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Sunday, October 23, 2016

An invasion of jack o'lanterns

   One-Tank Trip for Oct. 22-16

   By Jim Fox

   Take a bow pumpkins, you cultivar of a squash plant and considered to be a fruit.
   A type of winter squash, pumpkins have been made into jack-o’-lanterns as in the Irish tradition since their discovery in the St. Lawrence region by French explorer Jacques Cartier.
   They star this month in such events as Pumpkinferno, Lego Halloween Brick or Treat, Stratford’s Pumpkin Trail and Pick of the Patch provincial park pumpkin carvings.
A gaggle of jack-o’-lanterns at Pumpkinferno at Haunted Harbour.
   Pumpkinferno Haunted Harbour (also known as Discovery Harbour) is at 93 Jury Drive in Penetanguishene Thursdays through Sundays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Oct. 30.
   It promises this year to have “more terror” and “double the scenes and scares.”
   Organizers say visitors will “experience the phenomenon of hauntingly magical and stirring outdoor exhibits of hand-carved pumpkins, all set against the night-time backdrop of Discovery Harbour.”
   Beware, though, as “new characters will be lurking about in the expanded Terror Zone.”
   Each year, the only survivors of a pumpkin curse dating back to 1815 are the evil spirits that reappear to defend the site against the rise of Pumpkinferno.
A fiery dragon made of pumpkins is guarding Haunted Harbour.
   The harbour traces its roots to the original British naval and military base in Penetanguishene built to safeguard access to Upper Canada after the War of 1812.
   The Terror Zone is not recommended for children younger than 12 as “it’s an absolutely amazing scare zone if you dare to enter.”
   There is a maze for younger children to enjoy, crafts and a refreshment stand along with a small retail area.
   The wearing of masks is not allowed in the park.
   Admission costs $8 with a non-perishable food item; free for children to age five. discoveryharbour.on.ca; (705) 549-8064

   Pumpkin building
   Lego fans are getting some assistance in building pumpkins for Halloween at home.
   Master Model Builder Noel Straatsma from the Legoland Discovery Centre Toronto is getting into the spirit by putting together a step-by-step tutorial slideshow for kids.
Halloween building at the Legoland Discovery Centre Toronto.
   “Every Saturday and Sunday this month, including Halloween day, little ghosts and mummies can also experience themed decor, spooky entertainment, costume contests, building contests, scavenger hunts and much more at the Discovery Centre,” said publicist Stephen Murdoch.
   The Halloween Brick-or-Treat attractions include a haunted display challenge, spooky creative build, monster mash scavenger hunt in Toronto Miniland and a boo crew costume contest.
   Visitors can also jump inside the “world’s spookiest box of Lego bricks.”
   The centre is at 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive in Vaughan, off Highway 400 north of Toronto.

   Stratford’s happy trails
   Hop on the Savour Stratford Pumpkin Trail as culinary artisans and shopkeepers invite visitors to sample their fall pumpkin flavours.
   This self-guided seasonal trail is available through Oct. 31 and includes a choice of six of the 14 locations on the personalized tour.
Picking out that perfect pumpkin along the Savour Stratford Pumpkin Trail.
   Trail passports cost $25 and provide an opportunity to savour pumpkin cupcakes, creamy pumpkin fudge and pumpkin pie spice brittle.
   There is also pumpkin frozen yogurt, seasonal chef-made pumpkin desserts, craft beer, spiced tea and coffee.
   Shops also have pumpkin scented natural soaps, decorative flameless pumpkin candles and fall napkins.
   The pumpkin trail is “a fun way to spend your day out in Stratford,” said Kristin Sainsbury, executive director of the Stratford Tourism Alliance. visitstratford.ca/pumpkintrail; 1-800-561-7926.

   Boo, who?
   Hearty families who are still camping at Ontario Parks are welcome to decorate their campsites, dress in costume and shell out candy to trick-or-treaters for Halloween.
   Algonquin Provincial Park has a weekend of activities on Oct. 28 and 29.
Some spooky campers at Bronte Provincial Park. (Ontario Parks photo)
   The fun begins on Friday night with a “surprise new activity” and then on Saturday, a naturalist at the visitor centre will guide visitors through “an amazing collection of animal skeletons dating back 100 years.”
   At the Mew Lake Campground, a spider wiener and marshmallow roast is planned along with Pick of the Patch pumpkin carving and contests for the spookiest campsite and best costume.
   The grand finale is a guided evening wolf howl at the Old Airfield. ontarioparks.com/events


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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