By Kathleen Kraemer
Halloween is on Monday and if you’re like me, you are incredibly thrilled. Seeing as ESU is a college campus, it seems likely that some students are unfamiliar with the town and all that it offers for the Halloween season.
Well, look no further! This is my definitive guide to the Poconos for Halloween!
One undeniable staple of the Halloween season is a haunted house. Lucky for ESU students, we have the Hotel of Horror right in our back yard.
Located in Saylorsburg, Pa. less than 20 minutes from campus, the Hotel of Horror houses three different attractions: “Hotel of Horror,” “Altered Nightmares” and “Exhibition Macabre.”
The Hotel is open tomorrow through Monday regardless of weather. The actors and house are legendary in the area for scaring the pants off their visitors and the Hotel is rumored to actually be haunted.
Another local haunted attraction is the Candle Shoppe of the Poconos in Swiftwater, Pa., also about 20 minutes from campus.
Built in 1897, the house was once home to Dr. William Redwood Fisher who used the basement to experiment on animals in search of a vaccine for Small Pox and Yellow Fever.
The shop is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the animals and by the doctor himself. The basement of the shop has been converted into a haunted house and museum containing actual medical equipment used in Fisher’s experiments.
If you want to do some research before you check it out, there are a lot of sources online about the shop including an episode of Animal Planet’s “The Haunted” from 2009 which featured the shop.
If you’re willing and able to travel a little further, there are several other spooky locations just outside of our area.
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is approximately two hours from campus and is famously creepy. If you have any doubt about its scare factor, the website encourages you to “Just imagine being inside an 11-acre abandoned prison at night.”
The Penitentiary is open all weekend beginning at 10 a.m., but the haunted tours begin at 7 p.m.
About one and a half hours away, closer to campus, is Centralia, Pa., an entire abandoned town. Centralia’s population began to dwindle in the 80s when an underground coal mining fire began to cause problems for the occupants of the town.
The fire is still burning today, and the abandoned town has remained spooky enough to be the inspiration for the movie “Silent Hills.” It is well worth the trip.
Even closer to campus at only an hour away is the Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe, Pa. The Old Jail is known in local history as the location of the hanging of miners in the Molly Maguire Trials.
This attraction’s biggest claim to fame is the handprint of one of the victims on the wall of a cell that has survived many attempts at removal.
According to the website, “Before his hanging one of the men, thought to be Alexander Campbell, put his hand on the dirty floor of his cell and then placed it firmly on the wall proclaiming, ‘This handprint will remain as proof of my innocence.’”
The Old Jail is open until Sunday from noon until 4:15 p.m.
If haunted houses aren’t your thing, don’t worry! There are plenty of other things going on!
ESU’s Warrior Nights at the University Center will have a Halloween theme tomorrow from 9 p.m. until midnight. It will include Zombie Face Painting, Karaoke, pumpkin painting and psychic readings. Students are encouraged to come in costume.
If scary movies are more your speed, you can make your way down to the Pocono Cinema for their showing of “Texas Chainsaw” tomorrow night at 9:45 p.m.
Wondering why you can’t just stay home and watch the movie? Dan Yeager, the man who played Leatherface in the film, will be in attendance to sign autographs and answer questions!
The Pocono Cinema will also be playing the film “Halloween” Saturday at 9:45 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a Halloween tradition, and this year is no exception. You can catch the show at the Sherman Theater tomorrow night! Doors open at 9:30 p.m. for the pre-party, and the film begins at midnight.
If you’ve never attended “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” you should. It is a unique experience and about as much fun as you can have. Just don’t forget your props! You’ll need toilet paper, a newspaper, rice, confetti and toast.
Mazezilla, discussed in the article below, is another fun local possibility for this weekend!
As always, Dorney Park’s Haunt is on. The park is transformed for the Halloween season into a scary fright fest. Dorney’s Haunt is open tomorrow from 6 p.m. through midnight and Saturday from 7 p.m. through midnight.
If you’re feeling like doing something a little more adult this weekend, Mountain View Vineyard in Stroudsburg is holding a Hallowine Weekend event.
Show up in costume for some treats, free samples of Barley Creek Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale, a special caramel apple sangria and the Casaculinarian food truck.
Blue Ridge Vineyards, Brook Hollow Winery, and Tolino Vineyards will also be participating, so you can make a day of it getting your Hallowine on!
If you want to do something but you don’t want to spend any money, there are some options for you as well!
Right now, the Poconos are as beautiful as they get. The foliage has changed colors and the air is crisp and cool.
Go for a hike on one of the many trails or just go for a walk around the block. The Delaware Water Gap is always beautiful but it is amplified this time of year with all the colors. You can also hike at ESU’s Stony Acres on one of their trails.
Finally, if you really don’t feel like going anywhere, curl up with a good book or a good movie or hang out at home with some friends. You don’t have to go out to have a fun evening!
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