Your guide to Halloween in Hocking Hills
From ghost hunts to costume contests, Hocking Hills abounds with spooks and thrills
For those who love the Halloween season and aren’t scared to get a chill or two from local legends and lore, Hocking Hills is the place to be. The thrill-seeker/ghost-hunter will find plenty to do this time of year.
The Hocking Hills region is rich with history. As far back as the 1700s, Native American Indians roamed through these caves and early Ohio settlers explored the valley. Whenever you find yourself deep in the woods, you can’t help but imagine the footsteps of modern man’s ancestors crossing these same streams and navigating these same paths.
The area has its share of spirits, or so say those believers who love a good ghost story. See our roundup of the most haunted spots and, at the end, a rundown of fun events, like one of the area’s group-led night hikes. Bring a camera and some courage — and keep an eye out for those things that go bump in the night!
The crying mother at Rose Lake
Near the campsite at Hocking Hills State Park, campers report hearing a ghostly woman’s cry. Legend has it the woman was a mother who — after looking for her lost child after dark — fell off a cliff to her death. To this day, she roams around Rose Lake at night, calling for her child.
The maimed train brakeman at Moonville Tunnel
A small mining town, Moonville was founded in 1850, but no longer exists. The Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad had a line that passed through years ago. The railroad, like the town, is now gone — but the tunnel still stands. Rumor has it a train brakeman who was struck and crushed under the wheels of the train paces the tunnel, and visitors can see the light swaying back and forth from his swinging lantern.
Howling hounds at Old Man’s Cave
In the early 1800s an old man (a hermit, really) lived in the cave with his hounds. One night he went down to the creek to get water and attempted to break through the ice with his rifle. The loaded gun went off and resulted in him losing his life from the gunshot wound. Legend has it his faithful hounds can still be heard crying out for their master to return.
A lonely spirit at Ash Cave
The spirit of a woman in 1920s attire is said to follow hikers along the trail. Known as “The Pale Lady,” she is seen so frequently that, according to Haunted Hocking, one out of every four group-led night hikes result in a sighting (she is known for spooking hikers by peering at them from around tree trunks).
Named for the massive pile of ashes discovered there (mysteriously!), Ash Cave will leave your imagination running wild — even during a day hike. Animal bones, corn cobs, arrowheads, and other relics were found in the pile of ashes, which were said to be 100 feet long, 30 feet wide, and three feet deep.
Other fun Halloween events
Check out the below activities for more exciting Halloween events to attend after your ghost-hunt.
Hocking Halloween Campout
Hocking Hills State Park is hosting a campout and ghost tour. Pat Quackenbush, the area’s local naturalist, will join a group of biologists and the Haunted Hocking investigation team to guide a spooky hike with night-vision tools, owl calling, and actual ghost-detecting equipment. Trick-or-treating and hayrides at campsite.
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 30-Nov. 1
State Route 56, South Bloomingville
Halloween on the Hocking River
Canoe along the Hocking River in your best spooky costume. Book your canoe here, and heed their spooky warning: “On the river there is nowhere to hide from whoever or whatever is lurking behind the bend. Once in the canoe there is no turning back.” This will definitely be a memorable canoe trip! S’mores and hayride to follow.
Family Fun Center
6 p.m. Fridays in October
22663 Main St., Rockbridge
Haunted Mountain Tours
New to the area? Take a tour of the most haunted mountain in Ohio — Sugarloaf Mountain. The outdoor haunted trail includes special-effect lighting, actors, and animation. Not recommended for children under 10.
Tecumseh Outdoor Drama
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October
5948 Marietta Rd., Chillicothe
Final Fridays — Halloween Costume Contest
This monthly event in historic downtown Nelsonville will give you a taste of what you can find in the public square. This month presents your chance to get a little spooky — with cash prizes to boot.
Downtown Nelsonville Historic Public Square
5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30