The woolen mill ruins will be the site for the first ever “spooktacular” Halloween event at the Rockwood Conservation Area.
Park officials have planned late afternoon and evening events appropriate for all ages on Oct. 24 and 25.
“The mill’s going to be the focal point of the event,” said superintendent David Townsend. “We’re going to have some lights shining on the mill ruins as well as a smoke machine … to create an atmosphere.”
In addition, staff will be dressed up at the mill and some will be handing out candy to kids.
Throughout the event hot dogs and pizza and hot and cold drinks will be offered at a food concession. Children’s games will also run throughout the day (for example: a ring toss on a witch’s hat and tossing fake mini-pumpkins into a basket).
There will also be a small petting zoo, including goats and sheep, that will be interactive and open for both days of the Halloween event.
The Guelph Lake Nature Centre is bringing an interactive live “creepy creature” show to the event, with snakes and spiders and other critters at the mill ruins from 3:30 to 5pm both days.
On Saturday evening only, visitors will be given the opportunity to participate in a spirit walk.
“The walk will consist of walking around and talking to people from Rockwood’s past, so they might encounter John Harris, who started the mill there and they might speak to members who helped with the Underground Railroad,” Townsend said.
“So there’ll be different historical offerings along the way.”
The guided tour will be about two kilometres long and will take place throughout the conservation area involving actual interactions with actors portraying the spirit of the historical figures.
“We’re trying to … expand our operating season at Rockwood,” Townsend said.
“It’s such a beautiful park and we’re busy in the summer time and I’d like to offer more to the public in other times of the year.”
He’s hoping to build on this event for next year.
The Halloween event runs from 3 to 10pm on Saturday and from 2 to 9pm on Sunday and is free with park admission, payable at the gate.
However, pre-registration for Saturday’s spirit walk is required to ensure a spot and the fees ($10 for adults, $7 for children 6 to 14 years old, and free admission for children 5 and under) include park admission. Spirit walks will take place each half hour from 8 to 9:30pm. Register online www.grandriver.eventbrite.ca.
If spots are left over, visitors at the event can pay $5 for the spirit walk on Oct. 24.