Fall Into Hershey
If you’ve never visited Hershey in the autumn, you should! It’s my favorite season in Central Pennsylvania: the heat of the summer is behind us, we have a wonderful harvest to celebrate, trees morph from shades of green to spectacular golds, reds and oranges and those crisp autumn nights make resting easy.
Fall also provides a feast for the senses in Hershey: laughter and lights at Hersheypark In The Dark, carved pumpkins everywhere, campfires crackling, live music in an outdoor setting, even furry caterpillars climbing up your arm!
Seasonal treats Hersheypark In The Dark, Hershey’s Trick or Treat Adventure and ZooAmerica’s Creatures Of The Night begin their weekend runs on October 14 and continue weekends through October 16, October 21-23 and October 28-30. Special reduced rates at Hersheypark make enjoying the season a family-friendly affair. The Park is transformed by colorful fall decorations, and ride experiences are even better in the dark. Hershey’s Trick or Treat Adventure begins at Hershey’s Chocolate World and continues to a special area inside Hersheypark (Treatville) that beckons the little ghosts and ghouls through a journey of friendly doors with Hershey’s candy at each one. Don’t miss the live music from spooky bands and the S’mores treats and hot cider to take away the chill!
Included in your admission to Hersheypark In The Dark is ZooAmerica’s Creatures Of The Night. Watch the wolves howl at the moon, see the bears devour pumpkins, and hang out with the bats at their favorite hour! Bring a flashlight and explore ZooAmerica to get a rare glimpse into the nighttime habits of your favorite animals.
October 15 brings the 2nd annual Choctoberfest on ChocolateTown Square in downtown Hershey from noon to 6:00 p.m. This family-friendly fall festival features great live music (four performers, including Rhett Miller of Old 97s at 4:30 p.m.), local craft beer, chocolate and delicious food from downtown restaurants, and offers an array of family and children’s activities. Choctoberfest is free and open to the public, with food and beverages available for purchase.
Also on October 15, (and just a mile or two out of town), Indian Echo Caverns hosts its 5th annual Autumn Festival & Old Fashion Days, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with wagon rides, pumpkin patches, face painting, glitter tattoos, geode cracking, a bouncy house, charity bake sale, local artist and craft vendors, and food.
Fall also means fitness in Hershey, as runners arrive October 16 for the vaunted Hershey Half Marathon. After the finish line (and cool collector medal), relaxation is close at hand.
Treat yourself to a Pumpkin Spice Body Scrub, a Great Pumpkin Facial or a Pumpkin Latte Manicure & Pedicure at The Spa At The Hotel Hershey. Stay and dine at any one of the fine restaurants at The Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge, all featuring special fall menu items (don’t miss the Almond & Cocoa Dusted Scallops with pumpkin puree, roasted butternut squash and mole sauce at The Circular!)
Have you ever tried a ride on the Hershey Trolley Works? It’s a completely different experience on the Trick or Treat Trolley, a theatrical sightseeing show where two actors bring the story of Hershey to life on the trolley. However, this show focuses more closely on the joy of being a kid (don’t we all want to dress up and go trick or treating?), and the love Mr. and Mrs. Hershey had for children that led them to start Milton Hershey School, the focal point of their amazing legacy. The Trick or Treat Trolley runs in the evenings during Hersheypark In The Dark weekends in October; tickets are available in Hershey’s Chocolate World.
Did you know that Hersheypark Camping Resort has events (for campground guests only) during weekends of Hersheypark In The Dark as well? The Camping Resort hosts Halloween contests, including a coloring contest, a Decorate-Your-Campsite contest and a pumpkin carving contest, as well as weekend Halloween crafts, costume contests, Halloween Candy Scrabble, a noon Trick or Treat Adventure on Saturdays and music on Friday evenings.
If you’re in Hershey during the week and need a Halloween diversion, the annual Hershey Halloween Parade takes place on October 19. This parade is a charmer, with homemade floats and unique costumes, as well as the traditional candy tossing to parade watchers. It’s Americana at its best!
On October 21 from 6 to 8:30 p.m., Hershey Gardens begins two weekends of its popular Pumpkin Glow (October 21, 22, 28 and 29), where guests meander along a mile-long path to see 150+ lighted, carved pumpkins and gourds. Chefs will be on hand to demonstrate pumpkin carving techniques, and this year a new program featuring live insects debuts. The live creature exhibit spotlights Goliath tarantulas, giant scorpions, a giant centipede, a jack-o-lantern filled with hissing cockroaches and large friendly caterpillars that visitors can hold. The creature exhibit will be on display in the Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory during Pumpkin Glow. General admission is $12.50 for visitors ages 13-61, $11.50 for seniors (ages 62 and up), and $9 for juniors (ages 3-12); children ages 2 and under are free. Candy distributed at Pumpkin Glow is generously donated by The Hershey Company.
On October 22, Camp Catherine (named after Mrs. Hershey) hosts its first Fall Festival, which will include farm activities, pumpkins, games, vendors, food and more.
Also on Saturday, October 22, the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum will host its popular Trunk or Treat from noon to 3 p.m. Visitors ages 12 and under may participate with museum admission; after creating their own unique “trunk or treat” bags, kids will hunt for a number of trunk or treat spots within the museum, with treats provided by The Hershey Company.
In the evening of October 22, the Hershey Bears face Bridgeport in their home opener at Giant Center. The first game against the Bears’ local rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will be hosted at Giant Center on Sunday, October 23.
If hockey’s not your thing, head to a Shank Park Halloween at one of Derry Township’s largest parks. Shank Park Halloween takes place from 4:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 22, and features pumpkin decorating, inflatable games, face painting, a candy hunt, S’mores by the campfire, and a Halloween Drive-In Movie. Concessions will be available for purchase, and the event is free (although there is a suggested donation of $5.00 per vehicle).
On Thursday, October 27, keep your eye out for little princesses and Pokémon characters on the sidewalks of Hershey as the town’s Trick or Treat takes place from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The Hershey Story Museum sponsors Ghosts & Goodies on October 29 and October 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Kids can come in and show off their Halloween costumes at The Hershey Story Museum, and create some “ghostly” treats using Hershey’s candy! Free for kids 12 and younger.
On October 29, catch The Goonies Classic Film at 7 p.m. and/or The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 11:59 p.m. at Hershey Theatre. Tickets are $8 per person and are available at the theatre box office or Ticketmaster.