Every Halloween season, communities around the lakes area feature haunted attractions ranging from the kid-friendly to those that are geared to adults. Whether it’s a haunted house, filled with grotesque creatures, haunted hayrides and forests with ghosts lurking in the shadows, or an eerie boat ride to a haunted island intended to lure in victims, many individuals enjoy a spine-chilling venue at this time of year. Some of these experiences are not for the faint of heart so those easily frightened may opt out of the more intense attractions.
The following represents a listing of upcoming Halloween attractions and events in or around west Oakland County. During some of these nocturnal events, nightmare becomes reality; the haunted hunt their prey, and screams pierce the darkness. So rise to the challenge and visit as many of these supernatural events as you can before they all mysteriously disappear.
Long Family Orchard, Farm and Cider Mill
In the lakes area, the Long Family Orchard, Farm and Cider Mill in Commerce Township features a 5-acre moonlight corn maze the last three weekends of October beginning Friday, Oct. 12 and running through Oct. 27 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Those 3-years-old and under are admitted free of charge, while all others pay $8. Glow sticks are included in the entry price to illuminate the way through the maze.
“It’s kid-friendly — there are no monsters jumping out,” said Christine Long, who co-owns the farm with her husband, Robert J. Long. “We have strobe lights and fog out there. It’s definitely for families.”
The maze boasts of a certain degree of navigational difficulty, but most people like a challenge, Christine Long said.
“The maze is very hard this year to navigate, but people like it a lot,” she said.
The maze typically takes 45 minutes to meander through.
“There’s a halfway point at the 2.5-acre mark for those who don’t want to go all the way through,” she said. “That’s good for children, or grandma and grandpa.”
Every year the Longs design the maze based on a theme. This year it commemorates the War of 1812 and features a soldier and cannon. Robert Long initially designs the maze on a computer. Using a GPS unit, he cuts the pattern into the corn field.
“This is the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the state has a lot of tours going on in connection with this,” Christine Long said.
Hot cider is available for purchase after or during the walk through the maze.
The daylight maze and play area runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. The play area houses playscapes to explore, a giant slide, a jumping pillow, a pedal kart raceway, a petting farm, inflatables, and a large picnic area. This year the Longs added a “rat wheel” activity.
“It’s a wooden wheel like a hamster runs on, where kids climb in and roll,” Christine Long said. “We try to add something new every year.”
Those 32-inches-tall and under are admitted free of charge; otherwise, an $8 day pass gives patrons unlimited hayrides to the U-pick Pumpkin Area and unlimited time in the maze and play area for the day. Patrons can upgrade to a season pass for an additional $2.
“The season pass is very popular because people can come back for an extra $2 up until Halloween, so it’s a good deal since they can spend a long time enjoying the activities,” Christine Long said.
The the Long Family Orchard, Farm and Cider Mill is located at 1540 E. Commerce Road.
Fright Night at Fisk Farm
White Lake Township
Families can huddle in close and listen as storytellers share Halloween-themed books at the Fisk Farm, located at 9180 Highland Road (M-59) in White Lake Township, on Friday Oct. 26 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Costs are $2 per person or $5 per family.
“A couple of the storytellers play instruments while storytelling,” said Ron Hinman, one of the event’s organizers.
From 7 to 8:30 p.m., the stories are targeted toward a younger audience; from 8:30 on, the stories are geared toward teens and adults.
Skull Island Camp
Voyage over to your own private island on Pontiac Lake and be prepared for the unexpected. Venture through the maze of haunted pirate trails and visit Dead Man’s Cave — but watch out for flying ghosts hovering above you.
The family-friendly Skull Island Camp will be filled with plenty of spooky family fun and games. Younger children can enjoy the bouncy house with twinkling lights, while the older kids can slide down the zip line into the Wall of Doom, where a dark tunnel full of skeletons and ghosts are waiting. There will also be winding pirate trails, a maze, and a pirate fort to investigate.
Other activities include temporary tattoos, face painting, and glow in the dark games, all of which make for endless fun.
Parents can relax among friends at one of two bonfire pits.
“This spring, we bought our neighbor’s property and have a little less than 6 acres compared to 2.8 acres last year, so we’ve almost doubled in size,” said Camp Director Kathryn Chipman. “It will be twice the space, twice the fun, and twice the activities.”
With the admission price, kids are given five pirate tokens to spend on activities or refreshments, such as hot dogs, nachos, pizza, chips, popcorn, and doughnuts; and hot chocolate, juice, water, or coffee.
Additional tokens cost 50 cents each, or a bundle of 25 costs $10.
The program is held every Friday and Saturday in October from 6 to 11 p.m.
Costs are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Free parking will be available at the Pontiac Lake State Beach off of Williams Lake Road, north of M-59 in Waterford, where patrons can be shuttled over to the island every 10 minutes.
The last boat leaves the dock at 9 p.m.
Michigan Fall Hayride for Kids
Drayton Plains Nature Center
This event is geared toward children 12-years-old and under, and includes hayrides, cider and doughnuts, a storytelling witch and fortune teller, a costume contest, games, and entertainment by local folk singer Mark Blackhart.
Proceeds from this fund-raising event — held at 2125 Denby Drive in Waterford — benefit the Friends of the Drayton Plains Nature Center to beautify and put on events at the center.
The event, which costs $7.50 per person, is open Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Nightmares for Hope Haunted House
The 2,000-square-foot haunted fun house will feature everything from fog machines to strobe lights, from integrated sound effects to black lighting, while live actors lurk at every turn disguised as zombie-like creatures.
“It’s an actor-driven haunt with a lot of interaction between people and very little automation. I think people will be pleasantly surprised,” said builder Eric Grube.
The attractions will be open from Oct. 25-28 at Clara Miller Park, located off Benstein Road between Maple and Glengary roads in Wolverine Lake.
Hours are Oct. 25 and Oct. 28 from 7 to 10 p.m., and Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 from 7 to 11 p.m.
There will be concessions for purchase, such as hot chocolate, coffee, water, candy, pizza, or hot dogs.
As a loose guideline, the event is geared toward kids 10-years-old and up.
Grube and his wife, Tammy Kanar-Grube, came up with the idea several years ago to raise dollars for autism awareness and brought the event to reality in their front yard. Since that time, it has grown each year.
“We started donating to Autism Speaks at first and then changed it over to the Hope for Autism Foundation, but it’s always been about bringing awareness to autism,” Eric Grube said.
Last year, the event didn’t happen due to a glitch with the village, but this year it promises to be well worth the wait.
“This year we got 100 percent backing from the village and we’re ready to rock. It’s a much bigger and better event,” said Marcy Hornsby-Mohr of the Hope for Autism Foundation.
Admission is $5 per person. All proceeds benefit the Hope for Autism Foundation.
“We do bottle drives, golf outings, and other fund-raisers,” Hornsby-Mohr said. “This is just a different way to draw awareness. It’s educating the community on autism. It’s become so huge. Once you explain the symptoms of autism, people know someone who has it.”
The Hope for Autism Foundation was developed to help build a future for children affected by the condition. The goal for Hope for Autism is to raise funds to build transitional housing for highly-functioning autistic young adults so they gain some independence by providing them with a small apartment.
In this way, they have the freedom to function on their own, along with the support to transition into society. Additional programs will be offered, including education on general housekeeping, bill paying, social interactions, job search support, transportation and overall aspects of being able to live alone and feel comfortable doing so.
Visit www.hopeforautismmi.org for more information.
Erwin Orchards Corn Maze and Barn of Horrors
The Barn of Horrors with the Mystery of the Black Hole features state-of-the-art animatronics and special effects and robotics. It includes the terrifying corn maze with nighttime “corn stalkers,” where your worst nightmares come to life.
The event is tailored to those 12-years-old and older.
There also is a corn maze for daytime attendees, and Mr. Bee’s Big 3-D Adventure designed to delight patrons of all ages. Follow Mr. Bee on his adventure and experience the colorful, whimsical, 3-D displays. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Oct. 31. The cost is $2 per person.
Erwin’s also features a children’s spooky barn, wagon rides, hay maze, a bonfire, and a Halloween costume contest.
The daytime Barn of Horrors is open on Saturdays and Sundays only, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 28. The nighttime Barn of Horrors with the Mystery of the Black Hole is open on Fridays and Saturdays, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. until Oct. 27.
The nighttime Barn of Horroris is $14 per person; a combination ticket for the corn maze and the Barn of Horrors is $22. Daytime mazes and attractions are $5 or less.
Erwin’s Orchard is located at 61475 Silver Lake Road in South Lyon and can be contacted by calling 248-437-0150.
Dubbed the “masterpiece” of horror, Erebus pushes the boundaries of fear. The haunted attraction is tailored to those 13-years-old and up. The four-story haunted building claimed prestigious Guinness Book of World Records standing as the largest walk-through attraction from August 2005 until September 2009.
Erebus is defined as the darkness beneath the earth that all the dead must pass through to reach Hades. Legend has it that a doctor is fixed within Erebus and, in 1965, built the the world’s first operational time machine, capable of opening time portals.
However, the machine had a flaw in its design and each time a test subject entered time travel, the time period that the subject arrived in reacted to them as a virus and attacked.
The doctor, obsessed with perfecting his creation, sent his own employees into time travel. After he expended all his resources, madness set in and he formulated an idea to disguise the time machine as a haunted attraction. This allowed for an endless stream of paying subjects for testing and financing his time travel experiments.
Erebus is open now through Oct. 31. It is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays ($23 per person) from 7 to 11 p.m.; on Fridays and Saturdays ($28 per person) from 6 p.m. to 1 p.m.; and Sundays ($25 per person) from 6 to 11 p.m.
Erebus is located at 18 S. Perry Street in Pontiac, and can be contacted by calling 248-332-7884