|The region is packed full of activities for Halloween|
By Lori O'Brien, Correspondent
Throughout Western Massachusetts, Halloween is celebrated in style for youngsters from neighborhood parties at YMCA's and schools to extravagant affairs at several tourist outlets.
For some ideas that are guaranteed to frightfully entertain and intrigue children here's a sampling of regional events:
Perhaps the most elaborate Halloween undertaking is at Six Flags New England in Agawam, with its popular "FrightFest" shows and attractions running through the end of the month. Six Flags has been converted into an entire haunted theme park with amazing and chilling frights every night from corner to corner and coaster to coaster. Six Flags guarantees spooky experiences, bonechilling rides and thrills, and an evening that will make you scream! For young children, the "Celebrate the Screams Parade" featuring Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes friends, festive floats and the Justice League are also part of the fun. For complete details, visit www.sixflags.com.
In West Springfield, Storrowton Village Museum will offer its annual Halloween presentation, "Haunted Old New England," on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Meetinghouse on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition. Entertainer Damon Cook will bewitch audience members with authentic 18th and 19th century songs and spooky stories by candlelight inside the village's historic church.
In a special pre-program feature at 6:30, local historian Rusty Clark of West Springfield will autograph copies of her newly published book, "Stories Carved in Stone." Admission for the 45-minute presentation is $5. Reservations are not required but are strongly encouraged. For more information, call (413) 205-5051.
Look Park in Northampton will offer its popular haunted train ride and Halloween light displays on the weekends of Oct. 20-22 and Oct. 27-29. The park also offers a trick-or-treat program for children under 13 that features pumpkin painting and hayrides. For more details, call (413) 584-5457.
Haunted hayrides are now being offered on weekends at McCray's Farm in South Hadley. Rides for children run from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and adult hayrides begin after dark. A range of foodstuffs will be available including hotdogs, hamburgers and chili.
The fourth annual "Things That Go Bump in the Night" will be offered Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge. Halloween costumes are encouraged and visitors will view the famous Field of Jack O'Lanterns, witness the magic of living scarecrows, trick-or-treat door to door in the Haunter Center Village, listen to ghostly stories by storyteller Dave Bates, enjoy the fun of comedic juggler Lucky Bob and partake in a reading by psychic Gary McKinstry. Tickets are $10 when purchased online at www.osv.org. Tickets will also be available at the Village Visitor Center.
The Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center in Northfield will celebrate the Halloween season with Halloween songs and spooky stories led by singer/songwriter Roger Tincknell on the evening of Oct. 28. For more information, call (800) 859-2960.
The Eastfield Mall in Springfield will host a "Mall-O-Ween" event on Oct. 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. that will feature trick-or-treating for children 12 and under with free treats including a deluxe trick-or-treat bag. In addition, a costume contest is planned for all age groups with the adult grand prize winner receiving an all-expense paid trip for two to experience the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Age categories and times for the costume contest are age six and under, 2 p.m.; age seven through 17, 2:45 p.m., and 18 and older, 3:30 p.m. For more information, call the Eastfield Mall at (413) 543-8000.
Historic Deerfield in Deerfield will present "Supernatural Sunday" on Oct. 29 which will feature hayrides, magic tours of the Old Burying Ground, shows by magician Robert Olson and a display by gravestone carver Karin Sprague. Children will also have the opportunity to make intriguing masks to take home. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for ages six to 21. Children six and younger are admitted free. For more information, call (413) 775-7214.
On Halloween, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst will present "Halloween Storytimes" at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. for youngsters. The special program includes a museum scavenger hunt that promises to be filled with treats and treasures. Parents are encouraged to have their children dress up as their favorite picture book character. The program is free with museum admission.