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Tips on Attending Conner Prairie’s Headless Horseman with Kids

#FishersIN – The Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park is a central Indiana tradition. As the air turns crisp, Conner Prairie turns into Conner Scarie, and it’s outdoor grounds are ready to usher in Halloween. My family has attended this event for years, and it’s part of our October tradition. Having attended in all kinds of weather and with children of all ages, I made this list of tips to help attendees make the most of their time at this very unique event.

OctoberCPBalloon__FCFThe early bird gets the early hayride. There are only so many hayrides that can run between 6:30p and 7:45p. These rides are ideal for families with young children, and are very popular. The gates for the event open at 6:00p. On a fair weather evening, plan to send someone as early as 5p (or earlier) to get in line. Once you have your hayride ticket, you can plan the rest of your evening around your hayride time. Rides are organized in fifteen minute increments. Members have an advantage because their lines are shorter, so it may be the perfect time to become members at Indiana’s only Smithsonian Institution affiliate.

Dress for the weather. We’ve attended this event in jeans and a sweatshirt, and we’ve attended in winter coats and hats. It’s Indiana and it’s October, so the weather is a complete wild card. Keep in mind that most of the evening is spent literally on a prairie with little wind cover. Wear sturdy shoes, dress in layers, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to bring gloves.

Be prepared for the prairie after dark. There’s so much more than just a hayride happening at this event. Chances are, even if you are on the first hayride at 6:30, you’ll be on the grounds well past sundown. Be prepared to keep track of excited children in the dark. Small flashlights, glow bracelets and glow sticks, and reflective tape can all help on this mission.

The flying monkey catapult is a hit with the younger crowd.

The flying monkey catapult is a hit with the younger crowd.

Allow enough time to enjoy all of the activities. In addition to the hayride, there’s Halloween themed karaoke, a marionette show of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a flying monkey catapult, food vendors, and special presentations.  There’s a chance to participate in a costume fashion show, a magic show, a monster museum, and a professional story teller. Some activities are available throughout the evening, other presentations run on a set schedule. Plan for at least an 90 minutes to explore the other activities either before or after your hayride.

With some planning, a night at Conner Scarie can be the highlight of the fall season. For more information, visit the Conner Prairie website. The Headless Horseman’s remaining weekends are October 16-19, and October 23-26, 2014.