Celebrate Halloween in the National Parks

Skull Rock in Joshua Tree National Park

Skull Rock in Joshua Tree National Park

Courtesy of the National Park Foundation

Looking for a “spook”tacular way to spend your Halloween? From ghost stories to costume contests, our national parks offer great ways to trick or treat your way to a hauntingly good time with family and friends! To help get you in the Halloween state of mind, here are a few of the events taking place at parks across the country.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site (Illinois)
When? October 26th 5:30pm – 7:30pm
What? Safe Trick or Treat — Wear your costume and stop by for candy, children’s programs, games, and more. Bring a canned good item to help feed families in need.

Gulf Islands National Seashore (Florida, Mississippi)
When? October 26th – 6:00 pm
What? Stories and Stars Night Walk — Dress up in costume and enjoy regional folk tales about local people and wildlife from park rangers. Learn star lore and how early mariners used the stars to navigate. Don’t forget your flashlights!

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (California)
When? October 27th 6:00pm to 8:00pm
What? Creatures Creeping — As the sun goes down, the night comes alive. Hear some Halloween tales on an easy 1-mile walk, as we look and listen for coyotes, scorpions, and owls.

De Soto National Memorial (Florida)
When? October 27th 6:30pm – 8:30pm
What? Desoween V, Trail of Haunted Legends — Visit De Soto National Memorial on October 27th for a family friendly spooky trail walk. Bring the kids decked out in Halloween costumes, and experience a unique and educational Halloween event for all ages.

Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)
When? October 28th 1pm – 5pm
What? Halloween Museum Fun Walk — Join the rangers of Hot Springs National Park for a creepy crawly good time at the Maurice Bathhouse. Afternoon activities include educational programs with live spiders, make your own jumping spider craft, and prize give a ways.

Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC)
When? October 31st 4pm
What? The Weird and Spooky Night Sky — Come to the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium in your Halloween costume and learn about the spooky stars, planets and constellations in the night sky. This program is geared for the youngest of astronomers. 

Canyon De Chelly National Monument (Arizona)
When? October 31st
What? Halloween Costume Contest — Put on your ghoulish garb and compete for prizes in this Halloween costume contest!

For more inspiring ideas for park adventures go to http://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas.

The National Parks Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. This story was reprinted by permission.

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If you’re not near any of these sites, check out Mother Nature Network’s list of the “8 creepiest places in U.S. national parks” for more fun holiday ideas!

About the Author

Editor of Online Communications Jennifer Errick

Jennifer Errick is editor of online communications at NPCA.