If you’re looking for a different and healthier way to help your youngsters celebrate Halloween, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department invites you to visit its state parks and fisheries centers for some special treats.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park in Valley View invites all little ghosts and goblins to the Johnson Branch unit of the park on Oct. 20 for the Spooky Critter Hike from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The park will host a very special night of family fun, candy, surprises and educational talk about critters of the night! Each time you find a night critter with a ranger on our short hike, there will be a treat waiting for you! Participants are encouraged to dress up! Please RSVP if possible by calling (940) 637-2294. No pets are allowed on the hike.
For the sixth year in the row, Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco will present the Spooky Science Fest – Protectors of the Park from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20. Superheroes of all ages from across the universe will be in a battle to save Texas State Parks, as well as our natural and cultural resources, from the clutches of evil. There will be Superhero photos, a mad science lab, games, crafts, hay rides, live animals, costume contests, food, drinks and much, more. What can you do to save the park? The cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children 12 and under, and $2 for those with a Texas State Parks Passport. Call (956) 565-3919 for more information or visit: www.worldbirdingcenter.org
On that same Saturday, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site between Brenham and Navasota will be hosting a look at funerary practices of early Texas with a tour of the Old Washington Cemetery. The “Burying the Dead” program will be presented at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and is open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Return to the state historic site the following day to listen to costumed presenters tell Revolutionary Ghost Stories about the spirits who haunted the Lone Star State in its early days. Presentations will take place at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early at the Visitors Center to stroll to a period setting for the 30 to 45-minute, chill-inducing storytelling about things that go bump in the Texas night. Fees are $5 for adults, students $5 and free for children 6 and younger. For additional details, please call (936) 878-2214, ext. 224.
Representatives of Athens businesses and organizations will hand out free candy treats during the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center’s annual Halloween at the Hatchery from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25. For more information, call (903) 670-2266.
Bring your little ghouls and goblins to Fort Richardson State Park & Historic Site in Jacksboro after 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 and pay no entry fee during the Trunk or Treat and Ghost Walk. Let your youngsters trick or treat through the campsites from 5:30 p.m. to dusk, and then go for a Ghost Walk around the historic site. Call (940) 567-3506 for more information.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park (Johnson and Isle Du Bois units) in North Texas will be awarding prizes to the top three Jack O’ Lanterns in the Great Pumpkin Carving Contest, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 27. One entry per family, please. Halloween treats and a spooky campfire session await Halloween revelers. For more details, call (940) 637-2294.
Take a walk down the Haunted Trail at Martin Dies, Jr. State Park in Jasper and encounter scary monsters and frightening ghouls. The haunted hike takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Cozy up to the campfire while roasting a hotdog and marshmallows provided by the Friends of Martin Dies Jr. State Park for a $1 donation to the group. Get a temporary Halloween tattoo, play games and win prizes. Call (409) 384-5231 for details.
Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson will host its 6th annual Halloween Spooktacular from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28. Children and adults are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costume and participate in crafts, face painting, picture taking, games and trick-or-treating through the Visitor Center. The costume contest is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Winners will receive a trophy and prizes. Admission is free, but there is a $5 fee for participation in craft activities. For more information, call (979) 292-0100.
To see a complete listing of Halloween events at state parks, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site