Halloween Cruise on Provo River attracts thousands

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CLAS Ropes Course offers a Halloween-themed boat ride on the Provo River during October. This “Halloween Cruise” has been running for 16 years and offers an alternative for those avoiding terrifying haunted mazes.

The pirate captain entertains cruisers by telling them a scary tale. The Halloween Cruise also features a surprise pirate attack by canoe. (CLAS Ropes Course)

The boat seats about 40 people and cruises begin at 6 p.m. every night except Sunday. A pirate captain steers the boat and entertains passengers throughout the 25-minute ride. Tickets are $8 per person and group reservations are available.

The river is lined with jack-o’-lanterns all October and almost every week new pumpkins are carved to replace ones that are rotting or that have been eaten by beavers.

Approximately 100 pumpkins are lit and displayed at any given time. The employees at CLAS Ropes Course carve the pumpkins themselves, so each one is uniquely designed.

Benjamin Allen founded CLAS Ropes Course 21 years ago and continues running it today. He said before the cruise, they staged a spook alley during October, complete with chain saws and spaghetti intestines.

“My wife said ‘Here, you’ve got this family thing going and you are doing a spook alley? There’s got to be something more uplifting we can do,'” Allen said.

The idea for the Halloween Cruise came from a themed boat ride they had been holding on the river during December, which they call the Christmas Cruise. Allen said they wanted to use the cruise boats more than just at Christmas.

Now the Halloween Cruise has become the more popular attraction. According to Allen, the October boat ride last year garnered about 6,000 or 7,000 customers.

“It’s gotten so big because it’s warmer (in October) than December,” Allen said. A family friendly movie plays during the wait and popcorn and candy are for sale.

Aside from the lights strung across the river, there are no decorations on the far side of the water.

“We don’t own the other side of the river,” said Adam West, one of the pirate captains. “There aren’t decorations on that side because there’s a jogging trail and people would take the decorations.”

CLAS Ropes Course offers team and relationship-building exercises in conjunction with its ropes courses. Julie Groberg, an employee of two years, said her favorite part about her job is working with people outside.

“You can do the activities over and over again, but it’s different every time,” Groberg said.

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