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Cultural Events

Halloween Events Being Offered Locally And Beyond



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NOTE (Saturday, October 17, 2020): This article has been updated to correct a day-date conflict within the Newtown Historical Society event scheduled for tonight.

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With parents being asked to keep things extra safe this Halloween season — trick-or-treat within one’s own neighborhood, with family members only, among other precautions to slow the spread of novel coronavirus — this is a good time to also remind residents that there are thematic special events also being planned in Newtown this month.

Newtown Community Center (NCC) will host two such events this weekend, both outdoors at 8 Simpson Street.

On Saturday, October 17, from 1 to 3 pm, join a Pumpkin Painting Party. Cost is $10 per person ($5 for NCC members), and costumes are encouraged. Registration is requested and can be done by contacting the center at 203-270-4349 or at newtowncommunitycenter.org.

On Sunday it will be a Haunted Gingerbread Making Workshop, 1 to 3 pm, also $10 per person ($5 members), and also with costumes encouraged. Registration is requested and can be done through the contacts listed above.

Historical Society Sunday Events

Newtown Historical Society has a pair of events planned for Saturday, October 17 (rain date October 24).

From 5 to 8 pm, the public is invited to visit The Matthew Curtiss House at 44 Main Street, for candlelight tours of the historic building. Reservations are not needed. Donations are appreciated.

The historical society will also be offering a pair of Ghost Walks on Main Street, at 5:30 and 7 pm. As of Monday, October 12, however, there was only one spot remaining in the 7 pm tour; a wait list was starting for anyone interested in either tour.

For additional information, call 203-426-5937 or visit newtownhistory.org.

For any of its public events this season, the historical society has put into effect the following regulations: masks must be worn at all times; all tours will be guided tours; a limited number of visitors will be able to be in the house at any given time, so those planning to visit should be aware that they may be asked to wait outside until space frees up; and even if an event is held outside, guests will be asked to remain six feet from other visitors.

Spooktacular Drive-Thru

NCC will launch a new event this year: Spooktacular Drive-Thru. The ten-minute drive-thru event will depart from the community center, 8 Simpson Street, is suitable for all ages, and will offer a surprise at the end of the ride for each vehicle. The event will run Fridays, October 23 and 30, 7 to 9 pm each night; and Saturday, October 31, 2 to 7 pm. Suggested donation is $5 per vehicle, and registration is requested. Call 203-270-4349 or visit newtowncommunitycenter.org.

Parks & Rec Spooktacular

Newtown Parks & Recreation will host a Spooktacular Family Fun event on Saturday, October 24, from 11 am to 1 pm, at Dickinson Memorial Park, 50 Elm Drive.

Cost is $5 per person, which will cover a costume contest, games, and other activities. This event is limited to 100 people and all must follow CDC guidelines including the wearing of face masks and social distancing. Registration is required and can be done by calling 203-270-4340 or visiting newtown-ct.gov/parks-recreation.

Fairfield Hills Scarecrow Contest

Newtown Parks & Recreation has also invited groups to create scarecrows to be displayed on lamp posts at Fairfield Hills for the inaugural Parks & Rec Scarecrow Contest. The creations will be in place by Friday, October 25, and will remain in place through Halloween.

From October 26 to 29, the community is invited to vote for their favorites. Votes will be cast for Most Original, Newtown Pride, and People’s Choice. Ballots will be available in the Parks & Rec office, 8 Simpson Street; or notes can also be mailed to the department, but must be received by October 29. Winners will be announced October 30.

Great Pumpkin Challenge

The Great Pumpkin Challenge will return for its tenth presentation this Halloween season, its fifth at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Carved pumpkins and donations will be collected in front of Trinity Church, 36 Main Street (the stone church by the flagpole), on Sunday, October 25, from 3 to 5 pm; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday October 26, 28, and 30, from 4 to 6 pm each night; and then on Saturday, October 31, from noon to 3 pm.

A requested $5 donation per pumpkin will benefit The Hole in The Wall Gang Camp, and all pumpkins will be lit for display on October 31.

Statewide Events

As in Newtown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, new activities — including drive-thru experiences and private ghost tours — have emerged across the state to provide safer ways to celebrate.

Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, says this year’s lineup of Halloween events “help make the season that much more fun — and safe — for the whole family.

Here are just a few ways to get into the Halloween spirit in Connecticut:

Drive-Thru Experiences: Visit “The Ride!” at Pumpkintown USA in East Hampton to enjoy the Pumpkintown Forest and its Pumpkinhead inhabitants from the comfort of a vehicle; discover the “Pony Trail,” featuring live characters and more, at Ray of Light Farm’s Halloween Drive Thru in East Haddam, through October 24; and/or enjoy a drive-thru musical experience complete with friendly witches and grinning ghosts at Happy Haunts Hollow in Milford.

For some No-So-Scary Fun: Spot all the Scarecrows Along Main Street in Old Wethersfield during the 25th annual event; find scarecrows in Essex during Scarecrow FestiFall, or Putnam during the popular 12th annual Scarecrow Contest there; stroll through the Haunted Petting Zoo at Flamig Farm in West Simsbury; take a flashlight tour through the corn maze at Brown’s Harvest in Windsor, Fridays and Saturdays through October 31; and/or try a round of Pumpkin Mini Golf at Sonny’s Place in Somers.

Spooky Strolls & Haunted Attractions: Explore the supernatural side of New Haven with public or private Ghosts of New Haven tours, Spirits of Milford Ghost Walks, or Seaside Shadows Haunted History Tours in Mystic; shiver and shudder through “Things that Go Bump in the Night,” candlelight tours at Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, October 15-16, 22-23, and 30-31; discover some of the darker, oft-overlooked portions of Mystic Seaport Museum during a Jack-O-Lantern Walk; venture into the four-acre Trail of Terror: Fear is Art in Wallingford for the 26th year of frightful outdoor fun, through October 30; take on a Witches & Tombstones Tour at Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield, October 17-18; and/or board The Haunted Isle at The Shoreline Trolley Museum in East Haven to see what is hiding in the woods at the end of the tracks

Virtual experiences happening this month include “A Ghost Hunter’s Favorite Cases,” October 19, hosted Seymour Public Library; screenings of Norwalk Historical Society’s A Haunting at Mill Hill graveyard tour — now a movie — to see and hear gripping tales from the city’s past, October 23-November 1; and test your knowledge of creepy artwork, ghoulish songs, and scary movies during “MATT by Night: Virtual Halloween Trivia Night,” October 22, hosted by the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury.

To learn more about safe, seasonal fun in Connecticut visit the Connecticut Office of Tourism’s official website, ctvisit.com.

Read the most up-to-date Connecticut Department of Public Health Halloween Guidance by visiting portal/ct.gov/dph and search for Connecticut Halloween Guidance.

A costumed visitors begins inspecting some of the carved pumpkins received for The Great Pumpkin Challenge in 2015. Organizers are hoping for an equally impressive presentation when they open receiving for this year's event later this month. —Bee file photo
Early arrivals for The 2015 Great Pumpkin Challenge, the final year the event was hosted by founder Mackenzie Page. —Bee file photo
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