Plan a getaway at a family-friendly resort in October, and the chances are excellent that you'll run across more than a few ghouls and goblins. Here's a sampling of hotels and resorts that are hosting special Halloween events in October:
Nickelodeon Family Suites
Where: Orlando, FL
Why: Because October is "Nick or Treat" month at the Nickelodeon Family Suites. The hotel's activities range from paint-your-own-pumpkins and Halloween games to trick-or-treating with favorite Nick stars. On Saturday evenings, "Nick After Dark" kicks off with spooky movies, snacks, and plenty of slime. Family suites start at $144 per night. Book two nights, and you'll get a third night free with the Free-for-Fall special.
Great Wolf Lodge
Where: Twelve locations in this popular chain of indoor water park resorts in the U.S. and Canada, including the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA
Why: Because this year's "Howl-O-ween at the Wolf" features a trick-or-treat trail, pumpkin painting, a trolley ride to a "haunted" cemetery, a costume contest, Halloween-themed arts and crafts, and more. Available Sundays to Thursdays Oct. 6-31 from $239 per room per night.
John Carver Inn & Spa
Where: Plymouth, MA
Why: Because the one-night "Haunted Stays and Corn Maize Package" saves you up to 30% on lodging at the John Carver Inn & Spa, plus you get two tickets to a local corn maze, where there are hay rides, a cow train ride, and a corn cannon. The package also includes two tickets to a 90-minute "Ghosts & Legends" walking history tour, which points out the most haunted spots in town (including the inn). Available Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 30 from $155 per room per night.
Where: Hawley, PA
Why: Because fun-filled weekends at this all-inclusive family-run resort include a haunted hayride, scavenger hunt, costume party, pumpkin hunt, ghost stories by the campfire, a petting zoo, and many other fall activities. Available Oct. 14-16, 21-23 and 28-30: on the first two weekends at Woodloch Resort, the all-inclusive, two-night package starts at $398 per adult, and from $136 per child over 3; on the last weekend, the adult rate drops to $328.
Six Flags Great Escape Lodge
Where: Lake George, NY
Why: Because the "Fright Fest Spooktacular" package at this indoor water park resort includes unlimited admission to the water park and 20 free arcade tokens per child. Plus, families have the run of the park's Halloween entertainment, which includes haunted hayrides, wandering zombies, and a spooky street party. Available Oct. 7-30 from $278 per room per night.
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina
Where: San Diego, CA
Why: Because this upscale resort perched along the coastline is near the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and other family-friendly attractions. For Halloween weekend at the Hyatt Regency, expect a hula-hoop and monster mash contests, pumpkin painting, trick-or-treat bag decorating, and more. The pool area is all decked out, too -- eerie fog on the waterslides, spooky lighting, and haunted music, plus spider-webbed pool cabanas and creepy cocktails for adults. Come nightfall, families can trick-or-treat around the property, and then enjoy a family movie at the pool. Rates start at $169 per room per night, with breakfast for two.
Red Jacket Beach Resort
Where: Cape Cod, MA
Why: Because this beachfront resort on the Nantucket Sound is idyllic in fall -- and it has a Halloween party planned for both kids and the grown-ups. The Haunted Hotel weekend offers a dive-in movie at the indoor pool, treasure hunts, and supervised kids' activities during the evening, so that parents can go to a live-music party of their own. There will also be "sightings" of a 19th-century captain and crew, whose ship was the original Red Jacket. The two-night package starts at $99 per room per night and includes two tickets to the adult party (the kids' party costs extra).
The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation
Where: Greensboro, GA
Why: Because this secluded resort on Lake Oconee is having a Halloween party every Saturday night in October, with pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating and ghost stories around a campfire in the adjacent forest. Kids ages 5 to 12 can also play during the day at the Ritz Kids Club, open all year. The Great Pumpkin package, which starts at $305 per room per night, includes a carving kit and a $25 daily resort credit.
YMCA of the Rockies
Where: Estes Park, CO and Snow Mountain Ranch, CO
Why: Because these popular family camps are doing Family Fall Fest Weekends during the last two weekends of October, with activities such as pumpkin-throwing contests, costumed roller skating, tours of an "enchanted forest," and s'mores around the campfire. The two-night package ($340 for a family of four with kids ages 6 to 12; kids 5 and under are free) includes five buffet-style meals and all weekend activities.
Club Med Sandpiper Bay
Where: Port St. Lucie, FL
Why: Because this all-inclusive, family-friendly resort is putting on a big Spooktacular Halloween party every week in October, with activities for infants, toddlers, kids, teens, and grown-ups. The Club Med Sandpiper Bay will host costume dress-ups, trick-or-treating, spellbinding games and prize giveaways, as well as Halloween-themed dance parties. Seven-night packages start at $810 per person as part of the Seven Day Weekend deal.
Tarrytown House Estate
Where: Tarrytown, NY
Why: Because this grand inn north of New York City has a history of its own ghosts, yet this season's focus is more on whimsy with the Blaze package. The $199 room rate -- and $25 extra for each child -- gets you breakfast daily and tickets to the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, a local exhibit that features more than 4,000 hand-carved jack o' lanterns, such as super-size dinosaurs, pirates, and even a huge spinning UFO. If you want a chance at seeing some ghosts back at the hotel, ask for a room in the estate's 169-year-old King Mansion (some people swear it's haunted).
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