Ghostly Good Fun

Halloween Fun in Chesapeake Country

By Kathy Knotts

To borrow a phrase from a certain seasonal movie: This is Halloween. The sun sets earlier, the leaves are falling, there’s a slight chill in the air. Halloween is back and it feels so good. Let’s just leave last year’s scariness behind us, shall we?

Chesapeake Country is in full-on fall festival mode and we have the roundup of where to find your pumpkins, your hayrides, your screaming actors with chainsaws … or just some (slightly tamer) costume revelry with candy, of course.

We have scoured the region for ways to enjoy the days leading up to our favorite spooky (or simply silly) time of year. From the most sincere pumpkin patch to the most terrifying haunted houses, CBM Bay Weekly will help you get the most out of All Hallows Eve, and the surrounding autumn season.

Note that many attractions are requiring advance online tickets and payment will not be accepted at the door. Also some events require masks. Please check before you go haunting.

Photo: Green Meadows Farm.

Farm Fall Festivals

If a trip to a farm is your style of autumn activity, they are in no short supply. Family farms dotting the Maryland landscape throw open the barnyard gates this time of year. You can pick a pumpkin, take a hayride, play in the corn, ride a pony and sip apple cider. The best ones even include corn mazes.

Butler’s Orchard, Germantown: Pick your own pumpkins, hayrides, jump pads, barnyard buddies, corn maze, farm games, straw maze, live music:

Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City: Farm animals, pumpkin patch, pony rides, train rides, plus an enchanted forest:

Councell Farms, Easton: Pumpkin patch, corn maze, jumping pillow, combine slide, local apples, fall decor:

Gaver Farm, Frederick: Pick your own pumpkins and apples, hayride, corn maze, farm animals, jumping pillow, farm games:

Greenstreet Gardens, Lothian: Corn maze, hayrides, jumping pillow, farm games, farm animals, fall decor:

Green Meadows Farm, Ijamsville: Trail of Jack-O-Lanterns, trick-or-treating, fire pits, farm show, animal barn, hayrides:

Knightongale Farm, Harwood: Pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayrides, pony rides, farm games, moon bounce:

Maryland Corn Maze, Gambrills: Corn maze, bounce pad, petting zoo, hayrides, farm games, pony rides:

Montpelier Farms, Upper Marlboro: Corn maze, petting zoo, wagon rides, playground, farm games, s’mores at bonfires, pumpkin chunkin’:

Summers Farm, Frederick: Pumpkin patch, wagon rides, pumpkin train, corn maze, live entertainment, fireworks:

Bonus fun: Search the Arundel Grown Guide at and comment on where you get your best fall produce on their Facebook page (@ArundelAg) for a chance to win a free pie.

Photo: Chesapeake Church.

More Fun with Pumpkins

Don’t want to trek to a farm? There’s still some good fun to be had with gourds.

At the Pumpkin Walk Reimagined, Oct. 28 & 29, families begin with a superstitions tour of the mansion learning about curious customs of the 18th century, then join a costume parade and engage with activity stations in the garden including witch storytelling, pumpkin toss, and take-home craft. 3:30-5pm, Hammond-Harwood House Museum, Annapolis, $10 w/discounts, RSVP:

Want to get arty with your pumpkin? Head to Annmarie Garden’s Bad Art Night for The Great Pumpkin Challenge, Friday, Oct. 29. For this adults-only outrageous pumpkin decorating contest, gather some friends, or bring a date and have fun creating a fall-favorite “masterpiece”. They will have music, food truck, cash bar and all the supplies you’ll need. This event is outdoors with lots of room to spread out. Homemade costumes are encouraged and prizes will be awarded. 4:30-6:30pm, Annmarie Garden, Solomons, $20, RSVP: [email protected].

Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown invites the community to its annual Pumpkin Patch Party, billing it as the largest trunk ‘n’ treat in Calvert County, Oct. 31, 6-8pm. The party is free and features decorated vehicles in the commuter lot with candy for hundreds of kids. In addition to the sugar rush, the event will also have a moon bounce, cornhole, face painting, a dance floor and music, and a fire pit and s’mores, and a costume parade. There will also be Calvert Kettle Corn, hot chocolate, and coffee for the whole family to enjoy. Details:

For you early risers (in other words, everyone with a kid under the age of 12), the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market hosts Halloween Extravaganza Oct. 30 at 7am and Oct. 31 at 10am. The market will give away 50 pumpkins to the first 50 kids and host pumpkin painting activity and cookie decorating, a DJ will spin tunes and spooky music so be sure to come in costume:

And if you somehow haven’t been in Annapolis lately to see the great pumpkin invasion, you should head there this weekend to witness the 1,000+ pound pumpkins at the Graduate Hotel, Visit Annapolis Visitors Center, and St. Anne’s Church. Snap a photo with the pumpkins and post to social media with #GreatAnnapolisPumpkin for a chance to win gift cards to local businesses. On the weekend, some will be turned into giant jack-o’-lanterns.

Get Your Scare On

         Maybe you’re the type who celebrates Halloween as the ultimate fright fest, willingly going into dark creepy woods or haunted mansions just to prove you can. Experiencing the holiday is a full-on sensory overload for some. Embrace the dark side—just once a year, right?

         Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1818, and here we are 200 years later still fascinated by the story of a young scientist who brings a creature to life in the most horrifying way. Head down to North Beach to see the Twin Beach Players perform Frankenstein on stage at the Boys &  Girls Club Oct. 29-31, FSa 8pm, Su 3pm, plus a special showing Sa night 9pm. Masks req’d, $15 w/discounts: or at the door.

         If ol’ Frankie just doesn’t creep you out enough, head out to Bennett’s Curse at Eastpoint Mall in Dundalk ( or Field of Screams in Olney ( if you are into that whole paying-someone-to-scare-you-enough-to-wet-your-pants thing.

         For slightly less terrifying (and closer to home) fun, head to the Tunnel of Terror, also known as Magic Tunnel Car Wash, in Prince Frederick. The location will be filled with animatronics, lights, live characters and candy. Purchase a car wash for $7, and roll thru the tunnel. Oct. 28 thru 30, 5:30-9pm, Oct. 31 5:30-8pm. Visit @MagicTunnelCarWashes on Facebook for the latest updates.

If you are on the hunt for a “real” ghost, discover what’s hiding in the shadows in Downtown Leonardtown on Oct. 30. Conduct paranormal investigations at Tudor Hall, the Moll Dyer Rock, the Old Jail Museum and the Leonardtown Wharf (8-10pm & 10:30pm-12:30am). This experience will include an introductory class, ghost stories at each location, a full paranormal investigation of all locations, and a closing debrief class session. Grab your camera and recorder to see what you can catch (ages 13+, meet at Town Hall, $40, RSVP:

         If you prefer a little more history in your hauntings, join Annapolis Tours by Watermark and Historic Annapolis for their Special Historic Hauntings walking tour. A spirited guide will lead you through the dark alleys, spooky side streets, and lesser-known haunted sites of the old and creaky city of Annapolis. Hear from real diary entries and newspaper articles of what frightened early 18th-century folks. Also included is a stop inside historic Hogshead, where you will be immersed in the tales of those living in Annapolis during the Revolutionary War. Listen to stories of spirits that linger in the mist, and explore one of Annapolis’ best-known cemeteries. And who knows, after a trip inside Hogshead, your own story may be added to the history of Annapolis. ThFSa 7:30 & 8pm, Su 8pm, $25 w/discounts, RSVP:

Photo: Maryland Zoo.

Party Animals

         Got a Hallo-weenie at home? Or maybe a crafty costumed cat? They get to enjoy the fun, too, at events for pets.

         North Beach hosts its annual Hound of the Town and Boo Bash Oct. 31, so dress up the whole family and get down to the boardwalk for the costume contest. Pet parade (dogs only) and costume judging (1-3pm, $10/dog, benefits Calvert Animal Welfare League). Human costumes judged at 4pm. Trick or treat at local businesses after:

Head to Historic Hancock’s Resolution in Pasadena for the Animal Appreciation Day and Pet Parade, Oct. 31 (1-4pm) including a pet parade (2pm), free:

         For animals of all shapes and sizes, you can’t beat the Maryland Zoo’s annual ZooBOOO!, Oct. 29-31 (10am-4pm). ZooBOOO! includes safe Halloween trick-or-treating, visits from Animal Ambassadors, two costume contests each day, carnival games, crafts, the STIFEL “not-so-spooky” hay maze, family entertainment and the Elephant Pumpkin Smash. Watch as the African elephants enjoy their fall treats in a big way (11am daily). Come in costume and find the trick-or-treat candy chute stations. Timed reservations and masks in indoor spaces req’d:

I Just Want a Costume Party

Sometimes you just need a good old community party filled with games, crafts, and yes, candy.

The Halloween Hootenanny at the Severna Park Community Center is Oct. 28 (11:30am-1pm) and is a morning of games, arts & crafts, candy hunting, and story time with Melody from Park Books. Best of all, it’s free (RSVP:

The Children’s Theatre of Annapolis hosts a Monster Mash for kids ages 5-10, Oct. 30 (9am-noon). In this fun Halloween-themed workshop students will play theatre games, sing, dance, & do crafts. Students are encouraged to bring their Halloween costume to change in to at the end of the workshop for pictures. ($45, RSVP:

Join staff and volunteers at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary for a Halloween Critter Crawl Oct. 30 (4-8pm). Wear your costume on a walk through the forest to see different animals and insect displays, and enjoy Halloween candy, campfires, s’mores, hayrides, and nature crafts. Headlamp/flashlights suggested, no pets allowed. $5/person, RSVP on ActiveNet (#26679).

As the crisp air creeps into our weekly forecast, the Annapolis Town Center announces the return of its Fall Fest. On Oct. 30 (noon-4pm), guests are welcome to enjoy some free, harvest-themed family fun. Jump on a tractor ride, run through a hay maze, try your hands at pumpkin painting, and enjoy hourly performances of Thriller from dancers of the Maryland Performing Arts Center. Live music will be provided by DJ Joey and singer-songwriter Daphne Eckman, and an array of local food trucks will be available for food and refreshment purchases ( First 300 kids receive a trick-or-treat bag.

For the grownups, grab a babysitter and join Annapolis Town Center and Naptown Scoop’s Haunting at 1906 Halloween Ball. Featuring an open bar and appetizers from Vintage Views, this is your event to dress to impress, to scare or just for flare (ages 21+). 8pm, East Lounge, next to the Paseo, masks req’d, $54.67, RSVP:

Want to spend the evening on the water? Take a Halloween cruise on the Wilma Lee Oct. 31 (4-6pm, ages 21+). Dress in costume for a chance to win an award, chosen by Captain Rick. ($65, RSVP:

Photo: City of Annapolis.

For a multicultural spin on things, head to Annapolis, Oct. 30 (5pm) for its Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival at Maryland Hall. Organized by Mayor Buckley’s Hispanic Community Services office, the event includes a kids zone, vendors and artists, face painting booths, and a full program on stage including Bolivian dancers, Latin American musicians, salsa classes and a DJ.

The Day of the Dead celebration typically involves gathering to celebrate friends and family members who have passed. It is also known as All Saint’s Day or All Souls’ Day. Attendees at the festival are encouraged to dress up to celebrate Day of the Dead, a traditional holiday celebrated in Mexico and many Latin American countries. One of the favorite traditions at Day of the Dead celebrations is sugar skull makeup, a Day of the Dead face painting technique. Come early to get a colorful sugar skull face painting at one of multiple booths at the event. 

“I love this celebration,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “Our partners will have amazing food, drinks, and music which is lucky because people can work up quite a hunger and thirst as they travel from the spirit world back to the realm of the living.”

The City is co-hosting the event with support of Center of Help, Maryland Hall, The Arts in Public Places Commission, the Chesapeake Children’s Museum, Chesapeake Family Magazine, Anne Arundel County’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Mundo Latino, Se Fuerte, and community volunteers.

Wherever and however you celebrate, scary or mild, CBM Bay Weekly hopes you enjoy the return of the spooky season (and we welcome donations of leftover Reese’s and Twix).