Amanda has lived her whole life in southeastern Michigan. She loves writing about the fun these little towns and cities have to offer!
Looking for some family fun this Halloween? Something that actually does mean "family" or "fun for all ages", rather than just excitement for the little kids?
At the Ghosts and Goodies Halloween event of Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, Michigan, all the witches and ghosts are friendly. Familiar faces from some of your favorite stories and cartoons join in on the fun, like M&M's and Harry Potter and Shrek. Yummy delights include candy and cider and donuts. Trick or treating is for ALL ages. Antique carnival rides offer a little extra thrill. A train ride, aka the Huckleberry Railroad, is available at an extra cost for trips through the 'spooky' woods and back around to the village. Tired from all the walking around the historical sites? Stop in at the classic opera house for a magic show - FREE with your entry to the park!
Halloween at Crossroads Village is a special time and place to me. Ever since I was a young kid I have attended each year with friends who were like family. Nowadays I continue the tradition with my little sister, though I take great delight in the place myself. So here I'd like to highlight just what it is that I feel makes Crossroads Village's Ghosts and Goodies such a fun and inexpensive Halloween attraction.
Park of Michigan's Genesee County Parks, Crossroads Village is a real historic town with over 34 structures. During its normal summer months the village takes you back to a simpler time as you walk around (and sometimes go inside!) the old general store, a blacksmith shop, a theater, homes of the everyday people, and many more original buildings from an era long before we were born. There are shows and boat tours and train rides and craftsmen teaching their trade. Head by the Stanley Schoolhouse and give your kids a chance to pump water or play on the low, wooden swings.
The Huckleberry Railroad offers 40-minute rides on an authentic steam locomotive that began operating in 1857. During the regular season, it's a scenic trip across beautiful land. At Halloween time and Christmastime you're offered appropriate decorations and music as you relax on this peaceful trip. According to the county information, this railroad was named "Huckleberry" because it ran so slow that you could jump off, pick some huckleberries, and hop back on.
Another often overlooked feature that is available both during the summer and at Halloween time is the Genesee Bell Paddlewheel Riverboat, a replica that offers a tour of the beautiful Mott Lake (visible when one is stopped at the top of Crossroads Village's Ferris wheel!).
Ghosts & Goodies
At Halloween time, Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad transform. All the old buildings are decorated and turned into a delightful path for trick or treating. Halloween lights are strung and wooden displays are stood up across the grounds and some lucky houses are even given an inside makeover. The building will take on a theme, such as magic or pirates, and be decorated with lights and pumpkins and fun characters and more. You're invited to walk through and see for yourself, collecting a piece of candy at the end.
At Crossroads Village, everyone trick or treats! From the little toddlers to the kids to the teens to the adults, no one is too old to trick or treat at Crossroads. You get a paper trick-or-treat bag at the entrance after purchasing your Ghosts & Goodies ticket and then you enter the village, raising your head to look at all the decorations and historic buildings and other scenery around. Not to mention the costumes! Not everyone dresses up for Halloween, but the adults seem just as likely to don at least a witch hat and a Halloween sweater as the kids are to come in full mask and outfit.
Once you're inside the village, hold on to your ticket! It's one ticket for your whole group and as you walk to each numbered house on your path, an employee will give your paper slip a hole punch. At the end of trick or treating, you present the ticket at the final building and trade it for yummy apple cider and donuts as your final treat at Crossroads Village's Halloween celebration.
One of the best parts for a kid is when you get to the "halfway point" in your trick or treating at Crossroads Village. Why? A carousel, a Ferris wheel, a miniature pony cart ride, a miniature train ride, and Venetian swings. But these aren't your standard carnival rides.
The Charles W. Parker Carousel was built in 1912. The speed of this carousel is not that of your average carousel! While the ride is kept up-to-date in maintenance, the horses race around the circle much faster than kids today are used to, much to the delight of riders. It's important to hold on tight while having fun. It also features baby horses and chariots for sitting in, if you prefer a less bouncy ride.
And if you believe in ghosts... Well, we've heard from a few employees that odd happenings sometimes occur around the carousel pavilion. What could be more perfect for Halloween?
The Charles W. Parker Superior Wheel is from 1910. This Ferris wheel is over 100 years old! It is also the last existing "Superior Wheel" that was built by Charles W. Parker, who is also known as "America's Amusement King." The Ferris wheel features caged seats as it whirls passengers around in the air.
All other rides, while less of a history attached, are over 50 years old. And of course they will be decorated for Halloween with grinning skeletons and streamers and lights!
The "Ghost Train"
As mentioned above, Crossroads Village goes hand-in-hand with the Huckleberry Railroad. While rides can be taken at other times throughout the year along the same tracks, the month of October is the only time to ride the Ghost Train of Genesee County! Crossroads Village transforms the surrounding woods into a fun Halloween treat with lights and decorations showcasing favorite characters and friendly monsters along with aliens and ghosts.
As the train twists and turns at a slow but steady pace through this landscape, an overhead voice narrates the decoration, telling you to look left or right and explaining the territory riders are passing through. The return trip passes through what is now familiar land for a relaxing ride whilst listening to classic, fun Halloween tunes.
- Train tickets can be purchased in advance, reserving your spot on what is easily the most popular and often sold-out feature of Crossroads Village at Halloween.
- While there's no guarantee of this happening, extra train times are often added on weekend nights due to high demand.
- The Crossroads' Cafe is located on Main Street, right as you walk in, if you want a little something more hearty than candy.
For everyone 13 months and older, tickets to come into the village and trick or treat (as well as get cider and donuts at the end) are $10 each. A combination ticket is $13 and allows the village entry plus a ride on Huckleberry Railroad OR Belle Paddlewheel Riverboat. A deluxe ticket is $16 and gets you all three events, on Saturday or Sunday only.
Babies 12 months and younger are always FREE!
The amusement rides are $1.25 each or 4 rides for $4.
If you're a resident of southeastern Michigan (or visiting in October), I highly recommend a stop at Crossroads Village for their Halloween Ghosts and Goodies celebration!
Amanda (author) from Michigan, United States on October 08, 2012:
Thanks, happyboomernurse! The village really does make a great effort to get into the holiday spirit.
Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 08, 2012:
I've never been to Michigan but I loved my cyber visit to Crossroads Village. Sounds like a lot of fun at a relatively low ticket cost.
This village seems to go all out with their Halloween decorations.
Voted up across the board except for funny.
Amanda (author) from Michigan, United States on October 08, 2012:
Thank you, Denise. :)
I'd love to go in the summer time! Though Halloween and Christmas time are great too.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 08, 2012:
Very nice-rated up. I'm from Michigan so it was fun to read about all of those familiar places. In fact, I went to the Huckleberry R.R. for the first time this summer and had a great time. :)