours begin at 18 E. Fifth St., Newport, Ky.,

The “Original” Vevay Ghost Tour — Tour guides will take you to three locations — the Historic Hoosier Theater, the Old Jail and the Julia Knox House — and share the paranormal experiences people have had. All locations have been deemed haunted and, after the tour, join Ellen McKittrick, a psychic medium who will be available for readings. 7 p.m. Oct. 27 and 29. $25. Vevay Vintage Prop & Shop, 110 E. Main St., Vevay, Ind.,

Queen City is Haunted — Discover a world of murder, multiple deaths and many brutal tales of what happened in our precious city years before us. Walk through a cemetery and play with paranormal spirits and learn about the Witch of Washington Park. The tour lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. $20. Tours begin at 1332 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine,

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