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TPWD News Release — Oct. 17, 2005

Texas State Parks Celebrate Halloween

AUSTIN, Texas — Halloween celebrations move outdoors for more than trick-or-treating at seven Texas state parks and historic sites.

Dr. Ward Albro will present a “Dia de los Muertos” lecture on Thursday, Oct. 27 at Landmark Inn State Historic Site in Castroville to explain how this Aztec tradition dating 3,000 years has been intermixed with Halloween festivities in the United States. Albro’s presentation, which takes place at 7 p.m., is based on 10 years of his visiting and participating in the essentially indigenous Day of the Dead event with the Zapotec people of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. There is no event fee, but persons 13 years of age and older must pay a $2 entry fee. Call (830) 931-2133 for more information.

In recent years, Dia de los Muertos has become an increasingly popular observance all over Mexico and has been observed for many years in Alsatian-founded community of Castroville by the candle lighting of the city cemetery. Held traditionally on Nov. 1-2 — All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day — the Day of the Dead is a festive celebration that embraces death, not as the end of life, but the continuation of life when the dearly departed are honored with altars decorated with flowers, pictures of the dead and the deceased’s favorite food.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, Varner-Hogg State Historic Site in West Columbia just south of Houston will host Haunted Halloween at the Hogg from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be fun for witches and goblins of all ages with a haunted barn to explore, hayrides, fortune telling and goodies for all. There is an event fee of $3 per person. Call (979) 345-4656 for additional information.

On that same day, Purtis Creek State Park in Eustace southeast of Dallas will feature a Haunted House from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Haunted House will be open the following Saturday, Oct. 29, as well to welcome children and adults alike. The cost is $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 and younger.

Purtis Creek also has become a popular Halloween destination for swarms of trick or treaters, who go campsite to campsite, visiting participating campsites marked with pumpkins. A hay wagon is used to transport trick-of-treaters around the camping loops to gather goodies. In conjunction with the hayride, the park will have a Halloween carnival featuring several fun family activities. No park entry fees will be charged to members of the public participating in Halloween activities. For more information, call (903) 425-2332.

Also on Oct. 29, Galveston Island State Park and Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site in Paris will host special Halloween activities.

Highlighting the Halloween festivities from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Galveston Island State Park will be ghost stories told around the campfire and a hayride to the haunted Nature Center on the bayside of the park, where treats will be handed out. Call (409) 737-1222 for more information and to reserve space on the hayride.

Children of all ages can learn about fine fashions of the Victorian era by participating in hands-on activities making hats and accessories to take home at Sam Bell Maxey House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 29. Free tours of the historic home and fine fashions exhibit, sponsored by the Friends of the Maxey House, are being held in conjunction with City of Paris’ Festival of Pumpkins. Call (903) 785-5716 for details.

Lake Texana State Park in Edna will once again feature a Halloween Haunted Trail from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 29. There will be a haunted trail, hayride, costume contest and games for all ages. For more, call (361) 782-5718.

On the day before Halloween, Sunday, Oct. 30, revelers can visit Guadalupe River State Park near Spring Branch to walk a haunted trail for treats, roast marshmallows, hear ghost stories and enjoy refreshments. The community-supported event lasts from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and costs $6 per car and $2 per child donation to Friends of Guadalupe River/Honey Creek State Natural Area. Call (830) 438-2656 for more information.