Halloween train trips planned

Come aboard the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum’s Pumpkin Train three Saturdays in October and enjoy a leisurely trip through Northwest Indiana’s countryside.

October is the month of chills and thrills and dressing up to go door-to-door in search of candy. But trick-or-treating isn’t the only thing happening. There are plenty of Halloween-related activities and fall fun around the Region and beyond to enjoy.

One way to have some family fun is by jumping on the Pumpkin Train at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum. The train departs the depot in North Judson and travels to English Lake, with a stop at a park where you can pick out a pumpkin on the 13-mile trip, which lasts about 75 minutes. Passengers ride in a coach or open-air car.

“It’s an absolutely wonderful activity for kids and for adults,” said Charles Gyurko, museum volunteer. “Kids can go out into the pumpkin patch to select a pumpkin to bring back.”

The pumpkin train rides happen at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on three Saturdays, Oct. 5, 12 and 19.

At 4 p.m. Oct. 26, there’s a twilight Halloween Train that Gyurko said will include a visit with Silly Safaris, a live animal conservation education company, with interactive opportunities with several animals. Tickets for the train rides can be purchased online at hoosiervalley.org.

A Harvest Tyme Farm Park in Lowell, you’ll find everything from carnival rides to a petting zoo to a corn maze to entertain the kids. This year’s four-acre corn maze features a nod to the classic movie "The Wizard of Oz" and a two-day festival on Oct. 5 and 6.

“We chose the Wizard of Oz theme this year because of Northwest Indiana's love for the movie,” said park owner Josh Sickinger. “When we saw it was the 80th anniversary we felt it would be a great way to help people reminisce about the movie and the very popular Wizard of Oz fest that was held for many years in Chesterton.”

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Both days will have photo opportunities with costumed characters, visits by Oz experts James and Amanda Wallace, a costume contest and breakfast with the characters. Visit harvesttymefun.com for more info.

Over the border in Homer Glen, Illinois, Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm has added a new “tractor town” play area where kids can drive a mini-tractor around a track. It joins the fun barn, pig races, gemstone mining, haunted barn and more. For more information, visit pumpkinfarm.com.

It’s not fall until you take a hay ride! Head to Elzinga Farm & Greenhouse in Dyer for a wagon ride through the fields and into the haunted forest (weather permitting). Rides run from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays.

There’s also a corn maze, Kidzone with a mini straw maze and corn pit and pumpkin painting. To learn more, visit elzingafarm.com.

Hello, fall: Here's a look at 10 local family-friendly activities happening this October

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