Falling for Spooky Season

Choctaw Country Destinations

Falling for Spooky Season

By Amanda LaMora

It all started with one of those school programs where you got a free pizza after reading so many books. I must have been about eight years old the first time I curled up on the couch with a thick paperback of ghost stories and lost myself in a world of unearthly ghouls and pale phantoms in the night. Soon, I was bringing home “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and every “Goosebumps” book I could get my hands on.

These stories of terror inevitably kept me awake some nights, and I’d burrow under a hot blanket with a sacrificial foot exposed in a futile attempt to cool off. But I always found myself going back for more – the tales of Poe, Rice, Lovecraft and Blackwood weaving themselves into the fabric of my reality as I grew older.

I know I’m not alone in this fascination with the strange and unusual. There’s an exciting sort of thrill to being spooked. As the skies darken with the turning of the seasons, unseen things creep beneath the fallen leaves. Spectral shadows dance just beyond the periphery of the tangerine glow of candlelight. And we’re reminded of the beauty of the night.

What better place than the ancestral forests of Choctaw Country to celebrate the beauty of this spooky season? Make your way to our top three must-see experiences . . . if you dare:

1.  Autumnal Equinox Walks at Spiro Mounds
Spiro Mounds is a sacred site that dates back to prehistoric Native American life. Built by the Caddoan people who lived in the area from about 900-1450 AD, the relationship these mounds share with the changing of the seasons is never more apparent than at the solstice and equinox celebrations. If these ancient mounds could speak, I wonder what stories they’d tell. Fortunately, if you’re into supernatural stories, a local archaeologist will share tales of unusual happenings associated with the mounds on your guided tour during the autumn equinox on Saturday, September 23.

2.  Hugo Pumpkin Festival
It’s just not spooky season without pumpkins, but there’s more to this celebration than a lovely stroll through the pumpkin patch. From hayrides, bounce houses and barrel trains for the kiddos to scavenger hunts, pumpkin launching and mechanical bull rides for the adults, there’s fun for all ages – and I don’t even think that covers half of the activities at this action-packed event. Plus, don’t miss your opportunity for an up-close and personal experience feeding the beautiful elephants of the Endangered Ark Foundation, the beneficiary of all proceeds from this family festival.

3.  Honobia Bigfoot Festival & Conference
Whether you’re a true believer or just Squatch-curious, there’s no denying the mystery of the remote foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains, full of misty apparitions, boggy moans and eyes belonging to God-knows-what in the distance. One of the most anticipated events of the season, admission to the Honobia Bigfoot Festival is free and features craft and food vendors, live music, spooky campfire stories, and bounce houses for the kids (for an additional $5). If you’re a serious Bigfoot enthusiast, the conference is only $10 and boasts Sasquatch experts of all kinds, including renowned Bigfoot researchers, authors, TV and radio personalities, and podcast hosts.