The witching hour approaches. Halloween brings out all the ghost and goblins, haunted houses, decorations, and events. Some are designed to be scary but there are special activities for younger children too.

“We expect to scare people with live actors, fog machines and strobe lights,” said Kate Dixon, Simcoe County Museum events programmer, of their Halloween terror trail for teenagers and adults.  “Outside, for all ages, there’s a straw bale maze for young kids and pumpkin patch with free hot chocolate.

“There is one really neat feature,” she adds. “The talking and singing pumpkins. It’s an illusion and fun for the whole family. It’s pretty neat.”

Inside the museum, every gallery is full of games and fun events. Participants can decorate their own trick or treat bag and walk through the Barrie Village Street where people, dressed in costume, give out candy to the children.

Halloween at the museum runs Oct. 24-26 from 6-8 p.m. Dress up is encouraged. Museum event rates apply. Large groups are asked to pre-register. For more information please visit museum.simcoe.ca or call 705-728-3721.

Chappell Farms, in Barrie, features their annual Pumpkin Festival and Haunted Adventure, open weekday and weekends, through Halloween on Oct. 31. It features a \

corn maze, wagon rides, haunted tent, tike track, farm animals, gift barn and more. Take a ride out the pumpkin patch and pick your own. Visit chappellfarms.ca for more details.

Over at Rounds Ranch in Elmvale, Pumpkin Mania runs every weekend throughout October.

“On Friday night we have flashlight maze nights,” said owner Geri Round. “We have a different maze every year. This year it’s 3 1/2 acres. There is a little one for children (called) Corny Maze and another for youth and adults (called) Cornfusion Maze with 12 different stations throughout and a word search puzzle to fill out.”

Everyone receives a free pumpkin, included in the admission price. This year, the Round family is growing an extra five acres to accommodate the demand.

In addition, there are plenty of games. Most, such as hockey, bowling, and basketball, are pumpkin oriented and there’s even a pie eating contest with lots of whipped cream. As well, there’s a Moo Maze with cows, zip lines, a petting zoo, duck races and more. Admission is $13.75 plus tax. Visit roundsranch.com for more details.

The Halloween spirit howls every year at Drysdale’s Tree Farm at Egbert. Festivities run every weekend in October for all age groups from themed night rides for teenagers to Witch’s Broom Ball (open court) and a kid’s zip line. Special guests include a pick-pocket magician and a tarot card reader. Roast some marshmallows over a bonfire for a donation, which goes to Camp Quality for children with cancer. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Visit drysdales.ca for more details.

Discovery Harbour at Penetanguishene is haunted in October and open full evenings from Oct. 22-30. This year there’s an expanded Terror Zone for ages 12 and up, a maze for small children and a craft. There will also be a refreshment stand. For more information call 705-549-8064.

Photo: William Belitski waits to enter the terror trail while visiting the Simcoe County Museum during the Evening of Halloween event. Mark Wanzel photo

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