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Hit the Trail for an Outdoors Halloween Experience
AUSTIN – More than a dozen Texas state parks and fisheries centers plan some special tricks and treats for families this year looking to celebrate Halloween in a non-traditional manner.
Several Texas Parks and Wildlife Department facilities get a jump on the ghosts and goblins by hosting special Halloween events on Oct. 22 that feature everything from haunted night hikes to spooky campfire stories.
Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Center in Houston will hold A Natural Halloween from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., highlighted by a Creatures of the Night Hike. This year participants can learn about bats from special presentations by staff biologists. The parks new observation tower will be open. Staffed with volunteers, visitors will be able to use bat detectors to scan the night sky to see if there are other visitors nearby. Participants also can learn about skins and skulls and hear campfire stories. Reserve a spot by Oct. 20 by calling (281) 456-2800, ext. 221.
Lake Tawakoni State Park east of Dallas in Wills Point will host its 2nd annual Trick or Treat in the Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Kids can go trick or treating at decorated campsites and take a night hike. For more information, call (903) 560-7123.
On that same Saturday, youngsters can enjoy a mix of fun, adventure and learning during the World Birding Center’s 6th annual Spooky Science Fest at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco. Wear your best costume and bring the entire family to enjoy educational activities, crafts, a kids costume contest, night hikes, live animals, spooky stories, science experiments and more. Call (956) 565-3919 for more information.
On Oct. 27, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens hosts Halloween at the Hatchery from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wear your costume and head to the hatchery to trick or treat for free goodies from local businesses and organizations. Call (903) 670-2266 for details.
The majority of state park Halloween events, such as haunted trail treks, will take place two nights before All Hallow’s Eve, Saturday, Oct. 29.
Find out what lurks around the next bend during the 4th annual Haunted Trail at Birch Creek State Park (Lake Somerville State Park), Halloween Fun and Games at Lake Texana State Park near Edna, a Haunted Hike Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose and Haunted Trail stroll at Martin Dies Jr. State Park near Jasper.
The Lake Texana event also features carnival games, and costume and pumpkin-carving contests, starting at 7:30 p.m. Visitors can meet at the Dinosaur Valley state park store at 6 p.m. for a Dino Dig to begin the evening of Halloween fun. For $1 donation, Martin Dies celebrants can sip a soda, and roast a hotdog and marshmallows.
Look for the spirits of the soldiers who protected the early Texas frontier during the 1800s during a Ghost Walk through Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site near Jacksboro. Park entry is free after 5:30 p.m. Call (940) 567-3506 for details.
Government Canyon State Natural Area just west of San Antonio invites kids of all ages to wear their Halloween costumes, bring a pumpkin to carve and listen to spooky stories. Each child will receive a bag of goodies. To reserve one of 50 spots, send an e-mail by no later than noon, Oct. 29, to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Call (210) 688-9055 for more information.
Village Creek State Park near Lumberton has scheduled several bat programs throughout the day to show kids that although the flying mammals are portrayed as “spooky” in many movies and at Halloween carnivals, they aren’t that scary and are beneficial as well. Programs will be held at 10 a.m. (Bats in Our Culture), 2 p.m. (The Wide World of Bats) and 7 p.m. (A Very Batty Night Hike). Call (409) 755-7322 for details.
Inks Lake State Park near Burnet winds up the busy Saturday before Halloween with its Creatures of the Night and Star Party from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event will feature a kid-centered program to dispel fears of the night, life-sized creatures telling stories about themselves and handing out sweet treats and the chance to join with professional astronomers to gaze at the night sky. Call (512) 793-4689 for more information.
Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson wraps up TPWD’s Halloween festivities from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30 with its 5th annual Sea Center Spooktacular. Activities include a costume contest, face painting, games, picture-taking in the center’s creepy “cemetery,” and crafts. There is a $5 fee to participate in craft activities. Call (979) 292-0100 for more information.
For more information and a complete listing of Halloween events at state parks, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site
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