PHOTO COURTESY OF THE FORT SMITH MUSEUM OF HISTORY
Western Arkansas Ballet members dance to Michael Jackson’s song, “Thriller,” from a past Halloween celebration at the Fort Smith Museum of History.
PHOTO BY COREY S. KRASKO
Joanna Burke, from left, Danielle Rush and Tony Casey stand in line to enter the Haunted Union Saturday in the campus center of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. A spokesman for the Campus Activities Board said they expected more than 1,000 visitors to take part in the fun, games and haunted house.
PHOTO BY RACHEL RODEMANN
Spider webs and masks are illuminated by a crack in the window during a tour of the Blood On The Border haunted house at the Fort Smith Museum of History, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012.
On Halloween, everyone cherishes a scary moment.
That thought comes from Stephanie London, a student activities event coordinator for the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. She said she’s betting that UAFS’s ninth annual Haunted Union, the Fun-House Maze and Halloween-themed carnival will be a candy-coated hit for all ages later this month.
“There’s always has something different each year,” London said of the free events, which take place from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Reynolds Room and the food court area of UAFS’s Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center, 5210 Grand Ave. “The haunted-house portion has a Face Your Fears room, there’s an area that is like a haunted forest, and there’s always a clown room that’s pretty scary.”
One of numerous local Halloween activities, the Haunted Union will offer a haunted house for trick-or-treat fans who are 13 and older, while younger children and their families can enjoy a carnival with games and more, she said.
“The university’s Non-Traditional Student Organization will be hosting ‘Trunk or Treat’ in the parking lot, where people in cars pass out candy for children,” London said. “We have about 30 cars lined up for that event, and it’s a safe, fun way for children to come have fun and walk away with candy.
“The ‘Trunk or Treat’ event will be a lot like trick-or-treating, but it’s all in one, safe place,” she added. “Parents won’t have to worry about children getting out of the car and dealing with traffic.”
The fear levels of older fright fans will be tested at the Haunted Union, which is being put together by seven student and student-related organizations, London said.
“It’s just amazing how the workers transform a ballroom into a haunted house,” she said. “We can’t wait.”
Scares and thrills also can be found at the Fort Smith Museum of History’s third annual Blood on the Border Haunted House, which is comprised of the museum’s darkened basement, 320 Rogers Ave., said Leisa Gramlich, FSMH executive director. For $5, each person can step past the haunted house’s creaky doors beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Oct. 25-26 and Oct. 30-31.
“The museum’s basement is haunted anyway — we have great stories to tell about that,” she said. “We’ve had paranormal groups down there detect a lot of scary things in the basement, so that adds to the atmosphere of Blood on the Border.”
Those visiting the haunted house also will see Western Arkansas Ballet’s dance performances to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The dance performances will begin at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Gramlich said.
“It’s great to have those dancers back, because they get better and better each year,” she said.
The museum also will host its equally popular Murder and Mayhem Trolley Tour, which runs at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25-26 and Oct. 31. Tickets for the trolley tour are $25 and can be purchased by calling 783-7841; the trolley tour is aimed at those who are 21 and older and will feature co-hosts Floyd and Sue Robison, who will portray Judge Isaac C. and Mrs. Parker, Gramlich said.
“It’s based on real, true stories,” she said of the event, which includes pre-tour drinks and treats and post-tour coffee and dessert. “There have been some scary, interesting stories about the museum and the area that have been unearthed, so that’s exciting.”
Gramlich agreed with London that many people thrive on being scared during the Halloween season.
“It’s that anticipation that people like,” she said. “People wonder what is just around the corner — what might be there that will make them jump and scream.”
Following are more Halloween-related activities in the area:
• The Clayton House’s October Shadows Paranormal Lamplight Tour — 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25 & 30 at the Clayton House, 514 N. Sixth St. Each 50-minute tour includes an explanation of paranormal investigations, an overview of ghost activities and a chance to detect paranormal activity in the Clayton House. Entry fee is a $10 donation per person; children 10 or older can attend with an adult. Reservations can be made by calling 783-3000 or emailing email@example.com. Refreshments will be served on the back porch before each tour.
For information, visit www.claytonhouse.org.
• Evangel Temple’s Fall Festival — 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31. This free, all-ages event will be held in the church’s parking lot, 1110 S. 12th St., and includes games, candy and more for the family.
For information, call 782-9121 or visit www.excitinget.com.
• The Fort Smith Jaycees’ The Ward — 7:30-11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Oct. 25-26, and from 7:30-10 p.m. Oct. 31 at 7709 Ellis St. at Chaffee Crossing. The event includes haunted houses, mazes, “torture chambers,” candy and more. Admission is $10.
For information, call 883-0157 or visit the event’s Facebook page.
• The Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club’s Haunted Warehouse — 7:30 p.m. to midnight Friday, Saturday, Oct. 25-27, Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 at 7704 Fort Chaffee Blvd., Building 310 in Fort Chaffee. The event also features live music. Admission is $12.
For information, call 646-9519 or (479) 522-0023 or visit the event’s Facebook page.
• Silent Terror, Silence the Scream Haunted House — 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from Oct. 24 through Nov. 2 on Collier Street in Barling/Fort Chaffee. The event includes live outdoor music and other entertainment. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased by calling 646-7431.
For information, visit the event’s Facebook page.