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It's Halloween, and you are a responsible parent. Do you:
1. Send your Power Rangers door-to-door to collect the usual glucose booty and then feed them broccoli while you devour the Tootsie Rolls.
What could be spookier – or more fun – than a hike through the darkened woods, with ghosts ahowl on the wind, phantoms shifting behind each rustling branch, and the glowing eyes of unnamed beasts flickering in the candlelight? And after the hike, to huddle 'round a campfire, and listen to whispered tales of Halloween yore and gore, the crackle of bones and crunch of monstrous feet?
Many state parks offer special Halloween programs guaranteed to fright and delight kids of all ages. The programs vary from park to park, but most include night hikes and campfire ghost stories. Enjoy haunted hay rides, pumpkin carving, games, magic, music and more. Make a night of it – pack a scary picnic supper (TRAVELER always finds hot dogs rather frightening) and dine in the company of owls, bats and all that's unseen but heard after night falls. Lighted cooking grills will be available at some park pavilions.
The following parks have scheduled programs. Check with the park or forest of your choice for additional activities and special events. Most events are free of charge, though you will need a park admission sticker.
The quieter side of the Sesquicentennial
After a lively summer of Sesquicentennial fests, fairs and food, you may feel that you've gained more indigestion than insight into our state's history. So why not try a more contemplative, less consumptive approach to Wisconsin's 150th anniversary? Visit these Sesquicentennial exhibits guaranteed to expand your mind, not your waistline:
Maps and Mapping: Selections from the Chippewa Valley Museum. Words aren't the only way we record history. Maps present us with a visual record of change over time. At this exhibit you'll see mid-19th century hand-drawn documents, current satellite images and scores of other representations of the land called Wisconsin. Open year round, Tues.-Sun, 1-5 p.m. with extended hours Memorial Day through Labor Day. Chippewa Valley Museum, 1204 Carson Park Drive Eau Claire. (715) 834-7871.
Covering History: Quilts in Wisconsin. The 35 quilts on exhibit – chosen for their beauty and quality from 7,000 quilts made or used in Wisconsin from early settlement to 1950 -- lend a warmth and immediacy to the stories of families, immigrants and women in Wisconsin. Patchwork, applique, crazy quilts and Art Deco patterns cover the history of the state. Tues., Wed, Fri., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs. 12-9 p.m.; Sun. 12-5 p.m. all year. Closed Mondays. Milwaukee Art Museum, 750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive Milwaukee, automated information line (414) 224-3220.
Wisconsin Shipbuilders: 150 Years. With all those cows clamoring for attention, it's easy to forget Wisconsin is a state with a long coastline and a proud history on the water. Learn how Wisconsin's skilled shipbuilders shaped an industry and discover why shipbuilders here continue to thrive while most of the shipyards in other Great Lakes states have long gone belly up. Fall hours Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. and Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wisconsin Maritime Museum, 75 Maritime Drive, Manitowoc (920) 684-0218