Halloween Adventures

Last week I offered some interesting places to explore as Halloween approaches.  This week, just before Halloween, I’d like to offer more.


Goblins are small, grotesque and evil creatures from European folklore.  They really didn’t have much to do with Halloween until author Jack Prelutsky included a poem titled “The Goblin” in his 1977 children’s book It’s Halloween. There,  the goblin was a green lumpy character with glasses that patiently waited in a tree and wanted to play while the child said “Go away!”  Well, believe it or not, there is a state park dedicated to goblins.


Goblin Valley State Park

goblin valley

Goblin Valley

You can see lots of goblins at Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, not the living ones from folklore, but goblins made of rock.  Otherwise known as hoodoos, the rock formations were created when a hard layer of rock, usually of volcanic origin, came to rest over a softer layer of rock, typically sandstone.  Over the eons erosion separated the hard rock into segments and washed some away, along with the sandstone that was no longer protected by the hard rock.  The result are mushroom-shaped formations that reminded early visitors of goblins.  If you’ve seen the 1999 movie Galaxy Quest, and remember the giant rock monster chasing the hero,  you’ve seen some of the goblins in this park.

To explore the goblins, you’ll need to visit the park.  It gets way too hot in the summer there,  so plan your visit for the spring or fall – around Halloween would be about right!  There is a campground and Valley of the Goblins (38˚33.826’N  110˚ 42.125′ W) offers a great place to hike, especially if you like to get off the trails.  Green River, Utah, is the closet town and it’s a long way out there, so plan your trip accordingly.


Pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween in the United States, but the tradition only began in the 1900’s .  All kinds of creepy and scary faces are carved into pumpkins creating an array of whimsical jack-o’-lanterns.  The general idea is that these jack-o’-lanterns will scare away demons and can come in handy on Halloween.


Pumpkin Park

Many farms across the U.S. offer opportunities to explore pumpkin patches and many families make great adventures at these places.  There is also a Pumpkin Park, in Houston, Texas (29˚ 44.525’N 95˚ 26.014’W), that you can explore.  It’s also known as River Oaks Park, but the pumpkin carriage makes it pumpkin park to the locals.  It’s an urban park that offers a community center, a trail, basket ball, volley ball and and a great playground.  Here’s  a short video that will tell you all about it:


The Devil

The devil isn’t particularly associated with Halloween either,  except by those that think the holiday celebrates the devil.  Actually the word ‘Halloween’ is of fairly recent vintage and originated from within the Christian tradition.  It simply means ‘holy evening’ and leads into three days of remembering the departed.  Some say the Christians took the time frame of Celtic harvest festivals and created Halloween to draw people away from the pagan celebrations.  Others say Halloween is strictly a Christian invention.  In either case,  it doesn’t celebrate the devil.  Still,  many people dress in devil costumes on Halloween, so let’s explore a place of the devil.


Devil Canyon

Devil Canyon is on the south side of Paivika Peak in the San Bernardino Mountains (34˚ 11.932’N 117˚ 20.241W).  Devil Canyon Creek flows through the canyon and into irrigation systems on the north edge of the City of San Bernardino.  The following story explains how Devil Canyon got its name:

“The canyon lying directly behind the new California State College site received its name very early in San Bernardino Valley history. Daniel Sexton, who arrived here in 1841, was working for Colonel Isaac Williams on the Chino Ranch. Williams told Sexton he was tired of eating meat, and craved vegetables. He sent Sexton and two of his Indians to survey a road so that they might get up to timber lands, and there cut trees for fencing, so that he could keep cattle out of a vegetable garden.

“Sexton had not gone far when one of the Indians was bitten by a rattlesnake and died. The two remaining members of the party continued up the canyon, and found a feasible route for the proposed road. As they returned, the second Indian was also fatally bitten by another snake, and he shrieked “El Diablo”, as he died. Sexton recounted the story to Col. Williams, and so the Canyon received its name.”

City of San Bernardino, California

rattlesnakeDevils Canyon Road climbs up the canyon from San Bernardino, mostly on private land, into the San Bernardino National Forest. If you start wandering around the National Forest, you may come upon the same devils that killed the Native Americans employed by Colonel Williams.


So there you have three more opportunities to use Halloween as the basis of your autumn explorations.  You can use Google or study maps of your area to find a location near you that continues on this theme.  Enjoy!

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