Spook-free Halloween Fun

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Gardner Village is the perfect place for friendly Halloween fun. (Photo by Maddi Dayton.)
Gardner Village is the perfect place for friendly Halloween fun. (Photo by Maddi Dayton.)

It’s fun to get into the Halloween spirit, but not everyone enjoys the commonplace horror films and haunted houses for the holiday. Here are a few of the best places to get into the holiday spirit without risking your emotional well-being for the night.

Cornbelly’s at Thanksgiving Point

Cornbelly’s is a popular Halloween attraction with a huge variety of activities that are spook-free.

This year’s corn maze has a BYU-Utah rivalry theme. The maze covers 12 acres and features interactive games and trivia throughout. There will be special appearances by BYU and Utah alumni as well as Cosmo and Swoop, drawing extra interest from local college students.

The Spooktacular Jack-O’-Lantern Tree is a collection of intricately carved pumpkins. These aren’t your average jack-o’-lanterns though. The designs range from Disney characters to sports teams and, of course, Halloween themes. Arranged in sections by theme, the pumpkins take on a tree-like form.

“Cornbelly’s is an easy Halloween date idea,” said Josh Morgan, a 23-year-old from Kailua, Hawaii. “My girlfriend and I have a date night planned there.”

As visitors walk around, there are lots of quick games and activities to participate in. Stop by the bonfire and roast marshmallows, ride the mechanical bull or play a game of tetherball.

On Nov. 1–2, bring any leftover pumpkins to Cornbelly’s Pumpkin SMASH: Destruction Days. Smash those pumpkins to bits and participate in other activities such as pumpkin bowling.

Tickets are $8.95 Monday–Thursday and $10.95 Friday–Saturday. The maze is closed on Sundays. Cornbelly’s is located 20 minutes North of Provo at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.

Gardner Village

Gardner Village is the perfect place to get into the spirit of Halloween, especially for people trying to avoid the scary activities of the holiday.

Every year when fall comes, Gardner Village transforms into a “halloweentown.”  WitchFest begins, pumpkin-flavored food and drinks are served and the shops get decked out in holiday decorations.

Gardner Village has transformed into a Halloweentown, with Halloween festivities in all directions (Photo by Maddi Dayton.)
Gardner Village has transformed into a Halloweentown, with Halloween festivities in all directions (Photo by Maddi Dayton.)

“(Gardner Village) just has a different feel compared to other places,” said Mary Loumeau, an employee at the village’s furniture store. “We have some great witch displays, and none of the witches are scary. They’re cute and whimsical.”

WitchFest plays a major role in giving the mini-town its holiday feel. A variety of activities featuring the nicest witches around are offered at the village.

The Witch Scavenger Hunt is a fun activity for any visitor. Throughout the village, there are displays featuring witches doing everything from Hula-Hooping to playing baseball. A complete list of the witches to look for can be found online or in a few of the shops.

“(The scavenger hunt) isn’t something that takes a lot of attention,” said Kirsten Christensen, an athletic training major. “You can still visit with friends and check out the village as you do it.”

Though some might think this town only offers activities for a younger audience, events are planned that will interest college students too.

“(College students) would love Witchapalooza,” said Kathleen Morris, manager of The Bewitched Boo-tique. “It’s a fun dinner show with good witches. There are no bad ones here.”

Gardner Village has no entrance fees, and it’s located in West Jordan, about a 40- minute drive from Provo. There is a TRAX stop just down the street as well.

Heber Creeper

Heber Valley Railroad offers two different Halloween-themed train rides this season that will be sure to get anyone in the holiday spirit.

Witches Train: Girls Night Out is the perfect holiday activity to do with friends or family. Girls of all ages are welcome as long as they dress up in their best witch costumes.

“I went on the Polar Express ride last year, and I’m excited to try the Witches Train this year,” said Brittany Critchfield, a communication disorders major. “The cookies are really good too!”

The train ride is 40 minutes long and features live entertainment. Once the train pulls into the depot, join the dance party in the Old Haunted Car. Everyone is invited to choose a pumpkin to take home from the Pumpkin Patch.

Girls Night Out takes place Oct. 25–26. The train departs at 7 p.m. and returns 45 minutes later. Tickets are $15 and available online.

The Pumpkin Festival is a family friendly activity that includes a 40-minute train ride hosted by mummies, witches and Dracula. Sample delicious pumpkin cookies, take a trip through the Old Haunted Car and get Halloween tattoos (temporary, of course!).

Pumpkin Festival is perfect for those looking for some innocent Halloween fun. Various departure dates and times are available from now until Oct. 30. Tickets can be purchased for $15 online.

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