Shelby Farms Park Hosts Spooky Nights in October

Creepy, crawly and fun for the whole family

By Sally Walker Davies,

Enter, if you dare.

That’s not normally a phrase one would associate with Shelby Farms Park, the beautiful green space east of Memphis that abuts suburbia; it's our own version of park utopia.

With gorgeous playgrounds and miles of hike/bike trails, a herd of buffalo, horseback riding stables and bike rentals, wide-open spaces for kite flying, fishing ponds and corn mazes, Shelby Farms Park is a pastoral space. That is, until October rolls around.

(Cue the scary music!)

As October nights fall, Shelby Farms gets ghoulish — Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

On Friday and Saturday evenings in October, the park turns into a ghoulish treat. Spooky Nights is a special seasonal event when teens can hike along a haunted trail, families can trek into the woods looking for nocturnal creatures and everyone can jump on a hayride or play Zombie Laser Tag.

A fundraiser for the park conservancy, Spooky Nights has something for everyone, from the little kids to hard-to-impress teens. Food trucks will cook up some scary snacks for sale, and the activities range from hunting zombies to non-scary nocturnal nature hikes for the whole family.

Spooky Nights highlights include a half-mile-long haunted trail – think haunted house but through the woods – for ages 12 and up. It’s a frightfest, filled with costumed actors portraying evil pumpkins and other monsters of the night.

There are family nature hikes, zombie laser tag and even a zombie paintball hayride in a specially kitted out wagon that lets riders take aim at advancing zombies. Worry not: the zombies will not be armed.

There are pumpkin painting tables, spooky food truck treats and on Halloween night, children are invited to dress in their Halloween costumes for safe trick-or-treating, too. There’s no charge for the Halloween trick-or-treating, but all the other activities are fee-based, ranging from the $5 laser tag game to $20 for the zombie paintball hayride.

Haunted trails and hayrides are part of the spooky fun at Shelby Farms — Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

Dates for this year's Spooky Nights include Fridays and Saturdays from Oct. 3 through Nov. 1, 2014, including Halloween night. Tickets for Spooky Nights can be purchased in advance through the Shelby Farms Park website, or at the park itself. The frightful fun goes from 6 pm. to 10 p.m. 

Price information for Spooky Nights 2014:

Haunted Trail (ages 12+): $10 per person

Nocturnal Nature Hikes (all ages): $10 per family

Zombie Laser Tag: $5 per person, per game

Zombie Paintball Hayride (all ages): $20 per person

Headless Horseman Hayrides: $5 per person

Pumpkin Painting: $5 to $7 per pumpkin