Trail of Terror opens for fall

The award-winning Trail of Terror swings into action with special events and spooktacular haunted happenings. Ghosts and goblins, pumpkins and gourds are what you’ll find on the eight-county Trail of Terror. The fall promotion covers Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties. All eight counties have a variety of haunted houses, cemetery walks, pumpkin patches and festivals to enjoy. The Trail is a self-guided tour throughout northwest Illinois with stops at such places as the Raven’s Grin Inn (Carroll County), which was built in the 1870s and is rumored to be haunted. The house, which has been featured on Extreme Homes and in National Geographic, will provide thrills and stimulating entertainment for young and old alike. Another spooktacular tour is the Lena Community Haunted Barn in Stephenson Couty. The Barn, which features a 150 foot slide and two mazes, is now in its 11th year and has been voted “Best Haunted House in Illinois” eight times. Blackcat Alley in Rochelle is back on the Trail this year, offering a spine-tingling tour through two floors of themed rooms. Spirits of Yesteryear in Stephenson County offers historical characters come back from the dead, so to speak of their lives, while people tour a Victorian Home decorated as an authentic 18th century home in mourning. There are several festivals and special events on the Trail of Terror including Fall Fest on the Rock held Sept. 27 and 28 at Lawrence Park between Rock Falls and Sterling. This annual festival includes crafters, food, kids’ activities and a petting zoo. Also on Sept. 27 is a new event called Quarry Day, located in Freeport. This day offers children of all ages a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lift, dump and scrape sand while seated in real construction equipment. Other attractions are rock climbing, spectacular fossils, digging for gold (pyrite) and much more. The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival in DeKalb County has thousands of decorated pumpkins adorning the courthouse lawn and features a pie-eating contest, 10,000-meter race and more than 50 nonprofit food and craft booths. Pumpkin patches and orchards are also popular stops on the Trail. Five Pumpkin Patches feature such activities as train rides, petting zoos, hayrides and, of course, pumpkin picking. Several corn mazes are featured this year, two at Blue Goose Run in Sterling, including a 10-acre maze shaped like a fire-breathing dragon, “Dirty Dragon” and the Giant Corn Maze at the Pumpkin Patch in Caledonia. Other mazes can be found at Selmi’s in Rock Falls, Field of Screams in Sterling, and the Great Pumpkin Patch in Lyndon. Lodging accommodations are also included in the Trail of Terror, many featuring special room rates. No extra charge for ghosts. With all these attractions and events to choose from, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit northwest Illinois and take a trip on the Trail of Terror. Some sites have admittance fees that range between $2 to $10. Some haunted happenings are scarier than others, and you may want to call first before taking little ones. To receive a brochure on the Trail of Terror, contact Blackhawk Waterways Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 678-2108 or visit the Web site at

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