As leaves turn from green to brown, fall creeps through northern Illinois, making a trail of chilly nights and a month full of haunted happenings.
The Trail of Terror kicks off this October with eight counties (Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Whiteside) participating in special events.
The Trail of Terror includes the following events. The activity information is courtesy of www.trail-of-terror.com.
Ravens Grin411 N. Carroll St., Mount Carroll. Open year-round, Monday-Friday, 7 p.m.-midnight; Saturday-Sunday, 2-5 p.m.; and 7 p.m.-midnight. Features a mansion built in 1865many spirits reside there! A scream, a touch, a yank on the hair, just to say Hello, let you know they are there. For some visitors, these things can be found waiting in a wine cellar, deep under the ground. Info: 815/244-4746.
Country Memory TrailsBoone10568 Caledonia Rd., Belvidere. Open through Nov. 10, Friday-Sunday, dusk-midnight. Features day and night corn maze and scarecrow contest, and day and night (Trail of Fright) wagon rides. Handicap accessible. Info: 815/544-0698.
The CellarStephenson IOOF Hall, 203 W. High St., Orangeville. Performed by the Mighty Richland Players Dinner Theater. Last performance Oct. 14-16. Open at 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Held in the historic and quaint Orangeville Masonic Lodge/IOOF Lodge Hall. Visitors enjoy a delicious meal topped with a wonderful, frightful, comedic tale, The Cellar. $33/person, call for special group rates. Info: 815/789-4041.
The Old Haunted MillMain Street, Orangeville. Open Oct. 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29 7-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Visit the Old Haunted Mill with seven terrifying floors. The spine-tingling tour begins at the fire station, and the ghoulish adventure continues at the mill. Many old favorites and new ones to terrify anyone. Two big slides. $6/person. Info: 815/789-4706 or 800/369-2955.
Lena Haunted BarnLions Park, 609 S. Schuyler St., Lena. Open Oct. 14-16, 21-23, 28-29. Hours: 6:30-9:30 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Features two large barns with seven levels of fear, fright and illusion. Even a 180-foot covered slide! Rated No. 1 in Illinois seven of the past 13 years. Heart-stopping fun around every corner. Additional Terror Trail: not recommended for children younger than 8. Short bus ride from the park. $7/person. Info: 800/369-2955.
J.C. Field of Screams17505 Polo Rd., Sterling. Open Oct. 14-16, 21-23, 28-29. Hours: 7-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday, and 7-9 p.m., Sunday. This year, guests will be lost once again among the paths that travel throughout the corn. Take caution entering the Web of Terror. Dont become entangled in their web. The spiders are big, and the ghouls are terrifying. You may become their supper. Care to take a dare? Handicap accessible. $8/person. Info: 815/632-0899.
October NightsRavens Grin Parking Lot and Courthouse Square, Mount Carroll. Set for Oct. 22 and Oct. 29-30. October Nights begins with a Historic Cemetery Tour from 6:30-10 p.m., and a Halloween party at Timberlake Resort, 8216 Black Oak Rd. The festivities continue Oct. 29 with a lamp post decorating contest, carved and painted pumpkin contest, pet costume contest, punkin pitch and ghost stories for children at Miles Museum. Evening activities include the Historic Cemetery Tour, Halloween dance and ghost stories for adults at Miles Museum. The event ends Sunday with another Historic Cemetery Tour from 3:30 to 9 p.m. Info: 815/244-1123.
Spook WalkOld Mill Park, 9621 U.S. Hwy. 52, Savanna. Planned for Oct. 29 from 6 to 10 p.m. Hosted by the Savanna Chamber of Commerce. Ghouls, Ghosts and the Plum River Creatures haunt the Old Mill Park. A terrifying walk through the depths of the Haunted Woods. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! Handicap accessible. Info and cost: 815/273-2722.
Train of Terror2954 S. Walnut St., Freeport. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22, 6-9 p.m. Sponsored by the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club. During the day, it is a quiet remembrance of the past, but as it turns dark, the train leaves the quaint station for uncharted suspense! You never know what or who might step out of the darkness to greet you. Will the train return? Come and find out for yourself! Adults $5 and children $3. Handicap accessible. Info: 815/232-2350 or 800/369-2955.
Spirits of Yesteryear1440 S. Carroll Ave., Freeport. Open Oct. 22 from 6-9 p.m. Engage in lively conversation with spirits of our past. Tingle to tales and life stories of those who have gone before us. All in a historic Victorian mansion and grounds, draped in mourning. Appropriate for all ages. $5/adults and $3/children 6-12. Partially handicap accessible. Info: 815/232-8419.
Sycamore Pumpkin FestivalSycamore Courthouse Lawn, Sycamore. Set for 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 26-30. The Courthouse lawn is the center of activities with thousands of decorated pumpkins. Activities include a craft show, flea market, pie-eating contest, a carnival, 10,000-meter race and a large pumpkin parade on Sunday. There are more than 50 nonprofit and souvenir vendors. Info: 815/899-3157.
Fifth Alarm Ragin Halloween Inferno120 N. Union St., Byron. On Oct. 29 at 9 p.m. Third annual costume party. Live band, prizes, giveaways and a seven-day vacation accommodations raffle. Dont miss the fun in Uptown Byron! Info: 815/234-7000.
Ghost Drive at Krape Park1799 S. Park Blvd., Freeport. Oct. 29-30, 6-9 p.m. Saturday; 5-8 p.m. Sunday. Take a drive through an enchanted park and see all the spooky and kooky creatures. Load up the whole family in the car. You can also visit the Haunted Bandshell if you dare! $5/car. Handicap accessible. Info: 815/235-6114.
Halloween on the Prairie7993 N. River Rd., Byron. Oct. 30, 1-6 p.m. Come and enjoy a spooky hayride, games, kids crafts, food, jump tent, and much more! Great fun for all ages. Small fee for scary hayrides. Handicap accessible. Info: 815/234-8535, ext. 200.
Longs Garden Inc.18510 Sand Rd., Fulton. Open through November, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Take a stroll through display gardens and capture the beauty of the Awesome Autumn Grasses. Fall is the perfect time to view ornamental grasses and garden flourishes with more than 112 varieties. Handicap accessible. Info: 815/589-4121.
The Great Pumpkin Patch16470 Black Rd., Lyndon. Through Oct 31. Open daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. The Great Pumpkin Patch has fun for all ages. Ride the train through the forest and see all the spooky happenings. Enjoy fresh pumpkin pies, corn, straw maze, hayride, thousands of pumpkins, animals, gift shop and more. FREE admission to the farm. Info: 815/778-4856.
For more information on events and lodging, visit www.trail-of-terror.com or call 800/678-2108 for a free Trail of Terror brochure.
From the Oct. 12-18, 2005, issue