September 21, 2020

Beyond the Haunted House

Spooky must-dos to get in the Halloween spirit
By Kristi Kates | Oct. 14, 2017

Want to experience something a little different than your typical haunted house this Halloween? Spook your spirit with these six unsettling and unusual Halloween events that will chill your bones and send you running in the opposite direction (after you’re done having fun, of course):

Located within the Leelanau State Park in Northport, the usually inviting lighthouse turns hair-raising for one special spooky weekend that includes activities like outdoor games, hayrides, bonfires, and more. A typical tour of the lighthouse includes a view out of the tower and a look at the museum; the haunted version includes all of the above, but don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of a pirate spectre hovering over Lake Michigan. The haunted basement of the lighthouse will also be open for you to explore … if you’re daring enough.
GO: $4 adult/$2 youth. Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, 15500 N. Lighthouse Point Rd., Northport. (Note: A state park pass is required to enter the park.) For more information and hours see or call (231) 386-7195.
DO: Bring your camera! The views are spectacular. We’re not responsible if a pirate photobombs you.
BOO! Think you’re not scared of heights? You will be; narrow metal stairs spiral up to the lighthouse tower. Totally worth the view — if you survive the spooky climb.

Even frequent visitors to Petoskey might not know that the town has something of an uncanny history. What better way to explore it than with this progressive dinner throughout some ostensibly haunted buildings in Petoskey’s historic Gaslight District? You’ll begin at one restaurant, and progress through three, with one course at each (appetizers, entrée, and dessert with coffee). While you’re dining, you’ll be chilled by stories of the restaurant employee who fell in love with a ghost, the mysterious fan, and the woman in the wall. What’s the matter, lost your appetite?
GO: $45 per person, starting time/location TBA, contact the Petoskey Downtown offices for tickets and more information at 216 Park Ave., (231) 622-8501 or
DO: Comfortable shoes are a must. (Not for the distance you’ll be walking, but to be ready if something chases you.)
BOO! Tunnels running underneath the downtown area were built to transport spirits to various establishments during prohibition. We’re not saying which kind of spirits.

MANISTEE GHOST SHIP – Now through Oct. 28
Five decks of frights await ye landlubbers on Manistee’s Ghost Ship, known throughout the rest of the year as the S.S. City of Milwaukee. As you clamber up and down the steep, darkened ship stairways from deck to deck, you’ll have to be wary of ghouls, dodge determined vampires, and zip away from zombies looking to borrow your brains. The ship also shifts the scares on each deck, so if you think you conquered the monsters last year, you’re in for a whole new challenge now. This attraction is not for the faint of heart!
GO: $10 adults/$8 youth and seniors; not recommended for kids under 7. The ship is docked off of Arthur Street on Manistee Lake in Manistee. Ghost Ship nights run Friday and Saturday evenings. More information at
DO: Keep your guard up; there are no safe corners on this ship.
BOO! Speaking of which, don’t think you’re safe before you board the ship, either. The scares start early at this one.

JACOB’S CORN MAZE – Now through Oct. 29
Jacob’s Corn Maze is a fun family experience during the day, but at night, when it’s just you, your flashlight, and an endless maze of corn, the candy-corn-level fun turns into a scenario more reminiscent of the Stephen King movie Children of the Corn. There’s no direct attacks from monsters, but that doesn’t make the maze any less scary; it’s the suspense that will get you. Unless you enjoy being trapped out in the middle of a maze, alone. Just before Halloween. In the dark.
GO: General admission starts at $10 adults/$8 youth; the maze is open Fridays and Saturdays 10am-9pm, Sunday through Thursday 10am-6pm. Visit for more information.
DO: Remember your flashlight; it’s the only chance you’ve got after dark.
BOO! If you meet a boy named Isaac in there, run.

NMC iDance instructor Mykl Werth will be bringing guests of this Halloween weekend event into a workshop to learn how to tango — and then the dance itself will be brimming with a wide variety of both music and dance styles including swing, Latin, waltz, blues, and that tango that you just learned. Masks and costumes are not required, but are highly encouraged (try movies like The Maze Runner, Wrath of the Titans, or the David Bowie movie Labyrinth for inspiration); partners aren’t needed either, as you’ll likely meet plenty of dance fans just like yourself!
GO: Tickets for the dance are $15, dance with workshop $20; student prices $8/$10. The event will take place at the City Opera House, doors open at 5:30pm. For more information call (231) 499-9793.
DO: Dress up! Dancing fantastic, but it’s even better at a Halloween-themed event like this when guests show up in great costumes.
BOO! You might think the scare level is pretty low for this one — until you realize you’ve been bewitched by the dance.

Houses of Pain
Die-hard traditionalist? We get it. Here are three of the region’s spookiest haunted houses to test your mettle:

Boyne Falls
Fridays and Saturdays in October 7–10pm
Scares abound inside and out at Challenge Mountain, where people arrive early to tailgate, and local actors prep for months ahead for their spooky turns in the spotlight.
GO: Adults $10/Kids $5 at Challenge Mountain Lodge, 2205 North Springbrook Rd., (231) 535-2141 or

Traverse City
Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday now through October 29, 7–10pm
Back for its sixth season, this terrifying series of events includes the Swamp of Suffering, Pandemonium (aka “very scary clowns”), a haunted hayride, and new for 2017, the Monster Museum.
GO: Tickets start at $10 for all ages at the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds, 3606 Blair Town Hall Rd.,

Lewiston (just east of Gaylord)
Open every night in October, dusk to 10pm
Ingeniously lit and enhanced with scary music, this Halloween takeover of the Tee Lake Resort haunts everything: cabins, shops, scarecrows, and more —  you can even stay overnight in the Witch’s Cottage.
GO: Free to visit, call ahead for rates to stay overnight. Tee Lake Resort, 3987 Tee Lake Rd., (989) 786-2208, or


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