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A Scary Good Time: Halloween, fall fun for all ages

In a year when protocols and safety measures are in constant flux, this list of local activities is proof that fall fun has not been spirited away.

From festivals to farms to walks and mazes and much more, Halloween and the fall season remain opportunities to get together and celebrate cooler weather,  while enjoying local haunts and spooky evenings with family and friends. 

Legends and Lanterns trio
(Source: DiscoverStCharles.com)

LEGENDS & LANTERNS

Main Street | Saint Charles

The Legends & Lanterns festival returns to light up Main Street and bring another year of Halloween-themed delights to residents of all ages. The event takes places on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 10-Oct. 25 along Main Street in Historic Saint Charles.

In honor of the event’s fifth anniversary, the 2020 event theme will be a unique celebration of all things Halloween. 

“We have our spooky Victorian characters and our witches, of course, but this year we also have pirates and an evil mermaid,” said Ryan Cooper, festival director. “Also, this year we are adding some 1950s B-movie style Martians to come to the streets.”

New to the cast is Anny Bony, an Irish pirate who operated in the Caribbean and was one of the most famous female pirates of all time. Also debuting is the Botanical Rascals exhibit, an educational cart that is all about poisonous or carnivorous plants.

“It’s a really interesting thing that also fits into our wheelhouse, because we’ll have creepy bell jars and terrariums that’ll have faux representations of poisonous or carnivorous plants, as well as popular plants from pop culture, like Harry Potter’s mandrake or Audrey II from ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’” Cooper explained.

Another new addition will be street swordfights every hour by the festival’s pirate cast members.

“The fun thing about that is that the ending is different every time, so even if you see them fight multiple times, you never quite know who is going to win until you get to the end,” Cooper said.

Live music will be provided by the Angry Villagers, a musical mob of peasants, and the Ghouling Stones, who appear as a cast of living statues.

“We’re really just leaning into the backbone of what Legends & Lanterns is, and we’re celebrating – not the gory or the scary – but the whimsical and fantasy aspect of Halloween and all the different stories we can explore,” Cooper said. 

While much remains the same, patrons may notice a difference in how the characters are available on the street. This is because the 2020 festival has also been designed to provide a more contactless experience. The characters will be in themed enclosures that enhance their stories. 

“You’ll still be able to chat with them and interact with them, you just won’t be able to get as close as you’ve been able to in the past,” Cooper said. 

Characters stamping commemorative passports has been done away with this year. Instead, visitors will be able to pick up commemorative books printed with activities, pictures and personal messages from each of the different characters.

“It won’t be much different other than the fact that they’re not getting something directly from those characters,” Cooper said.

Guests are reminded to wear masks and mind social distancing measures.

For those who are unable to participate in-person, Legends & Lanterns is also preparing digital content that will be available for viewing on social media and its Facebook page.

This special content includes general livestreams as well as more scripted content.

“We may be doing videos of Edgar Allen Poe doing a reading of ‘The Raven’ somewhere on Main Street, or our witch characters doing a tongue-and-cheek cooking show called ‘The Witchin’ Kitchen’ where they share some of their favorite recipes,” Cooper said. “We may have some of music groups, like the Angry Villagers or our new group, the Ghouling Stones … they may sing a few song that we’ll be sharing digitally.

“There’s going to be plenty for people to enjoy even if they can’t be here, or if they can be here, they can enjoy it after they go home.”

Legends & Lanterns 
Festival Hours
Saturday, Oct. 10: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 11: Noon-5 p.m.  
Saturday, Oct. 17: 11a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 18: Noon-5 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 23: 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 25: Noon-5 p.m.

SUNFLOWER CORN MAZE 

Eagle Fork Farms | Moscow Mills

Explore a sunflower-themed corn maze and a kiddie maze at Eagle Fork Farms. The maze is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Admission to the maze is $6 for adults and $4 for youth 12 and under. General admission to the farm is free. Eagle Fork Farms is located at 65 Eagle Fork Lane in Moscow Mills. Details at eagleforkfarms.com.

Dickherber Farms
Dickherber Farms (Source: Facebook)

CORN MAZE

Dickherber Farms | Dardenne Prairie

The Dickherber Farms corn maze welcomes guests with a tribute to Sesame Street’s own Elmo then segues into a 

tribute to Pianos for People’s founder, Tom Townsend twists through the “Brain” and ends with Psalm 9. Admission is $8 per person; free for children ages 3 and younger. Dickherber Farms is located at 7063 Hwy. N in Dardenne Prairie. Visit them on Facebook to stay up-to-date with fall events. 

PLEIN AIR PAINTING COMPETITION

Foundry Art Centre | Saint Charles

A fall Plein Air Painting Competition is from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Foundry Art Centre, 520 N. Main Center in Saint Charles. Participants can paint fall foliage with oils, acrylics and watercolors. This competition is juried by John Troy, senior professor of art and design at Lindenwood University. An entry fee is charged. Winners will receive cash prizes and have their work displayed at the FAC. For details and to register, visit foundryartcentre.org/plein-air.

CELEBRATE FALL

Foundry Art Centre | Saint Charles

Experience live music featuring Almost Famous, food, drinks and art at a free from 5:30-8 p.m.  on Saturday, Oct. 3. For details, visit foundryartcenter.org.

Wreath making
Wreath making at the county’s annual Fall Harvest Festival (Source: St. Charles County Parks and Recreation)

FALL HARVEST FESTIVAL

Broemmelsiek Park | Defiance

The St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department hosts its annual Fall Harvest Festival at Broemmelsiek Park’s Educational Agriculture Area, 1615 Schwede Road in Defiance, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. Admission is free. Demonstrations and entertainment will be spread out throughout the park’s 3-acre agriculture garden. 

Family-friendly activities include wreath making using natural materials, old-fashioned woodworking and fiber arts/spinning, paper marbling, an antique farm equipment and machinery display and demonstrations from the IL-MO Tractor and Engine Club, making molasses with a the historic sorghum press, and a 3-acre corn maze.

Park staff and vendors will sell pumpkins and other vegetables from the agriculture gardens, as well as a variety of historical toys and candy from the festival’s general store tent.

While the event is free, there is a $3-$5 charge for wreath building. 

The free corn maze is open daily from 7 a.m. to 30 minutes past sunset through Nov. 29. 

FRENCHTOWN ART WALK 

North Second Street | Saint Charles

The Frenchtown Art Walk is from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 along the 700 block of North Second to the 1800 block of North Second in historic Saint Charles. More than 25 artists and local craftsmen will be featured along with food and beverages. Social distancing and face masks are strongly encouraged. 

SPIRITED WINDOWS 

North Second Street | Saint Charles

The Frenchtown Heritage Museum and Research Center hosts its “Spirit of Halloween Window Painting Contest” again this year. Windows will be painted Oct. 2-9  with voting by the public taking place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m on Saturday, Oct. 10. The Museum will also be open for touring along with a special Halloween display, “The Ghosts of Frenchtown.”

Jack-o-Glow Walk
Residents can enjoy music, food and hand-carved jack-o-lanterns at the county’s annual Jack-O-Glow Walk event. (Source: St. Charles County Parks and Recreation)

JACK-O-GLOW WALK 

St. Charles County Heritage Museum| St. Peters

The St. Charles County Parks Department’s Jack-O-Glow Walk is from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16 at St. Charles County Heritage Museum, 1630 Heritage Landing in St. Peters. One hundred pumpkins carved by residents will illuminate the museum and 1 mile of the Centennial Trail. Pumpkin carving will take place from 6-7 p.m. outside the museum. The cost to carve is $2 each and pre-registration is required by visiting http://bit.ly/2020JackOGlowWalk or calling (636) 949-7535. Carvers must bring their own tools and have their pumpkins ready to display by 7 p.m. Carved pumpkins will go home with contestants after the event ends. 

The Jack-O-Glow Walk is from 7:30-9 p.m. Families are encouraged to dress up for the occasion, as prizes will be awarded for the top three best carvings and the best family or group costumes.

Music, a scavenger hunt with prizes, and a variety of outdoor yard games also are featured. Admission to walk the illuminated trail is free and registration is not required. 

SPIRITS FROM THE PAST 

The Historic Daniel Boone Home | Defiance

Spirits from the 1800s will be brought to life from 6-10:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17, at The Historic Daniel Boone Home, 1861 Hwy. F in Defiance. Visitors can walk through lantern-lit paths in the historic park, visit with Aunt Hattie, and – for those brave enough – hear an eerie telling of “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by storyteller Anne Williams. 

Tours will consist of small groups participating in a 1.5-hour guided experience. Guests will tour the inside of the Boone Home and enjoy different vignettes throughout the village grounds and inside some of the buildings. Tour times are available to reserve between 6-9 p.m. and are limited to groups of 12. Reservations are required and will not be available at the door. Admission is $8 per person if pre-registered before Oct. 3; $10 after that date. To make a reservation, visit http://bit.ly/2020SpiritsOfThePast or call (636) 798-2005. 

HALLOWEEN DISC GOLF GLOW 

The Park at New Melle Lakes | New Melle

The 18-hole disc golf course at The Park at New Melle Lakes will be aglow with Halloween spirit for the annual Halloween Disc Golf Glow Tournament. The event is 6:30-11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23. Participants of all skill levels compete for cash prizes at this nighttime contest where baskets lined with glowsticks mark the course. The competition begins at 6:30 p.m. and offers a mix of short and long holes that travel in and out of the woods in the park, located at 400 Foristell Road in New Melle. Cost is $10 per person; registration is from 5-6:15 p.m. on the day of the event only. The tournament is limited to 72 players. A limited number of LED lights will be available for purchase prior to the tournament. For more information, call (636) 949-7535.

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