October is brimming with opportunities for fall fun in the Metroparks. With trick-or-treat nights, hay rides, pumpkins, and spooky tours, there are plenty of events for the whole family to enjoy together across the Metroparks locations.
First, let’s talk candy. Your little ones will have several chances to load up on loot this year in the Metroparks. There are ‘Trick-or-Treat Along the Trail’ nights at Kensington Metropark (Oct. 15) and Indian Springs Metropark (Oct. 22), and a ‘Family Trick-or-Treat’ night at Wolcott Mill Metropark (Oct. 28). There are also ‘Trunk-or-Treat’ opportunities as part of the Thrills at the Mills (Hudson Mills Metropark, Oct. 29) and Hallowpalooza (Lake St. Clair Metropark, Oct. 15) events.
You can pick up a pumpkin at Kensington Metropark’s Fall Festival on Oct. 8 and 9. The harvest-themed weekend will also have tours of the farm, horse-drawn hayrides, and entertainment by Rosco the Clown. In addition, Kensington Metropark will have pumpkin hayrides every day throughout October.
For the youngsters, Lake St. Clair Metropark will show the classic film ‘Hocus Pocus’ on Oct. 15 during the Hallowpallooza event. Children can also take a guided swamp wildlife hike there during the Halloween Tales & Tails event (Oct. 16). Other youth-focused activities include Youth Gone Wild: Signs of Fall at Lake Erie Metropark (Oct. 15), and a Pumpkin Carving Party at Hudson Mills Metropark (Oct. 22).
For those interested in the stories behind the spooky traditions, there’s a History of Halloween event at Oakwoods Metropark on Oct. 15. The same night, Willow Metropark offers a Cemetery Tales guided walk through Huron Township Cemetery. Oakwoods Metropark also has evening lantern tours through the woods on Oct. 21, 22, 28, and 29.
Your dog can even get in on the fun at Hudson Mills Metropark’s Thrills at the Mills on Oct. 29. There will be a pet Halloween costume contest, tug-o-war, and an agility course this year. Plus, Trunk-or-Treating and a showing of ‘Monster House’ for the kids.
Plus, Stony Creek Metropark has wagon tours every Saturday and Sunday in October and campfire stories on Oct. 14, 21, and 28. Wolcott Mill Metropark also has pumpkin patch wagon rides on Saturdays and Sundays throughout October.
Feel the Fall
This month is prime time to take in the natural beauty throughout all the Metroparks.
“The maples seem to always be the showstoppers,” Mauter says of the parks’ breathtaking trees. “But our stands of oaks and poplars and many other trees and plants work together to really put on a colorful show.”
The peak of leaf color beauty for southeast Michigan could be a bit later this year. Some estimates circle Oct. 24-29 for the southern part of the state, but color is already starting to pop out in some places.
Seize the bonus leaf peeping time with some of these guided hikes:
- Lake Erie Metropark’s Autumn Wonders tours on Oct. 22 and 29; Full Moon Hike; Hunter’s Moon (Oct. 8).
- Oakwoods Metropark: Fall Ecology Hike (Oct. 8) and a Full Moon Hike; Hunter’s Moon (Oct. 9).
- Lake St. Clair: Fall into Nature Hike (Oct. 9) and Twilight Luminary Hike (Oct. 28).
Fall is also migration season for many of the area’s raptors. September was raptor month across the Metroparks system. Hawkfest celebrated and explored birds of prey, including eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls, over a two-day event in Lake Erie Metropark.
There’s more fowl fodder coming in October and the months ahead for bird lovers. Lake Erie Metropark will have a Turkey Vulture Stakeout on Oct. 15 at the Hawk Count Site to observe these unique scavengers in the skies overhead. In November, owls will be the focus, with an Owl Festival in Oakwoods Metropark (Nov. 5) and Evening Owl Prowls (Nov. 5 at Stony Creek Metropark, and Nov. 12 at Oakwoods). Lake St. Clair Metropark will also have an Owl Hike on Nov. 11.
Last Chance to Play
As long as the snow stays away, golf is still in play. Metroparks operates seven regulation golf courses and an additional par-three course. The courses have seen an uptick in traffic since the pandemic as folks try to stay active and enjoy the outdoors. The courses stayed open as late as mid-November in 2021 but more typically close by late October. Be sure to take advantage and hit the links while you can.
If disc golf is more your speed, 18- and even 24-hole courses are available at Hudson Mills, Kensington, Stony Creek, and Willow Metroparks.
Get active in the community this fall with all the great programming at Huron-Clinton Metroparks.
One of America’s premier metropolitan park systems, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks have served the people of Southeast Michigan since 1940. Managed by the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, the Metroparks are made up of 13 properties in Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. Available activities include fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, nature study, biking, golf, winter sports and more. The Metroparks also provide educational resources on science, nature, history and the environment. Learn more at Metroparks.com.