Recapture the Magic of Halloween at a KOA

October 14, 2013

Ask anyone over 40 for their memories of Halloween, and you’ll find they are all “eerily” similar.

Dressed in thrift store throwaways — or maybe a store-bought plastic mask — you and your friends scoured the town armed with big paper bags, hollering “Trick or Treat!”

Back then, Halloween was a true “community” event . . . an annual block party. Unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas, which tend to focus on families, Halloween was about seeing your neighbors and sharing the excitement with them.

Unfortunately, society has changed to the point that parents are unwilling to “turn the kids loose” as they did when we were kids.

So, where can you help your kids recapture the Halloween of your youth? How about a KOA campground?

We often describe KOAs as the “last small towns in North America.” It’s where it’s still safe to send your kids to the playground, or riding bikes, without you by their elbow.

The controlled environment of a campground lets kids experience Halloween — and trick or treating — the way it was meant to be.

And Kampgrounds of America locations throughout the 485-location North American system are making plans for Halloween and Fall Festival weekends that will help your trick-or-treaters make their own memories.

Here’s just a few special things planned at KOAs this fall. Be sure to visit your favorite KOA online at Check out the “Events” tab in the “Campground Overview” of the KOA’s web page to see what they have planned for fall.

Meadville, PA KOA: This beautifully wooded park is planning Apple Festival Weekend (Oct. 4-6). They’ll have crafts for the kids, bingo, an apple “pass the dish” social, and wagon rides through the fall foliage. The nearby town of Franklin is also celebrating Applefest that weekend! You can also check out Customer Appreciation Weekend Oct. 12 and Closing Camp Weekend Oct. 19.

Hagerstown/Antietam Battlefield, MD KOA: Owners John and Judy Durham had an old house next door to the campground. They decided to turn the place into a true “haunted house” for the entire month of October and call it “The Terror of Creekside Manor.” It’s open to campers and to the public. Click here to visit their web page for more information.

Lena, IL KOA: This former KOA Rising Star campground celebrates fall all during October, with Halloween Celebration Weekend Oct. 4; Halloween Celebration II & Columbus Day Weekend Oct. 11; Spooks and Spirits Oct. 18-20; and Last Weekend of the Season Oct. 25. Click here to visit the Lena KOA web page and look in the “Events” tab in the “Campground Overview” section.

Charlotte/Fort Mill, SC KOA: The home of “The Campground Massacre.” This one is a bit “intense,” but lots of fun for those who love to be scared. It runs every Friday and Saturday in October, and also has dates on Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Oct. 24, Oct. 27, Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. Check out for times and ticket prices. Visit Charlotte/Fort Mill’s page  to make your camping reservations.

Buckeye Lake/Columbus East, OH KOA: This special place will have crafts, games and pumpkin painting on Oct. 4-6; a Haunted Halloween/1st Monster Ball Weekend Oct. 11-13 (with site decorating, trick-or-treating, pumpkin painting and music); and a second Haunted Halloween Oct. 1-20 (with a classic car show and food). Click here for more information or to make your reservations.

Cardinal/Ottawa South, ONT KOA: They are having fall fun north of the border, too! This KOA has three “spook-tacular” weekends planned in October, including Halloween (Oct. 4-5); Halloween/Thanksgiving (Oct. 11-13); and Halloween and Goodbyes Weekend (Oct. 19, for the last camping weekend of the season). There will be site decorating contests, costumes, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and parties all month long. Check them out at here for more info and to make reservations.

Remember, this is only a sampling of what KOAs have to offer for fun this fall. Be sure to check out your favorite KOA at

  • Sandra Finigan

    Cardinal/Ottawa South is the best place to go for a great Halloween experience. We had an amazing time this past weekend. The staff and owners go all out. I think my favourite part was the maze.

  • psmulvaney

    Thanks for sharing. We love Cardinal too! Great owners with incredible spirit.
    Happy Camping,
    Polly Mulvaney, KOA