Plans for October? Halloween and Other Fall Activities

I’m determined to slow my schedule down this year and enjoy some of October before we slide right into the Christmas shopping season.  The following are some of the things I’m seeing on tap for October that sound like fun or are special to the square.  I hope the list helps you really find some fun this month.

Storybook Ranch over in Craig Ranch  is already hosting their annual Fall offerings – “The Great Pumpkin Patch”, “Pumpkin Parties”, and the Haunted Hayride. This is clearly a great deal for kids but I’ve been wanting to see their reconstructed western town ever since I heard about it.

    • The Pumpkin Patch started September 22nd and will go until October 31st. It opens most mornings at 10 am, Saturdays at 9 am, and goes until sunset.  Activities include a Ghost Ranch wagon ride through their western town,  a hay maze, pony rides,  a petting zoo, bounce houses and 1 mini-pumpkin.
    •  The Pumpkin Parties are privately scheduled and have all the same things as regular admission, plus a party helper, a private pony, and each child gets a mini-pumpkin.
    • The Haunted Hayride is also already running and is available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays  from sunset until 10:30 pm.  They’ll also be open each night from October 25th through the 31st. Tickets are $15 adult/$10 child and there’s a heck of a deal if you get tickets to both the Pumpkin Patch and the Hayride together.

October 5th, 6th, 12th, & 13thMcKinney Repertory Theatre has an interesting offering in “And Then There Were None”. Ten guilty strangers are trapped on an island.  One by one they are accused of murder.  One by one, they start to die.

October 14th – 20th – The Pantry Restaurant will be having a one-week celebration of 30 years in business starting on the 14th and culminating in an all day official party on Saturday, October 20th. Look for daily food specials and surprises all week.

October 17th – 31stTucker Hill, a beautiful residential neighborhood west of 75, just north of 380, is changing up their normal annual Fall event.  Their annual “Ghouls on the Lawn” proved to be so popular in years past that they are stretching it out now to go from the 17th to the 31st.  Renamed “Tucker Hill Pumpkinville…Your Patch to Porch Destination”, they have partnered with the McKinney Christian Academy who will be manning and overseeing the patch which will be located in the grassy area near the neighborhood’s front entrances between Fleetwood Street and Highway 380.  Look for a display of vintage farm equipment loaned out by the Collin County Farmstead Museum for the event.  Admission is free and there’ll be both weekday and weekend activities.  Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1:30 to 5 p.m.  To find out more, visit!

FREE weekday extras include:

      • Toddler-sized hay maze
      • Games including “Pumpkin” croquet and badminton
      • Picnicking
      • Pumpkin decorating
      • Photo vignettes  & fall/Halloween décor throughout neighborhood
      • Flower Lady “Make & Take” pumpkin container gardening – Thursday, October 18th, 10 to 11 a.m.; 2 to 3 p.m.

Weekend activities include:

      • FREE tractor-pulled hay rides around Founder’s Square (Fridays through Sundays)
      • an “All Things Pumpkin” Bake Sale hosted by more local non-profit groups
      • KLAK 97.9 Live Remote & Giveaways, Saturday, October 20, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
      • “Sip & Stroll Horticulture Tours” – Saturday, October 20, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; meet by the fountain at Founder’s Square
      • Resident Pumpkin Pie Bake-Off – Saturday, October 20, tasting begins at 2:30 p.m. and final awards given at 3 p.m.
      • Pumpkin Container Gardening Workshops – Sunday, October 21, 2 to 4 p.m.
      • “Concert on the Lawn” — Saturday, October 27, noon to 1:30 p.m. featuring the E-Flat Porch Band.  Bring a blanket or lawn chair and stake out your spot under the trees along Grassmere Street to enjoy the live music from one of the resident’s front porch.
      • Pumpkin Carving Demonstrations – Saturday, October 27, 2 to 4 p.m.
      • Story-Teller – Sunday, October 28, 2 to 4 p.m.

October 19thRocky Horror Picture Show from 9:00 to 11:00.  Everyone know Rocky Horror.  There is a single showing each year at the McKinney Performing Arts Center.  “Prop Kits” will be available for interacting with the movie at an additional charge ($10). If nothing else, it is worth planning to be stationed at one of the patios downtown this night just to see the audience. You never know when someone will have a really good Magenta or Dr. Frank-N-Furter costume.  Word to the wise – drag your feet and this will be as close as you can get.  This show sells out FAST.

October 20thHalloween at the Heard – Another popular annual treat that has a tendency to sell out, the Heard, a nature and wildlife preserve in South McKinney (almost to Fairview) will be open from 6PM until 10PM.  The Heard will be offering a “Haunted Forest” trail and will be showing the movie “The Lorax” in their outdoor amphitheatre. There’ll be a costume contest for kids 12 and under and a special reading of the book, “The Lorax” for kiddos that need/want to call it an early night.  Concessions and professional photographers will be on hand, as will a chair massage for overwrought parents.

October 20th – FREE McKinney Community Band concert at McKinney Performing Arts Center at 7:30 PM.

October 20th and 27th Chestnut Square will have both the annual self-guided Ghost Walk and a special Halloween trolley tour from 7 PM until 10PM on October 20th and 6 PM until 10PM on October 27th.

The Ghost Walk is a tour of ten haunted sites spread around Chestnut Square Historic Village and beautiful downtown McKinney.  Each site has a storyteller who will tell the story of the site on each quarter hour. The ticket booklet gives you a map to each storyteller and you decide in what order to see them.  Some locations let you inside and some don’t, so take a jacket if it’s chilly and wear comfortable shoes.  Both Landon’s and Churchill’s are on the list and a lot of people like to take a break after those stories and sit down for a spell with spirits of a different sort.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children aged 3 to 12.

A special Haunted Trolley Tour of Finch Park will also be driving through and highlighting the haunted histories of Finch Park and the old City Hospital and Nurses’ Home that border it on College Street.  Originally known as Jernigan’s Swamp, Finch Park is the historic scene of the capture of 42 bushwhackers during the Civil War who were then taken to the square to be hung from a cottonwood tree.   The trolley will leave from the corner of Chestnut and Anthony Streets every half hour. Seats are first come, first served and tickets for the trolley ($5 ) must be purchased in advance.

You can purchase tickets for both the Ghost Walk and the special haunted trolley tour at:  Just drop down the adult ticket and you’ll see the trolley option.

October 31st – The city’s Scare on the Square from 4:00 to 6:00 is worth taking the afternoon off from work even if you don’t have kiddos.  For Scare on the Square, the streets in downtown are closed to auto traffic for a couple of hours and costumed merchants hand out candy to costumed kids as they wind around from door to door.  This is the closest thing to a flash mob that I’ve ever seen.  Costumes are often elaborate and sometimes quite professional – children and adults alike.  If you do have kids, there’ll be a “Be Green on Halloween Costume Contest”. The contest tends to favor “home-made” costumes and creative re-cycling.  For more information on this and many other events, see the City’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau’s website or call the Main Street Program at (972) 547-2660.

Until next time,

Happy Shopping!

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