From Family Fun to Extreme Terror – Halloween Events in Pure Michigan

Halloween is finally here. Whether you are looking for more family-friendly events or houses of horror that test even the bravest souls, there is plenty of Halloween fun happening around Michigan. Here are some of the events taking place around Michigan today that are sure to get you into the spirit of the season.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY BOOS

Halloween Spook Train
Spook TrainTake a ride on this spooktacular two-mile train ride. This Michigan Halloween happening is great fun for the entire family with 20 minutes of pure thrills and chills as you ride over bridges, trestles and even a 100-foot tunnel. Plus, there will be plenty of scares and laughs from the live spooks who are dying to entertain you.

Halloween Ghosts & Goodies
Your favorite spooky friends await you at Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad throughout the month of October. Blinking pumpkin lights will lead you to 20 delicious candy stops around the village in addition to tasty cider and donuts for everyone. You’ll love the enchanted forest, magic show in the Horton-Colwell Opera House and the straw maze. Top off your trick-or-treat tour with a ride through the autumn country side on the famous Huckleberry Ghost Train Express.

Hell-O-Hollows Weekends
It is Halloween in Hell 365 days a year! To celebrate, bring your family and friends to enjoy delicious Hershey’s Ice Cream. Try the Grave Digger Sundae and get a Death Certificate. Droppings from the Coffin Bar will make you scream for ice cream. Free kiddies’ cones if you are in costume!

SPOOKTACULAR FUN

Skeletons Alive in Northville
Looking for a spooky downtown experience? Downtown Northville has been transformed with 100 life-size skeletons. The annual outdoor public display of boney friends takes place each October and features skeletons decked out in an array of costumes.

Terror on Tillson
Year after year, visitors flock to a small neighborhood in Romeo to experience Terror on Tillson, one of Michigan’s largest neighborhood funded Halloween attractions! The quaint street transforms from a street lined with majestic maple trees and historic homes, dating back to the late 1800’s, into a haunted habitat. Go check out all of the decorations and trick-or-treat to your heart’s content!

ErebusEXTREME TERROR

The Terrorfied Forest & Manor
The Terrorfied Forest is a 30 acre attraction that takes you deep into darkness. Step into your nightmares and see what is lurking in the woods. Navigate your way through heart pounding fright as creatures of the night come out to play. The 40 plus minute walk of over 1 mile of terror is sure to leave the hair on the back of your neck standing the entire time. Beware, your screams will only draw the monsters to feed on you faster.

Erebus Haunted Attraction
Erebus, the four-story Haunted House located in Pontiac, was entered into the Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Walk-through Haunted Attraction from Aug. 2005 – Sept. 2009. Victims go through four stories of terrifying paths with fearsome ghouls, ghosts and monsters at every turn.

For more Halloween-related events happening in Michigan, visit michigan.org. What are your favorite Halloween attractions? Share with us below.

The Keepers Behind Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses

What is it about lighthouses that keeps spirits lingering, long after the lights have been extinguished? Perhaps it is an undying passion for these beloved beacons or maybe it is a tragic loss of loved ones that ties these ghosts to these hallowed grounds. With more lighthouses than any other state, many of Michigan’s nearly 120 lights remain home to the restless souls of their former keepers. Guest blogger Dianna Stampfler gives the story behind a few keepers of Michigan’s haunted lighthouses.

Photo of James Donahue

James Donahue, Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

Captain James S. Donahue was a wounded Civil War soldier when he was appointed the keeper of the South Haven Lighthouse in 1874. Having lost a leg in battle, the physical demands of tending were even more taxing for him. Yet, during his 35 years of service, he is credit with saving more than a dozen lives. Today, the keeper’s residence sits perched atop a bluff overlooking the Black River and out to Lake Michigan and the 35-foot red tower. The Michigan Maritime Museum uses the building as an archive and research facility, and many have reported sounds they attribute to Donahue. Footsteps, self-opening doors and eerie sounds are among the unexplainable occurrences.

Some may argue that the White River Light Station in Whitehall might never have been built had it not been for Captain William Robinson, who moved to the area in 1860s with his wife, Sarah, and seven of their eventually 13 children. A thriving lumbering industry brought them there from England, and Robinson had hoped he would be able to find work to support his growing family. With the amount of traffic traveling in and out of the White River, Robinson was surprised there was no light to guide their safe passage.

He began petitioning the lighthouse service to have a beacon built, and in the interim would hang a lantern on a pole at the end of the channel every night to aid the passing ships. When the light was constructed and lit in 1875, the Robinsons were appointed the first keepers. For nearly 50 years, the Robinson faithfully kept his light shining—passing away there in 1919 at the age of 87. Yet, he and Sarah are still said to be the permanent residents of the home. While Bill prefers to walk up the spiral staircase to lantern room, Sarah finds peace in an upstairs bedroom where her youngest children slept.

Photo of Captain Townsend

Captain Townsend, Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

Visitors to Seul Choix Point Lighthouse in Gulliver, south of US2 in the Upper Peninsula, have been documenting strange activities there for decades. From the pungent odor of cigar smoke, to hazy faces in bedroom mirrors and moving furniture, the antics of Captain Joseph Willie Townsend are never-ending. Appointed in 1902, his tenure was cut short after he passed away in 1910.

Given the remote locale and the time period, the Captain’s body was embalmed in the basement of the light and his body lay in state in the parlor for nearly three weeks to allow family the time they needed to trek to the U.P. to pay their respects. Perhaps that is why Townsend lingers on. Members of the historical society who maintain the lighthouse complex have collected countless reports, photographs, videos and other “evidence” of the keeper’s presence. There’s even a book, “Spirits at Seul Choix Pointe” by Marilyn S. Fischer, which features many of the more noteworthy ghost stories.

Seul Choix Lighthouse

Seul Choix, Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

Spending the night in a haunted lighthouse may be more than you bargained for, but it’s what you get at the Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B located northwest of Marquette. Set along the shores of Lake Superior, the first keeper at this 1896 light was H. William Prior. About five years into his service, he enlisted the official help of his son, George, as an assistant keeper. However, that arrangement was short lived for both of them.

George had an accident, which eventually lead to his death. The grief-stricken father was last seen headed into the woods. It was a year later, in 1902, when a hunter found Prior’s skeleton hanging in a nearby tree. Innkeepers attribute the slamming of cupboard doors in the kitchen to an angry Prior, yet according to reports from paranormal teams who have visited the light, as many as five spirits are present.

Big Bay

Big Bay, Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

When Saginaw River Range Lighthouse keeper Peter Brawn became disabled and bedridden shortly after his appointment in 1864, his wife Julia was quick to step in and fill his shoes as the acting keeper. Following his death in 1873, she remained in the head position in an official capacity and her son, DeWitt, became her assistant. Within a short period of time, Julia married a man named George Way and she was subsequently demoted while her new husband took the helm. He ended up dying at the lighthouse in 1883, after which Julia and her son left lighthouse service. Today, the property is private and under restoration but those who have had access report hearing footsteps, voices and other interesting sounds that may be attributed to the two keepers (and husbands of Julia) who died there.

Photo of Julia Tobey Brawn Way

Julia Tobey Brawn Way, Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler

Have you visited one of these? Share your experience in the comments, spooky or not!

Dianna Stampfler lives in Petoskey and is the president of Promote Michigan. She has been researching Michigan’s lighthouses for nearly 20 years, presenting “Michigan’s Ghostly Beacons” and “Ladies of the Lights” to groups around the state.

Explore Pure Michigan with these October 2016 Events

Fall is coming incredibly soon! The beautiful colorful foliage combined with all of the autumn festivities, the month of October great time to explore our beautiful state. From UPtoberfest to spooky walks, there are a ton of fun and exciting events happening around Pure Michigan.

Below is a roundup of October events to help you plan the upcoming month. Visit our events page to see everything going on all month long.

October 1-9 

8th Annual Skitoberfest
October 1, Boyne Falls

Come to the eighth annual Skitoberfest, a fall extravaganza and homecoming taking place in the Boyne Mountain Village and surrounding area. Skitoberfest celebrates the best of fall’s family offerings in an Oktoberfest-style setting and the coming winter season with a Snowsports Expo hosted by Olympian Cary Adgate and special guest speaker. Skitoberfest highlights include gourmet foods from northern Michigan restaurants, markets and farms, Michigan beers, wines and spirits for tasting, plus music and endless family entertainment. It’s art, it’s drama, it’s entertainment plus food, beer, wine and fun for everyone! Admission is free, and tickets for food, brews and some activities are available.

Sleeping Bear Marathonsleeping bear mrathon
October 1, Empire

This scenic marathon starts in Empire and runs through the iconic Sleeping Bear Dune Climb, Little Glen Lake and Glen Arbor, all with gorgeous views of the Manitou Islands and the Sleeping Bear Dunes at the peak of the fall color season.

Big Lebowski Beer Tour
October 1, Kalamazoo

“But sometimes there’s a man. And I’m talking about The Dude here. Sometimes there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s The Dude.” We’re proud to announce the return of the Big Lebowski Beer Tour. This is a celebration of Michigan beer, bowling and the most quotable movie of all-time.

Tawas Point Haunted Lighthouse Weekend
October 7-8, East Tawas

Come to the Historic Tawas Point Lighthouse and visit with the ghosts and ghouls. On Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. get a rare opportunity to climb the tower at night. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., participate in a Halloween dance, hay rides, campsite decorating, games for all ages, pumpkin painting, lighthouse tours, concessions and corn husk doll making. In addition, registered campers can enjoy trick or treating through the campground from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and a monster dance will take place in the day-use pavillion from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Lake Huron Discovery Tour
October 7-10, Standish

If you’re looking for a unique event on Pure Michigan’s sunrise coast, look no further than the Lake Huron Discovery Tour in Standish. Here you can chart your own course for 200 miles of events, cities, villages, rivers, streams, and lakes from Standish to Mackinaw along Lake Huron on Columbus Day Weekend. Cycling, kayak/paddle tours, running events, dark sky events, exploration of Native American history, writers retreat and Octoberfest celebrations will also be taking place.

UPtoberfest
uptoberfestOctober 8, Escanaba

UPtoberfest is the U.P.’s largest wine and beer festival, held on the beautiful lakefront in downtown Escanaba, MI. 2016 marks the 11th year of the festival! This is the eighth year that the festival is being organized by Escanaba’s homebrew club, the Bay de Noc Brewers. They are bringing a wealth of knowledge about beer, homebrewing and festivals to the event as well as volunteering all of their time and efforts. This year the focus of UPtoberfest is to keep it local! All beer and wine will be from Michigan, with the majority of it being from the U.P. and northern Lower Peninsula. All proceeds from UPtoberfest benefit The United Way of Delta Count

October 10-16

Fresh Coast Film Fest & Adventure Summit
October 13-16, Marquette

The Fresh Coast Film Festival is the first of its kind: a documentary film festival celebrating the outdoor lifestyle, water-rich environment and resilient spirit of the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. The festival will gather the best in adventure cinema from around the world while creating a venue for, and building a culture of, Great Lakes storytelling.

A key component of Fresh Coast will be guided outdoor activities to introduce visitors to the outdoor playground of the Marquette area. Rock climbing, fly fishing, sea kayaking, waterfall hikes fall color tours and mountain bike rides will all be offered as part of the Fresh Coast weekend.

Fall Fest at the Holland Farmers Marketholland farms market
October 14-15, Holland

Come to Fall Fest at the Holland Farmers Market and in downtown Holland! On Friday, professional pumpkin carvers will carve jack-o-lanterns like you’ve never seen before, right on 8th Street. That evening, everyone is invited to take a stroll once the sun sets to see the pumpkins glowing to perfection.

On Saturday, the carvers will return to sculpt masterpieces at the Holland Farmers Market and in Downtown Holland. The entire family can enjoy a variety of fun fall-themed activities including pumpkin painting, a candy in the haystack hunt, pumpkin toss contest and much more! Take a hayride from Downtown Holland to the Holland Farmers Market (and back again) for more fall fun!

Apple Fest
October 14-16, Charlevoix

Fall is in the air and northern Michigan orchards are busy harvesting bushels of fresh, ripe apples in preparation for the 38th Annual Apple Festival taking place downtown Charlevoix. Apples are Michigan’s largest and most valuable fruit crop and our area apple trees are full to overflowing. More than 30 types of apples will be available as well as other fall harvest items including pumpkins, mums, squash, jam, maple syrup, pies, cider and so much more. Local non-profit organizations will be onsite to tempt you with hot food items such as chili, hot dogs, apple flappens, soup, and kielbasa. Pick up your fresh bagels, mustard, crepes, honey, meat, baked goods, granola, and fall veggies – all locally grown and produced.

Family Haunted Village and Spook Walk
October 15, Port Sanilac

Meet the unexpected residents of our creaky old buildings! See what’s in the Halloweeny Woods! Warm your cold Tootsies at the Bonfire and sample goodies at the Food Boooooth! Meet the “Wicked

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Witch and Snow White”, Dr. Loop, the Mad Hatter and others! Find the “Grim Reaper” and walk through the Cemetery in the woods.

Autumn Color Tour Cruises
October 15-16, Bay City

As the leaves begin to change and the temperature starts to cool, the Appledore IV changes course and we begin our popular two-hour Autumn Color Tour. Cruising upriver on the Saginaw, passengers will enjoy a warm lunch while keeping a sharp eye out for fall foliage and wildlife!

October 17-23

Fish with the Prosfish with the pros
October 14-17, Traverse City

Want to fish in the Traverse City area, but don’t have a boat, gear or knowledge of where to find the best spots? Participate in fall 2016′s Fish with the Pros. Fish with a pro for two full days, using their boat and gear! Both individual and team tournaments on Saturday and Sunday. Registration includes amazing food from Friday night through Monday breakfast.

Accommodations at the beautiful Spider Lake Retreat – Traverse City, MI. Double occupancy, private rooms feature patios or a balcony and private bath in each room.

Scarecrow Fest
October 15-23, Frankenmuth

Head to Frankenmuth for the Scarecrow Festival. Enjoy entertainment on stage, costume parade and Trick-or-Treating, view pumpkins with personality, pumpkin catapult, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin painting, face painting, children’s inflatables, rock & roll K-9′s, vote for your favorite scarecrow and more!

Conservation Cafe Great Lakes to Great Lakesconservation cafe
October 21, Grand Rapids

Join Dr. Patrick Doran from The Nature Conservancy for a lunch and lecture as he discusses Great Lakes conservation strategies shared on his travels to Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, Africa. Patrick will discuss how a whole system approach to conservation in the Great Lakes of Michigan and Africa can maximize results for both people and nature. Take a virtual tour of Mahale and the Serengeti as he shares beautiful photography and inspiring lessons learned.

Mackinac Island Great Turtle Trail Run
October 22, Mackinac Island

This year marks the 21st running of one of the most scenic trail events in the state. We have a capacity of 3,500 participants running and walking the inside trails of Mackinac Island during the last open weekend of the season. All who register will enjoy special race features commemorative medals, a race apparel in Great Turtle fashion, special Halloween events for adults and kids, great end-of-season sales plus the beauty of late fall on the island

Zoo Boo!Zoo Boo!
October 22-23, Saginaw

It’s time to put on your costumes and head to the Children’s Zoo for the annual Halloween bash!

Make your way through the merry-not-so-scary Zoo, exploring all of our spooktacular decorations! Meet some of our creepy, crawly animal friends, then take a ride on the Pirate Train. Even the Carousel horses get into costume! Stop by the many activity stations for a treat, a craft or a game. Take pictures next to the hauntingly adorable photo ops! Watch mad scientist Dr. Slime put on a mysterious, scientific show!

October 24-31

Feast & Fear Dinner
October 28, Grand Junction

Feast on a delicious appetizer, entree and dessert served by your favorite ghosts and goblins from Shadow Hollow Haunt! Sample locally crafted wine and beer from McIntosh Winery & Round Bar Winery during dinner. After dinner, if you dare, climb aboard wagons for a chilling end to your evening! They’ll take you through Shadow Hollow Haunt… a one-of-a-kind, live action haunted wagon ride! If you make it back alive, enjoy a free donut and apple cider!

The dinner menu for the haunted evening will be crafted using our in-season produce, meats from a local butcher shop and cheese from Evergreen Creamery in Fennville. The menu will be subject to change based on what foods are available locally. Reservations and payment required ahead of time.

Glow in the Park PartyGlow in the Park Party
October 28, Douglas

Glow in the Park is an annual, all-inclusive kick-off party for the Halloween weekend. In response to growing Halloween tourism and overall community enthusiasm, Glow in the Park is a family friendly event where “anything that glows goes.” There will be music, food and drink along with plenty of fun glow-in the-dark activities for the kids. Come in full glowing costume or get your glow on when you get there with face painting, black light areas and a merchandise booth selling glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets and our official T-shirts! Proceeds support the Douglas Halloween events.

The amazing face painter uses UV reactive face paint to turn you into a human glow stick under the black lights.

Halloween Bash
October 29, Gaylord

Head to Treetops for the annual Halloween Bash Saturday, October 29th! The party festivities will be from 8pm Midnight with a DJ, cash bar, light hors d’ oeuvres and a costume contest! Prizes for “Best Dressed” and “Best Couple”! Cash only event.

Shanghai NightsShanghai Nights
October 29, Clinton Township

Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China present a magnificent blend of athleticism and theatrical expression with high-flying trapeze, aerial balance, flowing theatrical dance, juggling and mime-character comedy, showcasing an artistic world full of history and wonder. These amazing, multi-award-winning artists, direct from Beijing, give us a deeply aesthetic night of breathtaking beauty and physical daring, thrilling young and old alike.

Step Back In Time To the Life of a Fur Trapper
October 30, Monroe

River Raisin National Battlefield Park, welcomes you to a National Park Service Centennial Event: “Step Back in Time to the Life of a Fur Trapper” on Sunday, October 30 from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Join Norbert DeWilde to learn all about the fur trade and the life of a fur trapper. Have fun exploring furs in this hands-on fun filled educational activity. This is open for all ages. The activity will be held outdoors with weather permitting.

Did we miss your favorite October event? Name it below!