Philadelphia-area county is home to nationally known haunted houses
Fall foliage, pumpkin patches and frightening fun are classic characteristics of autumn, and you can experience all of them in Delaware County, Pa.
“Delaware County, Pennsylvania, offers a diverse variety of family-friendly, artistic and cultural attractions that make fall a great time to visit,” agrees Steve Byrne, executive director of Visit Delco, PA, the official tourism promotion agency of Delaware County — or “Delco” for short.
“Visitors can enjoy farm fun at Linvilla Orchards, get spooked at Arasapha Farms’ Bates Hotel or take in the fall foliage at Tyler Arboretum,” Byrne says. “There’s always something exciting and new to experience here.”
Located just outside of Philadelphia, the county stretches from Radnor and Wayne — part of the “Main Line” — to the Delaware border. It’s home to the Brandywine Battlefield, Chanticleer Garden and the Brandywine River Museum of Art, all of which are picturesque backdrops for fall photos.
But at this time of year, Delco is also the place for some Halloween happenings. Consider Pumpkin Days at Tyler Arboretum in Media. Scheduled this year for the weekend of Oct. 12-13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the event is geared toward families. There will be hayrides, inflatables, obstacle courses, face-painting, family photos and crafts — including a make-your-own-scarecrow station.
Tyler Arboretum, which dates back to the days of the William Penn, sprawls across 650 acres. Consequently, Pumpkin Days will also feature wildlife demonstrations and education stations. The festival is sponsored by Wawa, which his headquartered in the area. For information, visit tylerarboretum.org or call (610) 566-9134.
Pumpkinland is open through Nov. 10 at Linvilla Orchards in Media, a longtime hub for family fun. Peruse the more than 100 pumpkins on display while listening to live music. The ongoing festival offers a variety of themed hayrides, including a visit to a friendly witch’s house for apple cider or an evening ride through the fields.
There are also train rides and pony rides. On your two feet, explore the straw bale and cornfield mazes. Visit linvilla.com or call (610) 876-7116.
For seasonal fun with adult flavors, Penns Wood Winery in Chadds Ford is holding a series of events in October. Learn to make pumpkin centerpieces on Oct. 13, decorate pumpkins on Oct. 19-20, or dress up your pooch for a Howl-O-Wine Pet Costume Contest on Oct. 27. Follow the activity with a wine tasting. Visit pennswoodsevents.com for the details or call (610) 459-0808. (Double your pleasure by making a stop at nearby Chaddsford Winery.)
Speaking of pumpkins, marvel at more than 70 masterfully carved jack-o-lanterns at Chadds Ford Historical Society’s famous Great Pumpkin Carve, scheduled for Oct. 17-19. In addition to the artists’ masterpieces, there will be a kid-friendly haunted trail, hayrides and live music. Food, wine and beer will be available. Visit chaddsfordhistory.org or call (610) 388-7376.
Serious Halloween aficionados should not miss the annual Bates Motel and Haunted Hayrides at Arasapha Farm in Glen Mills. Consistently named among the best haunted houses in the U.S., the Bates Motel is so scary, it’s not recommended for children under 8 or people with heart conditions.
Nearly 30 years old, the Haunted Hayrides has been profiled on the Travel Channel and in Hauntworld Magazine and USA Today. The ride ambles through woods filled with sets, including a 100-foot long, 40-foot tall insane asylum and a 200-foot-long cave. The farm also is home to Revenge of the Scarecrows a walk on a haunted corn trail.
All the attractions have actors, animatronic monsters, lights, sound and even smoke. Beginning Oct. 10, they’re open every night until Oct. 31. For information on this trilogy of terror, visit thebatesmotel.com. Combo and group tickets are available.
In Ridley Creek State Park, Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation holds Lantern Ghost Tours on Oct. 19 and Oct. 26, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. both nights. Given that the plantation is more than 300 years old, it’s not surprising that some maintain it’s one of the most haunted spots in Delaware County. As you move from the wagon barn to the farmhouse, you’ll hear tales that will make your spine tingle. For information, visit colonialplantation.org or call (610) 566-1725.
You’ll have no problem finding a variety of accommodations and restaurants. For a list of restaurants, B&Bs, inns and hotels — along with an event calendar — visit visitdelcopa.com.