Halloween is still several weeks away, but campgrounds across America are already gearing up for it with Halloween-themed weekends, some of which take place as early as August.
“Americans have a big appetite for Halloween themed costume and campsite decorating contests and monster balls,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
“We are also seeing more and more campgrounds offering other types of fall activities, from corn mazes to apple harvest and Oktoberfest celebrations.”
Here is a sampling of weekend activities and special events taking place in the coming weeks at campgrounds across the country:
— Far Horizons 49er Village in Plymouth, Calif.: This park, which is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, has a “best scream” contest as well as Halloween costume and campsite competitions scheduled for Oct. 17 - 20 and 24 - 27.
— Jellystone Park in Brandon, S.D.: In September this park will reopen its popular seven-acre corn maze, which complements the park’s other fall activities. Sept. 28-30 will be a “Witching Weekend” and will feature Halloween themed crafts and guests will be invited to wear costumes and decorate their campsites. On Oct. 6 the park will have a “Mutts in the Maze” event during which time people will be allowed to go through the corn maze with their dogs, with proceeds from the event being donated to the local humane society. On the weekend of Oct. 25 - 26 the park will have a haunted maze and its 4th annual Monster Mash with games, activities, music and dancing.
— Jellystone Park at Grayling, Mich.: This park has a Halloween themed weekends set for Aug. 9 - 11, Aug. 16 - 18 and Oct. 9 - 11 with pumpkin painting as well as costume and campsite decorating contests. www.graylingjellystone.com
— KOA campground in Hagerstown, Md.: This campground has Halloween-themed activities every weekend from Sept. 28 to Oct. 28, including a magic show every Friday night, pumpkin carving and a blow up maze for children. The campground also operates Terror at Creekside Manor, a haunted house inside a two-story house on property next door to the campground.
— Lake in Wood Campground in Narvon, Penn.: This park will celebrate Christmas in October with campsite decorating, caroling and hayrides. The park will have a scarecrow costume party dinner on Nov. 2.
— Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in Santa Claus, Ind.: This campground will have seven consecutive Halloween themed weekends from Sept. 13 to the end of October. Activities include bonfire ghost stories, trick or treating, costume and campsite decorating contests, a kids carnival and haunted hayrides.
— Meadville KOA campground in Meadville, Penn.: This park has Halloween costume and campsite decorating contests scheduled for Sept. 21 and 28.
— Rusk KOA in Rusk, Texas: The big Labor Day weekend event at this park is its annual Potjie Festival, the largest South African-themed event in the U.S. The Potjie Fest, which celebrates the three legged cast iron pot, is a family event with various cooking competitions.
— Shelby Manfield KOA in Shelby, Ohio: This park will have a “Fright Fest Weekend” on the weekend of Oct. 5 with pumpkin painting, a costume parade, Halloween ceramics and a haunted barn.
— Smokey Hollow Campground in Lodi, Wis.: This park will celebrate pre-Halloween themed weekends Sept. 13 - 15 and Sept. 20 - 22 with costume contests, haunted wagon rides, a haunted pavilion and trick or treating.
— South Haven Family Campground in South Haven, Mich.: This campground will have an antique engine and tractor weekend combined with a grandparents weekend on Sept. 5 - 8 and four consecutive Halloween themed weekends starting Sept. 27 - 29.
— Tall Pines Campground in Bainbridge, N.Y.: This park will have an “Apple Fest” on the weekend of Sept. 27 - 29 with a hot apple pie and ice cream social, kids fall crafts, bobbing for apples, caramel apple making and fall foliage canoe trips. On Oct. 4 - 6 the park will celebrate Halloween for pets and for people with a flashlight candy and bone hunt, candy dish painting and fall foliage canoe trips. On Oct. 11 to 13 the park will again celebrate Halloween, this time with a spookiest campsite contest, a costume parade, a pumpkin pie eating contest, a grim reapers night candy hunt, Halloween movies and a Halloween dance party.
— Woodland Campground in Woodland, Penn.: This park will celebrate an apple festival on Sept. 21. An Oktoberfest weekend is scheduled for Sept. 28 with food, crafts and a flea market, while a Halloween themed weekend is set for Oct. 5 with a haunted hayride, a haunted party and a haunted house.
— Jellystone Park Shangri-La in Milton, Penn.: A “Trail of Terror” is scheduled for the last two weekends of September and the first two of October. Other weekend activities include a Halloween parade, campsite and costume contests, magic pumpkins and pumpkin painting and bobbing for apples. www.jellystoneshangri-la.com