Our Flight from Sleepy Hollow’s Halloween

Since we hit the road, we seem to have a knack for staying at creepy-sounding places on Halloween. First was Tate’s Hell, with Rebel and Hook prowling Womack Creek in Florida. We spent the next Halloween in none other than Death Valley, although I remember it because we went out to eat for the first time since the pandemic started—on my birthday, November 1.

Alert readers will note that I posted this entry on October 1, not November 1. That’s because the party-happy people of central Michigan have chosen to celebrate Halloween this weekend at our campground, maybe because it’s within Sleepy Hollow State Park. As Tracy has noted, there seem to be no hollows anywhere around. I think they just dig the image.

Campground Trick or Treating

We’ve been here for 11 days, but it wasn’t until a day or so before the weekend that we noticed something big was up. The camphosts were gathering children to make Halloween crafts, and then we got the notice: Friday afternoon was sign-up for the corn-hole tournament on Saturday, and Saturday evening was a no-drive zone for a couple of hours in the park. Those are two highlights from a five-page, color-coded hand-out about the upcoming festivities.

Fall festival was happening, all weekend long. Turns out all the locals pack into this campground for the weekend and bring every Halloween decoration they can beg borrow or steal (lots, delightfully, are homemade). I walked around the campground on Friday morning—as most people were still pulling in and setting up—but I still got some great shots of campsite decorations.

My favorite scenes depict the theme of ”this is what we do at Sleepy Hollow” with skeletons at campfires, playing ring toss, fishing, sunbathing (we actually haven’t even been to the lake, that’s how lame we are).

The creepy ones seem extra creepy, being in the woods, with people’s RVs seemingly randomly parked among gravestones, zombies, giant cauldrons with body parts sticking out. Seriously, people parked their RVs and then went back to get trailers full of decorations.

And … we were the only campsite in the entire state park without one single decoration. I won’t bore you with details of my obsession of decorating for Halloween in years’ past, so let’s just say I felt like a Halloween Scrooge. So we left!

Tick Tock with Finn

We skipped coffee and donuts with the camphosts, the wagon rides, facepainting, pudding shots, I don’t even know what else, to get the heck out of Sleepy Hollow and see what the MSU end of Lansing was up to. One evening we hit Horrocks again with Finn (what a cool market/beer garden/greenhouse-nursery). We played cards and just spent time together, which is the whole point here.

On the big festival day, we had to chose to stay put (and buy Halloween candy to give out) or split before the no-drive window rolled around. Of course we split, this time to Finn’s house to hang out with him (and do laundry and use his wifi) while he graded lab reports. I’ve mentioned several times how busy he is, and seeing him plow through grading hour after hour (and not even get to his own homework) drives this fact home.

Finn has always been good at organizing his work and attacking it systematically, so of course he had time at the end of the day to go with us to Ozone, a nearby brewery. Poor kid: he wisely does not drink anything if he’ll be driving, and he’s none too crazy about lounging around after eating, so spending time with us watching the wheels go round and round was pure charity on Finn’s part. He’s a good person.

We came back to the campsite that night to blinking lights through fog machines and Lynyrd Skynyrd blaring and people walking the campground like it was Bourbon Street. I wanted to ride my bike around to take photos of the lit spooky scapes, but frankly I was too weirded out by the people to dare mingle. Seriously. This is Michigan Partay Central. And I dare not enter.

All the Partay People pulled out the next day (thankfully), so, after his work, Finn came up to the campsite, and Tracy made a fire, and Finn helped me with my ukulele playing and singing. Then we hugged goodbye. I slipped in there plane tickets for him to visit us in Texas next January. (This year-long wait between visits is for the birds.)

Now it’s back to just me and Tracy again. Wait, that’s not true! We have a full line-up of people we’re visiting as we make our way down to Texas for the winter, starting tomorrow night when we see Doug and Melanie at the Mothership. At the least they’ll be a distraction as I regret such a short visit with Finn; although, truly, seeing them will be delightful. There’s always something to look forward to down the road.