The annual free Halloween Campout takes place the weekends of Oct. 4 and 5 & 11 and 12 in Marblehead.
We talked to Friends of East Harbor President and East Harbor Camper Host Ken Greider about this horrifyingly fun family affair.
So what exactly is the Halloween Campout?
It’s a family-oriented family weekend. We have kids games during the day, a haunted hayride and a haunted house that this year is actually a haunted zombie dungeon. We have a haunted walk through the woods, and we’ll have a pet parade and trick or treat on Saturday afternoon. It’s just a fun, full weekend. We’ve heard that it’s the best state park Halloween event in Ohio. People mark their calendars and book it six months in advance. That’s how popular it is. East Harbor Park holds 574 campsites and everyone is booked. This is the biggest event of the year. We’re talking about a lot of people.
Why do you think the Halloween Campout is so popular?
I don’t know, it’s kind of an end-of-the-year thing and everybody looks forward to it. We get people from town too. Each Saturday we have a trick and treat hour. There is no traffic allowed in the park. We literally block the roads. People will be lined up all the way down the road to come in. Everyone camping hands out candy and it’s a big thing.
Considering how big of a success it’s become, can you see the Halloween Campout growing in the future?
It’s been two weeks the last three years because it’s been growing every year, and it’s even bigger. We’ve got people calling for the last few weeks now wanting our schedule of events. More and more people find out about it by word of mouth and more and more people show up. We try to add a little bit more each year. We just play it by ear. Everything is run by volunteers and as long as we can keep getting the volunteers in, it keeps getting bigger.
What kind of costume do you have planned for this year’s Halloween Campout?
I’m actually in charge of it, so I don’t know if I’ll get to even dress up or not because I’ll be so busy running from event to event to get it going. But if I do find time, I’ll be up on the haunted hayride possibly scaring people up by the electric chair.
Finally, why should people think about coming out?
It’s just a good wholesome family weekend. Everything is family oriented.