Way down in the southern end of the state is a charming little town called Santa Claus and in the summer months, when the Holiday World Amusement Park (formerly known as Santa Claus Land) is open daily, the number of visitors exceeds the number of residents many times over.
While it’s a place where it feels like Christmas all year round, the town is now doing some heavy celebrating in the fall. Elves and snowmen co-exist with jack-o-lanterns and skeletons and there’s perfect harmony at Holiday World and Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort.
For the past 13 years, Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort has hosted Halloween Weekends with a variety of activities to go with the Halloween theme. Rudy’s kids’ carnival, pumpkin decorating, Hallo-TEEN games and trick-or-treating are some of the fun plans for the younger set.
Additional activities include Bonfire Ghost Stories on Friday evenings, outdoor classic fright films, haunted hayrides and a Halloween Dance. For those who really take the holiday seriously, there’s a costume contest and site decorating contest. Activities are open only to those staying at accommodations at Lake Rudolph.
“It’s fun to see people go all out when it comes to decorating and you’ll see family themes, like SpongeBob or the Wizard of Oz. They’ll decorate sites and their golf carts, too,” said Laura Barker, Public Relations and Web Media Coordinator.
Accommodations at the campground range from tent sites to full-hookup RV sites to cabins. The newest lodging options are the Christmas Cabins, which feature a large covered deck, electric fireplace, flat screen TVs with cable, upscale appliance and king bedroom and large loft area to comfortably sleep 8. There are a total of 500 lodging sites in the resort, which also includes a lake, camp store, game room, pool complex, basketball hoops, water slides, miniature golf and playground among the amenities.
The Halloween weekends run for seven weekends in September and October, concluding October 26 and 27.
Over at Holiday World, the spooky fun continues, although things never get too spooky as the weekends are meant to accommodate all ages. While the water park is closed for the season, most other rides are operational throughout the park. You’ll also find a variety of shows and attractions to enjoy, such as the Graveyard Smash musical review, Holidog’s 3D Adventure and a new Mummy’s Treasure Maze. Another new feature this year are two corn mazes, a junior size and a giant corn maze.
“Holiday World is all about family fun and making memories – even during the Halloween season,” said park president Matt Eckert. “We’re not about horror – we joke that the only screams will be on our roller coasters. Weekends through October 27, we’ll have hay rides, corn mazes, Halloween-themed music and magic shows, special activities for children, and more.”
On Saturday, the park is open until 8 p.m., so visitors have a chance to ride the park’s popular coasters in the dark and the evening ends with a laser light show. If tickets are purchased online, you’ll get $5 off the $29.95 admission price (or $2 off of the $19.95 admission for guest under 54 inches or seniors age 60 and over.)
10 things to do in Santa Claus in the fall
1) Visit Santa’s Stables for a relaxing horseback ride. (santas-stables.com)
2) Visit the Santa Claus Museum and Village, which includes a museum related to the town of the history, a Santa statue erected in the 1930’s, a church and a post office that were moved to the current site.
3) Stop for a frozen hot chocolate, holiday gift items and candy galore at Santa’s Candy Castle.
4) Check out the Lincoln exhibit inside Holiday World.
5) Visit Saint Meinrad Archabbey for a peaceful walk and shopping in the gift store. It is one of only two archabbeys in the country.
6) Take a drive over to visit Lincoln’s Boyhood National Memorial to learn about Lincoln’s time spent in the area during his youth.
7) See the site in the park where Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln was buried.
8) Shop for Christmas ornaments and décor at the Santa Claus Christmas Store.
9) Spend some time enjoying nature at Lincoln State Park.
10) Enjoy the breakfast buffet at St. Nick’s Restaurant located in Santa’s Lodge.