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Halloween happenings abound this weekend

Chris Dorst
Cameron Goode, Lee Jordan, David Bowles and Josh Harper own the Haunted Barn on the East End. It's just one of many Halloween activities and attractions going on this weekend.
Courtesy photo The design for the 11th annual Cooper Family Farms corn maize is for breast cancer awareness. This weekend ends the 2012 season.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Halloween's not until Wednesday, but there is no shortage of events this weekend to get you into the spirit. You can scare yourself silly, have some spooky storytime fun, indulge in any number of family-friendly events and even take in a belly dance spooktacular. Here's a look at some of what's happening:

 

Trick-or-Treat Thursday

Charleston Town Center and Capitol Market have free trick-or-treat events for children Thursday. The Capitol Market trick-or-treat runs 4 to 6 p.m. and also has complimentary photos for costumed children. Call 304-344-1905.

The Charleston Town Center Wee Trick-or-Treat runs 6 to 7 p.m. throughout the mall and is followed by a costume contest at 7:15 p.m. in Macy's Court. (Registration for it begins at 5:30 p.m.) Mall gift cards will be awarded to winners in seven categories.

The categories are best baby (baby must be carried) and best family theme (must include parents) as well as best princess or fairy, best superhero and most original for ages 7 and under and favorite movie, music or TV character and most original for ages 8-13. Call 304-345-9526.

 

Haunted happenings

If you are looking for a scare, there are plenty to be found, from outdoor trails to indoor haunts. Enter if you dare.

Of course, the two biggies are The Asylum in Weston and the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville. For details on these, including tickets and tour times, visit www.theasylumwv.com and www.wvpentours.com.

In Charleston, there's the Haunted Barn at 426 Beauregard St. It's open 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday and Nov. 3. General tickets are $10, or for $20, get the VIP package that includes limited wait time, a coffin ride and a monster maze. Call 304-389-1203 or visit www.thehauntedbarn.us.

Down the street, the Kanawha Players have Beauregard Nightmare Factory at the KP Theater, 309 Beauregard St. It's open 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $6, with a $1 discount if you donate a non-perishable food item. Visit www.kanawhaplayers.org.

Also indoors are Huntington's House of Morbid Minds and the Haunted Schoolhouse at the New Era One Room School Museum in Mineral Wells.

Morbid Minds is open 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Sunday through Wednesday and 8 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday at 1500 Monroe Ave. (behind Big Lots on the West End). Admission is $10. Call 304-638-6078.

The schoolhouse is open 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Mineral Wells Elementary School, 1776 Elizabeth Pike. The family-friendly event features animated characters, a talking vampire, singing outhouse ghost, graveyard, Frankenstein's Lab, ghost stories around the campfire and more. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students. Email maxbarker534@yahoo.com.

Trails can be found in Raleigh, Jackson and Boone counties.

Little Beaver State Park near Beckley has goblins and ghosts lurking on an all-ages trail, plus mazes in some of the shelters and Halloween activity areas. Hours are 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Sunday through Wednesday and 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for ages 12 and under. Call 304-763-2494.

Also suitable for all ages is the Haunted Trail and Not So Spooky Wagon Rides from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Jackson County fairgrounds in Cottageville. Trail admission is $5, and wagon rides are $3. Visit www.jcjfhauntedtrail.com.

NOT recommended for children (or pregnant women and people with serious health problems like epilepsy or a heart condition) is the Madison-Danville Jaycees' Haunted Trail of Horror at Water Ways off Corridor G in Boone County. Hours are 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Tuesday. Admission is $5 with a $1 discount to those who donate a new or gently used coat. Visit www.facebook.com/hauntedtrailofhorror.

The Milton corn maize turns into the Field of Screams from dark until close Friday and Saturday with a $10 admission, and the Nightmare at Dreamland Haunted Trail, part of the C-K AutumnFest, is open 8 to midnight Friday and Saturday. Located off U.S. 60 at the foot of Catlettsburg Bridge, the trail is suitable for all ages and has a $5 adult and $3 student admission. See more on the maze and the festival in "Family Fun" below.

 

Spooky stories

The Kanawha County Public Library has two free storytelling programs to put adults and teens in the Halloween mood. At 6 p.m. Thursday at the Clendenin branch and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cross Lanes, Mack Samples will share ghost stories from his youth and read from two of his ghostly books.

Also at 6 p.m. Thursday, Carol Weakland performs "The Turn of the Screw: A One-Woman Play" at the main library in Charleston. Drawn from Henry James' novella, it's the story of a governess who finds herself face-to-face with evil phantoms who seek to control the children in her charge.

Visit www.kanawhalibrary.org.

In Fayetteville, the Historic Fayette Theater has "Frankenstein: Readers Theater Version" at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday for $10 for adults and $7 for children and seniors. In Readers Theater, actors read from a script, using vocal expression rather than visuals to tell the story. Call 304-574-4655 or visit www.historicfayettetheatre.com.

 

Family fun

Prefer not to be scared out of your wits this weekend? There are plenty of festive but not frightful happenings for all ages.

First, Taylor Books, 226 Capitol St., has a free Harry Potter Halloween from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Play HP trivia to earn Honeydukes treats, search for a Golden Snitch, play wizard chess and relive favorite moments from the series during a read-aloud. Costumes are encouraged. Call 304-342-1461.

On Saturday, the Junior League of Charleston's annual Pumpkins in the Park runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the state Capitol complex. There will be inflatables, carnival games, healthy children's activities, a 5K race, bake sale and basket raffle. Admission is free, though tickets (50 cents each) are required for some activities. All-day wristbands are $10. Call 304-346-5856.

Also Saturday, spend a day with the undead during the all-ages Logan Zombiefest from noon to 11 p.m. at Chief Logan State Park. The action begins with zombie walk registration and makeup services at noon; the walk steps off at 2 p.m. It's followed by a "Thriller" dance party and costume contest at 3 p.m., which is also when live music begins.

Tickets are $14; proceeds benefit the Huntington Food Bank. Visit www.loganzombiefest.com.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation holds its Witchy Weekend Saturday and Sunday at the venue, 520 Kanawha Blvd.W. Activities Saturday include a psychic fair from noon to 5 p.m. ($10 for readings), seminars, a drumming invocation at 6:30 p.m. and the Witches' Ball with live music and costume contest at 7 p.m. ($5 admission or $3 if in costume).

Sunday is a solemn ceremony in observance of Samhain at 7 p.m. (Group preparation for the rituals begins at 6:30 p.m.) Donations of non-perishable food for the Covenant House food pantry are requested. A shared feast follows the ceremony. Call 304-345-5042 or visit uucharlestonwv.org.

In Milton, Cooper Family Farms' The Maize is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. It begins at the old Milton Middle School, where visitors park and take a hayride to the maze site.

There are also train rides for children, a pumpkin patch, the Corn Crawl Crib and s'mores making around the campfire. Admission is $7 for adults, $6.50 for children ages 4-11 and free for children under 3. Call 304-634-6293 or visit www.cooperfamilyfarms.net.

In Kenova, the Pumpkin House, 748 Beech St., will light up at least 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins on Friday. Weather permitting, they will stay lit through Halloween. Find out more at "Kenova's Famous Griffith Pumpkin House" on Facebook.

Tied to the Pumpkin House is the C-K AutumnFest on Friday and Saturday at various locations in Ceredo and Kenova. Activities include crafts both days and a scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving/decorating contest, cruise-in with live entertainment and the Kenova Elementary School Carnival on Saturday.

"Introduction to the Paranormal" talks are 6 and 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Ramsdell House in Ceredo. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" will be staged at 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pumpkin House

For a full schedule and detailed activity information, visit www.ckautumnfest.com.

On Wednesday, the Culture Center hosts its annual Halloween Bash from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The free event features a haunted forest, text panels of West Virginia ghost stories (Mothman, the Braxton County Monster, Greenbrier Ghost and more) and games like pumpkin bowling and eyeball bounce. Costumes are encouraged but not required. Call 304-558-0220.

 

Grownup gatherings

For the most part, these events aren't restricted to adults only, but they are probably things that will be appreciated more by an older crowd. All three are on Saturday.

First is the Marmet Rec Center's Halloween dance from 7 to 10 p.m. In addition to music by Southern Draw, there will also be a costume contest and party food at this alcohol- and smoke-free event. Costumes are not required. Tickets are $8. Call Barry Pauley at 304-949-9692.

At 8 p.m., FireSide Grille in Hurricane kicks off its Halloween Party, which features a costume contest, specials and music by Lost Cause. All proceeds go to Basket of Hope, a children's cancer charity. Call 304-757-4700.

Finally, at 10 p.m., Samadhi Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Troupe kicks off its Belly Dance Spooktacular at the Kryptonite bar (formerly The Pour House), 4030 Washington St. W. It features dancers from West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. Cover is $5. Call 304-552-4168 or visit www.wvbellydance.com.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4881.


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