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We haven't been able to take a vacation during the summer, so I was thinking about fall break and what we might do as a family. I have a 7 year old. He is off the first two weeks of October for Fall break. Give me some ideas on where you might head for a fall vacation with some Halloween fun involved?

We've been to Disneyland for their Halloween party a few times.

What are your thoughts with it being the earlier part of October? Anyone know of something going on in Hawaii? :)

Thanks!
 

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It's a sign of how much I enjoy this forum that I will share my secret fun place with you! LOL!

We go every year to Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA. We adore it! Each year, they have an event called the Covered Bridge Festival with hundreds of craft & food vendors, in addition to the food already in the park. An auto show is also going on. This event happens the same weekend as an event called Phoenix Phall Phunfest, which is named for their famous roller coaster, The Phoenix.

http://www.knoebels.com/plan-your-visit/events/knoebels-events

Knoebels is consistently ranked as a top spot for families, & I couldn't agree more. You don't pay to get in - you pay for ride tickets or wristbands, and you don't pay for parking!! It's old-fashioned, great food, great rides, not expensive compared to many places, and CLEAN!

It may not give you the WOW factor of Disney, but it gives you less crowds, more of a historic feel, the mountains of PA, the fall colors, and then some. I have been a member of ACE (American Coaster Enthusiasts) and I have ridden a ton of coasters - Phoenix is my favorite wooden coaster, hands down. The Carousel is incredibly unique - one of the only ones left where you can actually grab the brass ring! And, the Flying Turns is a historic NEW ride based on old fashioned rides of the past. Plus, of special note to this Forum is their INCREDIBLE Haunted House, which has won lots of Dark Ride & Amusement awards.

http://www.dafe.org/rides/HauntedMansionKnoebels.html

During the Phoenix Phall Phunfest, the park starts their Halloween decor & "scares". The Pioneer Trains are NOT to be missed at night. It's a ride for the whole family that takes you back out through the woods & by the Knoebels campgrounds. They do a TON of decor back here - pirate ships manned with skellys, fog, abandoned pioneer towns, gold miners, and sometimes a storyline involving aliens. Plus some of the campers will decorate their sites so you can see that as well. You go through a tunnel & under one of the wooden coasters. It's great!

Also, the Antique Cars get a huge makeover for Halloween - at night they are HAUNTED and "actors" will jump out through the ride & even onto your car! You can ride both these rides (cars & train) in the daytime to get an idea of how scary it will be, but at night they are something else!

Plus the whole park is decorated with mums, pumpkins, cornstalks & other fall displays. Many of the rides, even the kiddie ones, will be decorated in some way near their entrance, or might have a witch on a broom flying around above it, or otherwise have some nod to the Halloween season.

Truly, I'm not sure if I can say enough about it. I've been going since I was a single chick with the roller coaster club, and now it has morphed into an extended family event with my DH, our kids, my sister & her kids, my mom & aunt, my best friend & her family, and last year 2 of my DH's brothers and their families came along. It was a HUGE group of us, and everyone said they are coming back again next year.

Oh - and on the night of the Phunfest (Oct 8th this year), there is a costume parade & a big bonfire at the campground! People walk around in costumes, dogs are welcome in the park, and it's just fabulous. Nothing like it, IMHO. <3

DSC09060.jpg

Above - photo from Pioneer Train decor

DSC09332.jpg

Above - blurry but a cool gazebo with wire "ghosts" who dance around under the spooky lighting

DSC09349.jpg

Above - an art style piece that was a mini carousel decorated with photos of the Knoebels family that really spun with the skellys on it

The food is sooooo good at this time of year also! Penn State does these awesome apple dumplings with cinnamon ice cream each year, there's a vendor who roasts whole ears of corn & then dunks them in a vat of butter and you can sprinkle about 50 spices on it, there's whole turkey legs, AMAZING homemade donuts, white birch beer in the park (so great), fantastic Cesari's pizza, baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon butter, maple cotton candy.... I could go on!

Truly, I can't think of a better place in the fall than Knoebels. I know a couple other people on this Forum go there each year, some at the Phunfest/Covered Bridge Festival like I do. If they see this post, I am sure they will agree with me on how wonderful it is. :D

 

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If we're dreaming big, I would like to go to Romania/Transylvaia to see castles. And take a sleigh ride through the snow-covered forests of Bavaria in Germany at night. You know, European/Gothic feels. :)
 

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On a more realistic note, we went one time to a theme park in Texas called "Screams". Not sure if they still have it, but it was devoted solely to Haunted Houses and Halloween related amusement. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I don't remember exactly where it was.
 
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Years ago we did Knotts Scray Farm and Disneyland... Disney wasn't all that decked out for Halloween and Knotts we did 2 days.. the first day not so bad crowd wise the second was a weekend night and just too packed to enjoy. Only thing still on my bucket list is Salem Mass.
 

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bone collector
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Great thread & more ideas for Oct. vacays!!!

NOLA and Salem, Mass, are my two bucket list Halloween-time trips.

Been to Disneyland during Halloween season a few times, mid week & not during any school fall breaks, otherwise it's ridiculously crowded. Magical decorations and a must-do if in So Cal.
 

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It looks like some great, fun ideas!

If we're dreaming big, I would like to go to Romania/Transylvaia to see castles. And take a sleigh ride through the snow-covered forests of Bavaria in Germany at night. You know, European/Gothic feels. :)
I haven't gotten to Bavaria (maybe someday) but I highly recommend seeing Transylvania (though not so much for 7 year old). It's absolutely stunning, the history is fascinating, and when you get beyond the big cities, the people are delightfully hospitable. Castles, Fortified Churches, Medieval villages, Roman ruins, fascinating cemeteries...It's one of my favorite places.
 

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bone collector
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It looks like some great, fun ideas!



I haven't gotten to Bavaria (maybe someday) but I highly recommend seeing Transylvania (though not so much for 7 year old). It's absolutely stunning, the history is fascinating, and when you get beyond the big cities, the people are delightfully hospitable. Castles, Fortified Churches, Medieval villages, Roman ruins, fascinating cemeteries...It's one of my favorite places.
Now THAT'S a trip!!!
 

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It's a sign of how much I enjoy this forum that I will share my secret fun place with you! LOL!

We go every year to Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA. We adore it! Each year, they have an event called the Covered Bridge Festival with hundreds of craft & food vendors, in addition to the food already in the park. An auto show is also going on. This event happens the same weekend as an event called Phoenix Phall Phunfest, which is named for their famous roller coaster, The Phoenix.

http://www.knoebels.com/plan-your-visit/events/knoebels-events

Knoebels is consistently ranked as a top spot for families, & I couldn't agree more. You don't pay to get in - you pay for ride tickets or wristbands, and you don't pay for parking!! It's old-fashioned, great food, great rides, not expensive compared to many places, and CLEAN!

It may not give you the WOW factor of Disney, but it gives you less crowds, more of a historic feel, the mountains of PA, the fall colors, and then some. I have been a member of ACE (American Coaster Enthusiasts) and I have ridden a ton of coasters - Phoenix is my favorite wooden coaster, hands down. The Carousel is incredibly unique - one of the only ones left where you can actually grab the brass ring! And, the Flying Turns is a historic NEW ride based on old fashioned rides of the past. Plus, of special note to this Forum is their INCREDIBLE Haunted House, which has won lots of Dark Ride & Amusement awards.

http://www.dafe.org/rides/HauntedMansionKnoebels.html

During the Phoenix Phall Phunfest, the park starts their Halloween decor & "scares". The Pioneer Trains are NOT to be missed at night. It's a ride for the whole family that takes you back out through the woods & by the Knoebels campgrounds. They do a TON of decor back here - pirate ships manned with skellys, fog, abandoned pioneer towns, gold miners, and sometimes a storyline involving aliens. Plus some of the campers will decorate their sites so you can see that as well. You go through a tunnel & under one of the wooden coasters. It's great!

Also, the Antique Cars get a huge makeover for Halloween - at night they are HAUNTED and "actors" will jump out through the ride & even onto your car! You can ride both these rides (cars & train) in the daytime to get an idea of how scary it will be, but at night they are something else!

Plus the whole park is decorated with mums, pumpkins, cornstalks & other fall displays. Many of the rides, even the kiddie ones, will be decorated in some way near their entrance, or might have a witch on a broom flying around above it, or otherwise have some nod to the Halloween season.

Truly, I'm not sure if I can say enough about it. I've been going since I was a single chick with the roller coaster club, and now it has morphed into an extended family event with my DH, our kids, my sister & her kids, my mom & aunt, my best friend & her family, and last year 2 of my DH's brothers and their families came along. It was a HUGE group of us, and everyone said they are coming back again next year.

Oh - and on the night of the Phunfest (Oct 8th this year), there is a costume parade & a big bonfire at the campground! People walk around in costumes, dogs are welcome in the park, and it's just fabulous. Nothing like it, IMHO. <3

View attachment 281739

Above - photo from Pioneer Train decor

View attachment 281740

Above - blurry but a cool gazebo with wire "ghosts" who dance around under the spooky lighting

View attachment 281741

Above - an art style piece that was a mini carousel decorated with photos of the Knoebels family that really spun with the skellys on it

The food is sooooo good at this time of year also! Penn State does these awesome apple dumplings with cinnamon ice cream each year, there's a vendor who roasts whole ears of corn & then dunks them in a vat of butter and you can sprinkle about 50 spices on it, there's whole turkey legs, AMAZING homemade donuts, white birch beer in the park (so great), fantastic Cesari's pizza, baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon butter, maple cotton candy.... I could go on!

Truly, I can't think of a better place in the fall than Knoebels. I know a couple other people on this Forum go there each year, some at the Phunfest/Covered Bridge Festival like I do. If they see this post, I am sure they will agree with me on how wonderful it is. :D

I love Knoebel's! I was there last week and it seems like they started leaving a few of their Halloween themed games and other stuff in the park year round. I've been to the craft show and it gets JAM PACKED. While there is usually a very large selection of craft vendors, I only saw a few things that I really thought were cool and I also felt the vendors that were housed in their pavilions really needed some sort of queueing because crowds were going up and down with no direction and it was getting very claustrophobic.

Other than that, I completely agree that the food is phenomenal and worth the price. They have a nice campground which is surrounded by the beauty of nature. Most of the rides have an olde world charm and the haunted house is one of my favorite attractions there, they even updated parts of it this year! Take a look https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8IsmxwrPKQ
 

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I love Knoebel's! I was there last week and it seems like they started leaving a few of their Halloween themed games and other stuff in the park year round. I've been to the craft show and it gets JAM PACKED. While there is usually a very large selection of craft vendors, I only saw a few things that I really thought were cool and I also felt the vendors that were housed in their pavilions really needed some sort of queueing because crowds were going up and down with no direction and it was getting very claustrophobic.
Yes, the craft area can be very tight. We don't tend to go through the craft area very much, unless it's on the way to a food vendor we want! LOL! We go to Knoebels on both the Sat & Sun of the Covered Bridge Festival, and Sunday is always less crowded. Since we have smaller kids & strollers, we do try to stay away from the most congested areas, like the craft pavilions, but I will say that even when jam packed, I find that it gets gridlocked in a few areas but then opens up again. We stay practically until the park closes at night also, so for us we aren't in much of a hurry. However, I will say that at night during the Phunfest, the lines for the Antique Cars, Haunted Mansion & Pioneer Train will get LONG so it does involve some strategy!

Glad to hear another person say how wonderful Knoebels is!
 

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I haven't been to Transylvania, but my husband and I did get to wander at night in Bavaria many years ago. We were tired backpackers on our way to a hostel, though, so we didn't get to linger and appreciate the spooky forest. I want to go back with money! lol
 

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I haven't been to Transylvania, but my husband and I did get to wander at night in Bavaria many years ago. We were tired backpackers on our way to a hostel, though, so we didn't get to linger and appreciate the spooky forest. I want to go back with money! lol
Even without lingering, it still sounds like fun. Castle Frankenstein is on my someday list. It "may" have been inspiration to Mary Shelly, but "castle" is enough to interest me, either way.
https://www.pinterest.com/ooojen/why-romania/
 

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Even without lingering, it still sounds like fun. Castle Frankenstein is on my someday list. It "may" have been inspiration to Mary Shelly, but "castle" is enough to interest me, either way.
https://www.pinterest.com/ooojen/why-romania/
As I was stationed in Germany for 5 years with the Army we went to the Castle Frankenstein Halloween celebration.
It was really good. Me and the mrs would also be looking for a stateside halloween vacation maybe Salem or something
like that....
 

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When we do vacations, we always look for a good ghost tour. We had the most fun in Florida at Key West. The tour guides were very energetic with lots of good stories. And you get to hear the story of Robert the Doll and visit him in a museum after hours. You ride a trolley and they even give the kids ghost detecting equipment (at least on our tour). There is a resort about an hour away called Hawks Cay that is very kid friendly. Plus there's plenty of sight seeing in Key West.
https://www.hawkscay.com/
http://www.trolleytours.com/key-west/ghost-tours-key-west.asp

Universal Studios should be a fun time in October.

And since you mention Hawaii, the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui is the only hotel in the world with a water elevator. Plus it's an amazing place. But you would have to check for October events. https://www.grandwailea.com/ and ghost tour http://mahalotoursandtrans.com/toursshuttle/Mauismosthauntedtour.html
 

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Discussion Starter #17
There are some great options! Thank you! I would love to travel Europe for the castles and cemeteries. My kid puts up with it for me but a whole trip for just that might be a stretch. In a few years maybe. :) I love the idea of PA, I had no idea that was there. I am seriously going to look into that. I can only assume the campground/cottages are booked already but I will check out if that is an option. Keep those idea's coming.

Salem is on my list as well.

Thank you for the Hawaii tip. We will be back there just not sure timing and I'd like to check out Maui next time. :)
 
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