Photo courtesy Judy Channell with the W.Va. Wildlife Center

FRENCH CREEK – It’s Halloween season and that means hayrides and Spooky Night Tours are back at the West Virginia Wildlife Center.

Secretary of the West Virginia Wildlife Center said this will be the ninth year of the Spooky Night Tours.

“I just think that this is something that we can offer the community with it being family friendly,” Channell said. “We never do it the weekend of Halloween, we always stay away from that because you can come on the 18th or the 19th, bring the kids and have a nice family evening together and then the next weekend, you could get a babysitter and you can go do the older scary stuff.”

The hayrides will be Oct. 11 and 12 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and will continue Oct. 18 and 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30. The spooky Night Tours will start Oct. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m.

“We’re not using tour guides anymore so bring your flashlight and from 4:30 p.m. until about 8 8:30 p.m. we’ll have the maze open in the picnic area on the 18th and 19th,” Channell said.

The hayrides will start at the entrance to the path where people are able to see the animals and will make a loop around the whole path. The Spooky Night Tours will also start at the entrance of the path and Channell said while there will be Halloween decorations and actors, everything is family friendly.

“We don’t do anything bloody or gory, we don’t do any zombies, that’s just not our thing,” Channell said. “We want it to be family friendly that’s why we call it spooky and not scary.”

Photo courtesy Judy Channell

She said there will be props and decorations throughout the trail and each weather shelter will have scenes with actors set up. One will be a fortune teller and another weather shelter will be a UFO crash scene, the themes for the last weather shelter was still being worked out.

They will have hot chocolate and cookies all four nights at the gift shop from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the first weekend and 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekend of the Spooky Night Tours.

“The majority of the people with the cookie and hot chocolate are volunteers from the Christian Fellowship Church,” Channell said. “They also help us out by donating cookies and hot chocolate and they have done that almost from the beginning.”

She said the Spooky Night Tours are a good opportunity to see some of the animals in a more natural setting.

Most of the animals are pretty much nocturnal and they’re going to be looking,” Channell said. “The coyote, anytime somebody walks past his pen, he’s running back and forth, and he’ll howl if you howl at him, and so I’m sure he’s going to be more active. The wolves will follow you and watch you and then the mountain lions will do the same. The very first year we did this the we didn’t know what they were going to do. They came right down to the fence and they just watched it was kind of spooky.”

The only price people must pay is the regular prices of admission. There will be no extra cost for events. The regular prices of admission include adults from 16 and over for $4, children 6-15 for $2 and children under 6 can get in for free.