Boo to You! Halloween Happenings in Fort Wayne

Fall is upon us in Fort Wayne, and that means that Halloween is just around the corner. Whether you love the tricks or the treats of this spooky holiday, are looking for a real scare or maybe just a nice corn maze, you can find all of that and more in Fort Wayne this Halloween!

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Trick? Or Treat?

For the family

Wild Zoo Halloween

Dates: October 17-19, 23-26 and 30-31

Times: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Cost: $5 per person for general admission, $9 per person if trick-or-treating

A Fort Wayne family favorite, the Wild Zoo Halloween is geared towards young children, but fun for everyone. Come in costume and walk from station to station collecting candy and treats. There are games and daily special events, including:

2:00 p.m.  Meet K’Zoo
2:30 p.m.  Live Animal Show
3:00 p.m.  Sea Lion Feeding
3:30 p.m.  Monster Mash Dance Party

Click here for more details!

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Wild Zoo Halloween

Halloween Haunt at the Community Center

Date: Saturday, October 18

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: Community Center, 233 W. Main St.

Cost: Free!

“Downtown Fort Wayne becomes a haven for monsters, ghosts, vampires and zombies on this Saturday afternoon.” Put the kids in their costumes and head out to the Community Center for a whole afternoon of Halloween fun. This is a favorite for my kids. Activities include face painting, theater performances and more. Admission is free, but there will be concessions on sale.

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Halloween Haunt at the Community Center

Hilger Family Farm

Dates: Open now, but fall treats begin in October

Times: Mondays and Tuesdays – 4:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m.; Wednesdays through Saturdays – 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sundays – 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Hilger Family Farm, 5534 Butt Rd.

Cost: Pay per pumpkin or other fall treats

Everyone loves Hilger’s! Pick the perfect pumpkin or choose from a variety of pre-picked goodies. Special fall activities include hayrides and animal rides on the weekends. During the week and on weekends, enjoy the barn swings and a playground made of straw. Enjoy hand-dipped caramel apples, popcorn and hot or cold apple cider.

Hilger’s has a great selection of seasonal home decorations including corn stalks, hay bales, pumpkins, Indian corn and painted pumpkins, just to name a few.

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Hilger Family Farm


For the adventurous

Hysterium Haunted Asylum

Dates: Check dates here

Times: Variable

Where: 4410 Arden Dr.

Cost: $12; click here for more details

So, I’m not really one to enjoy a truly scary Halloween, but for those of you who are, this si the place for you! The Asylum is run by the same crew that brought you The Haunted Cave for the last 15 years, so they are no strangers to the game of fright.  Expect a truly scary experience!

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Do you dare??

Fright Night Downtown

Dates: October 18

Times: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Where: Downtown Fort Wayne, silly!

Cost: Varies by event; click here.

If you live in or around Fort Wayne, and you’ve never experienced Fright Night Downtown, well then pull up a chair, we’ve got some talking to do. Kick things off in the morning by visiting Science Central or the Botanical Conservatory with the kids, catch some music and get some eats in the afternoon, but don’t be late to the Zombie Walk! Come dressed in your best (or worst!) undead look and follow the crowd as the zombies take over downtown.  Afterwards, catch a haunted bus tour or see Nightmare on Elm St at the Embassy. There are plenty of activities from which to choose. Make the most of the day by planning your trip here.

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Zombie Walk

ARCH Haunted Sites Bus Tours

Dates: October 18

Times: 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Buses depart at 6, 8 and 10.

Where: 125 W. Jefferson St., Indiana Hotel Lobby

Cost: $15 for adults and $10 for ages 5-17

“All Aboard the Coach of Chills!” Catch a bus and take a spooky tour through “historic sites of fright, with tales of terror that cloud our city’s night.”

Be warned! This tour IS pretty scary and is not recommended for the faint of heart.

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Bus tours start at the hauntingly beautiful Indiana Hotel

Lantern Tours of the Old Fort

Dates: October 18

Times: 11:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m.

Where: 1201 Spy Run Ave., The Old Fort

Cost: $2; kids under 12 get in free

Join the ghosts of soldiers past at the Historic Old Fort.  Explore the Fort by night, via lantern, and hear tales of real encounters with the Fort’s ghosts! There will be re-enactors, visitors and professional ghost hunters. If you’re super lucky, you might run into the Old Fort’s resident ghost, Lt. Ostrander. Word to the wise: keep an eye out for the Headless Horseman!

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Make sure your lantern stays lit!

Do you have Halloween plans that aren’t on our list? Share them in the comments below!

Wendy Sack


Born and bred in Alabama, Wendy has lived in Fort Wayne for just over 12 years, calling historic Williams-Woodland Park home. Asked to describe herself, Wendy is quick to throw out the terms grammar geek, voracious reader, Jim Gaffigan nut and Alabama Crimson Tide football fanatic. Often found with a Diet Coke in one hand and a book in the other, Wendy’s true passion is her family. She is a wife, a mother of two and is always looking for new and adventurous things to do in and around Fort Wayne. Wendy finds humor easily in any situation and is a true believer that laughter really does cure anything.

Mannheim Steamroller in Concert for Christmas

Come and celebrate the 30th Anniversary Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour at the Embassy Theatre from 8:00 pm-10 pm on Friday, December 5, 2014 and be prepared to thoroughly enjoy an innovative, lyrical evening.

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In addition to old holiday favorites, the 2014 tour will also highlight songs from the group’s latest album, Fresh Aire Music of Mannheim, with such lyrical titles as “Come Home to the Sea,” “Sunrise at Rhodes,” “The 7 Stars of the Big Dipper,” “Wolfgang Amaedus Penguin,” and many more new pieces.

Longtime fans of the classical rock band will welcome founder / songwriter / recorder Chip Davis, Jr. as he continues to entertain the world with beautiful music, including the gorgeous sounds of harpsichord, piano, flute, violins, camel bells, and other carefully-chosen orchestration.  Mannheim, which released its first album in 1984, has sold more than 40 million albums, outselling artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Billy Joel.

According to one of the fun facts on the group’s website, “If you lined up all the CDs sold [by them], they would stretch from New York to Los Angeles and then into the Pacific Ocean — more than 3000 miles – and if you stacked up the CDs, they would be taller than the Sears Tower — 645 times taller.”

The creative group has been awarded 16 gold records, 7 platinum and 4 multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.  Steamroller, in addition to being the Number 1 Christmas music artist of all time, selling more than 27 million albums; in addition, the band is the top-selling Halloween artist today.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Embassy Theatre box office (260.424.5665; 125 West Jefferson Blvd Fort Wayne, IN 46802) or Ticketmaster (1.800.745.3000;  NOTE:  The Embassy is a historic venue so there are no elevators.

Come to the Embassy on December 5, 2014 and celebrate Bethlehem with Mannheim!



Barb Sieminski is a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and newspapers. She received her B.A. and M.S. in art and English, from the University of St. Francis. When not chained to the computer, she follows her passion of fishing, believing that all good things come to she who baits . . .

Indiana’s Oldest Jewish Congregation

Congregation Achduth Vesholom in Fort Wayne is Indiana’s oldest Jewish congregation, founded in 1848 by a group of 23 people as a “Society for Visiting the Sick and Burying the Dead”. In 1874, the congregation became a “Reform” congregation, meaning they are Reform Jews as opposed, for example, to Orthodox or Conservative Jews. In their current and fourth home at 5200 Old Mill Road you can find not only an historical marker out front but also a small museum inside.

CAV is undergoing some renovation work to transform it into Campus 5200. When the project is complete, the Temple be larger and will also be the home of the Jewish Federation and a newly remodeled Temple Head Start program through CANI. With this come plans to expand their existing museum and increase programming on topics of interest to the Jewish and wider community including that of Holocaust Education.

Recently, the museum committee met with Jonathan Greenstein, an expert on antique Judaica, who hails from New York City. Greenstein was in Fort Wayne to evaluate the objects in the CAV museum to help the committee determine how best to utilize what they now own and how to expand upon it. His determination was that the pieces from the 1860s should be the foundation of the museum’s expansion.

Greenstein also gave a presentation on Judaica works and offered thoughts on the value of various pieces that Temple members brought to the lecture.

Greenstein became interested in antique Judaica at age 14 as a “yeshiva reject” who ended up in public school with time on his hands after 1 pm. He went to work in an antique store in his neighborhood and watched “scores of little old Jewish ladies” bring in Kiddush cups (ritual wine goblets) because the price of silver was then $40 an ounce. Their children had no interest in these items from “the old country”.

Although Greenstein was not as connected to Judaism as he is now (he wears a yarmulke), he still felt that something was not right about melting these objects down. So he struck a deal with the owner of the antique shop, who was not Jewish, to buy the cups at cost. His collection grew and so did his interest in Jewish history. After he became a father, his connection to his religious background became a more central part of his life and he told stories to his children about the history of particular objects as his family used them.

“Each time we would light a Chanukah menorah from a different time and place in Jewish history, I would explain to them what was happening in the world at the time the piece was created. For example, when I made Kiddush on a cup that was made in Nuremberg, Germany in the 1770′s, my son knew that this cup was created at about the same time as the American Revolution was taking place. History became real before his eyes!

“Over the last 15 years or so, I have worked to become the American authority on Antique Judaica. About 10 years ago, I was asked to run a charity auction for a branch of Chabad, in which we placed some antique Judaic pieces. Many of the important items sold. From there I created the only auction house in the world solely devoted to the sale of antique Jewish ritual art. That was 9 years, 30 auctions and thousands of sold pieces ago.” (quotes from Greenstein on

Greenstein termed Judaica as any ritual object that is associated with Jewish art. Many pieces are rare, having survived WWII intact. Hitler and his army as well as Russian forces confiscated many pieces for the silver, which was melted down and re-used. A piece inscribed with Hebrew is typically worth about 10x what a piece that is not inscribed but forgeries of Judaica are second only to Fabrege works. You can, interestingly enough, find mythical creatures such as unicorns on some pieces.

There are about 700 avid collectors of Judaica in the world at this time, according to Greenstein and overall about 2000 collectors total. “Many of those collectors are casual, many active and several very passionate. People who have put money into quality antique Judaica over the years have seen tremendous returns on their investments, and as an added bonus, they were able to use the objects.”

Jewish artisans took on the art forms of the countries where they were living. For example, a Polish Kiddush cup would be “folksy” (Greenstein’s word) while German and Viennese vessels are more “symmetrical”. One of the pieces he showed was in an Art Deco style and had been created in the 1930s. Another piece resembled a sunflower and had been made in the Ukraine where sunflowers grow en masse.

“Jewish ritual items can be found in the U.S. in families with relatives who came to this country during the great Jewish immigration years, between the 1880s and the 1940s. Those immigrants brought everything with them, such as menorahs, silver spice boxes, and Kiddush cups that had been in their families for generations, says Greenstein.
“He says some of these pieces are valuable, but since many immigrants were poor, most of the objects are made of bronze rather than silver. But even a moderate collectible item can be worth $3,000 to $5,000.
“More commonly, Greenstein says he sees Kiddush cups worth $1,000 or so, although some that are inscribed and were made before World War II are worth as much as $50,000 to $75,000. ‘The more aesthetically pleasing anything is, the larger it is, and the rarer it is, the more valuable it is,’ says Greenstein.

“While the supply of these items is very limited, there is still much of it to be unearthed. ‘There are over six million Jews in America plus countless others who have Jewish relatives,’ says Greenstein. ‘There are more Jewish treasures in the apartments in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, and Cincinnati than in any museum in the world…. People may not realize they could be sitting on a goldmine.’” (

The History Center


The History Center is the home of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. Housed in the 1893 Old City Hall, the organization offers a look at Allen County and Fort Wayne history via its museum, the National Historic Landmark Chief Richardville House, the George R. Mather Lecture Series, the magazine “Old Fort News”, its award winning blog “History Center Notes and Queries” and other programs. The History Center’s Festival of Gingerbread during the holiday season attracts over 12,000 people to downtown Fort Wayne during its three-week run with proceeds going toward support of the museum and its programs. The Heritage Education Fund provides free field trips to students in area schools.

Sky Zone: Why don’t you bounce?

Sky Zone was not what I expected when I walked in. It’s very popular place and was pretty crowded when my husband and I arrived, but we were served right away. I would definitely say that the majority of the patrons were under the age of 16, but there were groups of older teens and adults there as well. I definitely think this is a place worth checking out if you are still a kid or a kid at heart!

newsite Sky Zone: Why dont you bounce?

What’s awesome about this place is that there is so much more going on than one would first think of a trampoline park. There are public hours, party rentals, company outings, fitness classes, and fundraising events. It has just about everything! The fitness classes look like a lot of fun and aren’t expensive, at least not for the first visit to try it out. If you are passing through or visiting and want to try a different kind of workout, I definitely recommend checking out the SkyFit classes. They also have dodge ball for the casual player and tournaments for the more serious teams. I only have one complaint about the dodge ball. To prevent the smaller players from getting jumped on or knocked over, they split the teams up by size: larger kids on one side, the smaller kids on the other. This results in one team that generally has better aim and much greater throwing power. I understand, they can’t really do it any other way and I would rather my kid get hit pretty hard with a soft squishy ball than be knocked down by a kid who might be twice his size. It’s just something to consider before sending your child out onto the court. There was a private party when we visited, but they also have volleyball available, which looked like a lot of fun.

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They also do a super good job of splitting up the bigger/older patrons from the smaller/younger patrons. I was nervous when we walked in and saw how many small children were there.  They have the jumpers segregated efficiently and the trampoline “lifeguards” keep a close watch on all activities to ensure patron safety. They were on top of it. My husband and I didn’t know all of the rules and broke a couple by accident (Oops!), but the trampoline guard was polite and spoke to us immediately. At the foam pit and the basketball hoops, every other lane can bounce at a time to reduce the risk of running into other bouncers.

Something that I was thinking about as I watched kids sweating, sneezing, and coughing, was “How in the world do they keep this place clean?” I located Alisha again before we left and asked. They sweep the trampolines and mop every evening. As for the foam pit, it is sanitized once every four weeks, block by block. It made me feel better knowing they took cleanliness that seriously.

The biggest tip manager Alisha could provide was to book online before you get here, especially if you are visiting on a weekend. Make sure you log on to the Fort Wayne Sky Zone website to book. If you visit the area somewhat frequently with a large family, it would be advantageous to purchase a multiple use pass card. These cards do not expire, so even if you only visit once a year, your family can jump and bounce using the passes for several years. The cards only allow up to 5 visits I believe, but are worth it if you have multiple children. If you want more information on the passes, you’ll need to call Sky Zone Fort Wayne (260) 483-5867 because there is no information about them on their website. The socks you have to buy the first time you visit can be reused as long as all of the grips are still attached, which is helpful on the wallet.

Parents of older kids can sit and relax in a lounge that overlooks the trampolines. There are benches all over for parents who want to stay closer to their kids or have little ones. For those with really young children, there are special times set aside for jumpers under 5. Waivers must be completed for every jumper and for children under 18 they must be filled out by a parent or legal guardian. This means parents can’t send their little one with Grandma or Grandpa unless they fill out a waiver ahead of time. I thought it was really convenient that the waivers could be completed online. This is helpful if you are traveling with a sports team, band, church group, etc. and not all of the under 18 year-olds have parents along. The parents can log on from home and fill out the waiver for the child. The waivers are site specific, so again, make sure you are on the Fort Wayne website.

Overall, the experience was great! The staff was very friendly, helpful, and watchful at all times. The trampolines were clean and well cared for. The facility as a whole was clean and organized. I liked the possibilities for different activities and highly recommend the Sky Zone trampoline park to any visitor to Fort Wayne! Check out for specifics.

Holly Perry


Holly moved to the Fort Wayne area in 2012 and have enjoyed exploring all of the nifty "things-to-do" around the city! She is an aspiring writer and is currently working on her first novel. Holly lives with her husband, two crazy cats, a bearded dragon, and a ball python. She enjoys exercise in all forms and setting out on adventures during the day, then reads anything and everything she can get her hands on all night!

Gnomes, Pumpkins and Kids at the Botanical Conservatory

What could be cuter than kids in a pumpkin patch? Maybe pumpkins with kids and a few friendly gnomes, peeking through corn stalks and just waiting to get their picture taken!

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Here’s a friendly little gnome, welcoming visitor’s to the Botanical Conservatory’s Punkin Path!

Check out the “Punkin Path,” a pint-sized display of gourds, pumpkins and other fall flora at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. Small gnomes will be tucked in amongst the displays, just the right size for small visitors to meet and greet. The display will open on Tuesday, October 14. An outdoor event, the Punkin Path is located within the gated gardens area of the Botanical Gardens – so there will be plenty of gentle hills and old trees to explore, in addition to the pumpkins, gourds and straw bales. Fort Wayne’s sometimes frosty, sometimes toasty October weather is the perfect time to experience glowing golden leaves and to scuffle along brick sidewalks, taking in the sharp scent of autumn.

As part of the Punkin Path display, the Botanical Conservatory will hold a “Pumpkin Zone” on one Saturday afternoon. This special event will offer families fall crafts, games and a Gnome Search. Young scientists will be invited to learn about the buoyancy of squashes (i.e. can a pumpkin float?) and visitors will be able to snack on pumpkin seeds. This one-day-only event will take place on Saturday, October 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For people who want to take some of that garden goodness home with them, there is an outdoor garden shop hosted by the Botanical Conservatory. Live plants, like pots of herbs and perennials will be available. Small conifers are also for sale – these are just the thing for starting your own bonsai garden. And mums should be on hand, too!

A great concept that the Conservatory is implementing this year is the sale of still-fresh and slightly-used pumpkins. After the Punkin Path display has concluded (October 31), the Botanical Garden’s sales garden on Calhoun will sell off exhibit items. These would be just the right pieces to use for Thanksgiving displays and decorations- and a nice way to prolong the beauty of autumn for your home and friends!

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A restful bench, so you can sit and enjoy autumn!

The Botanical Gardens Punkin Path is a wonderful way to celebrate the beauty and fun of fall. Why not step outside with the kids and meet a gnome in the wild?



Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)