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Guide to Annual Halloween Activities in Central Illinois

Published by Marisa Coen

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Halloween Events and Haunted Houses

Don’t want to spend your Halloween waiting for the Great Pumpkin with Linus? No problem! There are numerous fun activities in east central Illinois for you to enjoy this year in October.

Actually, if you really do want to say you visited the Great Pumpkin Patch, you can do so in Arthur. Located south of town, this amazing family-owned farm was featured in the 2016 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, and Mac Condil, farm manager, was a guest on her television show.

More than 400 varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and squash are grown on 63 acres, providing the public with the opportunity of pulling a little red wagon across the fields and picking their own autumn harvest. There are also dozens of tables filled with the farm’s produce if you’d rather skip the hike out to the fields. Indian corn, corn stalks, straw bales, and colorful potted mums are also for sale and perfect for creating your own fall decorations.

The farm also has a sweet shop, bakery, 1912 one-room schoolhouse, barn gift shop, mazes and animals for the kids to enjoy. The Patch is open from September 15 through October 31. For exact hours of operation, you can call (217) 543-2394 or email tgpp1@wireless111.com.

Market Place Mall in Champaign is this year’s host to the 21st Annual Halloween Funfest on Saturday, October 28. The event will be held from 6pm to 9pm. There will be carnival games, a costume contest, and plenty of candy for everyone.

The second annual Coles County Festival of Frights will take place at Morton Park/Lincoln Avenue in Charleston, Illinois on October 21 between 10am and 5pm. Admission is free and you can be spooked by haunt actors, enjoy the various food venders, and let the children participate in a kiddie tractor pull or pie eating contest. For more information, phone (217_ 345-5972 or email hauntings@consolidated.net.

In connection with the Festival of Frights, the Charleston Jaycees are ready to scare you with their Haunted fairgrounds at the Coles County Fairgrounds on the same date, from 7pm to 11pm, October 21. Admission for adults is $5 and children $3.

The Haunting of Elsinore is a frightful local favorite also participating at the festival. From 7pm to 12am on October 21st, you should be prepared to be scared. More information can be found at: http://www.hauntedcharleston.net/index.html

Eastern Illinois University’s Symphony Orchestra in Charleston, Illinois, will entertain the public with it’s Fright Night. The concert, held in McAfee South Auditorium, is scheduled for Sunday, October 29 at 6pm.

Musical works will include “March to the Scaffold” from Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14, the theme from the Lost World by John Williams, and Green Eggs and Ham: the famous Dr. Seuss story set to music. There will also be a Halloween costume contest and candy for all, young and old.

For ticket information, call (217) 581-3010 or email music@eiu.edu

If you’re really in the mood for a serious scare, there are dozens of haunted houses lying in wait. Two of the more noteworthy in east central Illinois are Shotgun Manor and Ashmore Estates.

Shotgun Manor, located in Sullivan, is a second floor building on the east side of the square. Based on a true murder that occurred in town many years ago, this haunted house experience is not recommended for children. The owners warn that the Manor has over twenty rooms of frights and that you will be forced to climb stairs as well as crawl through part of the experience.

The 2016 dates of operation are October 13-14,20-21,27-28,31. Hours are from 7pm to 11pm with the exception of Halloween night during which they will be open 7pm to 10pm.
Admission is $6.50. For more information you can phone (217) 728-4223 or email info@sullivanchamber.com

Ashmore Estates Asylum is actually listed as a haunted site in Illinois. More information on the building’s history can be read at www.michaelkleen.com Located in a remote area, it contains 53 rooms and is three stories tall. The character actors from The Graveyard Shift will be on hand to scare the living daylights out of visitors.

2016 dates of operation are October 14, 20, 21, 25-28, 30, 31, with hours of 7pm to 10:30pm weeknights and 7pm to 11:30pm weekends. Admission for adults 13 and up is $12.00 and children under 13 for $9.00. Discount coupons are available on their website at http://www.hauntedcharleston.net. More information can be obtained by calling (217) 512-9499 or emailing scottk@lsnetworks.com

Whatever type of Halloween fun you’re looking for this year, you can find it within easy driving distance in central Illinois. Almost every town has some sort of autumn or Halloween celebration, as well as specific trick or treat hours. Check with your local chamber of commerce, newspaper, or mayor to find out. Just be sure to lock your doors, bring a flashlight, and watch out for things that go bump in the night.






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