Scary Summit City

Extreme pumpkin carver Chad Hartson's scary version of art instructor Bob Ross showing how to create a Jack-O-Lantern.
Master sculptor and pumpkin carver Chad Hartson.
Indy Scream Park. (Courtesy image)

Fall is in full swing by the time Halloween comes. The day is a celebration of things that go bump in the night, ghosts and spirits who come out to play. It is also all about trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. There is no doubt that the Summit City is ready to help you get your scream on!


Carved to the Extreme


As part of FrightNight, master sculptor Chad Hartson and his team from Ice Creations will be on-hand demonstrating their extreme pumpkin carving techniques, as well as displaying an array of their creations.

Hartson started doing food art  –  carving and creating fruit and vegetable displays and making ice sculptures – while in culinary school. He found he not only enjoyed the creativity, but that he was also really good at it.

So, when he graduated, he started his ice sculpture business; but, when television shows like Halloween Wars became popular, people started requesting pumpkin carvings. For this year’s Halloween season, Hartson is booked to participate in more than 20 events and festivals.

Hartson said that when it comes to his pumpkin creations, what he does for FrightNight is on the small side – meaning the size of the pumpkins he carves. “We do an annual display in Dayton, Ohio where we carve 40 pumpkins that are each 500-pounds,” he said. To date, his biggest carving was using over 100 pumpkins to make a dragon for at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Hartson’s technique creates 3D pumpkins where he carves the outside of the pumpkin to create faces and/or images rather than cutting through the pumpkin. We asked this master carver to give us some more details about his work and some tips for DIY carvers.

FWM: When selecting a pumpkin to carve what do you look for?
CH: We look for abnormalities. We want pumpkins that have knots, big cracks or deformities. We don’t want the pretty round pumpkins you find in the store. We go through the fields specifically looking for the pumpkins that aren’t pretty.

FWM: Where do you get ideas for your carvings?
CH: We let the pumpkins inspire us. We’ll see something in the pumpkin’s abnormality that will spark our creativity. It is very difficult to get ideas from a perfectly round pumpkin.

FWM: How do you keep your pumpkin carvings looking fresh?
CH: We spray them daily with a solution of water and vinegar to preserve them. For DIY carvers, Hartson suggested also spraying your creations with this solution – one part water to 10 parts vinegar.

FWM: What carvings tools do you use?
CH: We use clay tools instead of knives. We also use spoons and scrapers to scrape away the flesh on the pumpkin’s exterior. For the DIY carver, Hartson said that you should get some clay tools and try 3D type of carving by scraping away at the pumpkin’s flesh. He also said it is important to think about the exterior of the pumpkin as clay, where you take things away in order to make something. For the typical Jack-O-Lantern type of pumpkin, he suggested using a jigsaw blade as it works better than other tools on the market. He mounts the blade to a wooden handle and uses it as a cutter. He said for a Jack-O-Lantern it is important to scrape down the pumpkin’s insides so it is easier to cut.

FWM: Where do you get your pumpkins?
CH: We work with several Amish growers. We usually go into the fields after they have farmed all the perfect looking pumpkins to pick out the pumpkins we like. For our 500-pound pumpkins, we have a grower who specifically grows for us; we usually get 60 – 80 of this special variety of pumpkin called Prizewinner Pumpkins that each weigh between 150 to 500 pounds.

FWM: What do you like better, carving pumpkins or creating ice sculptures?
CH: I like pumpkins because we have such a limited season where we can do carvings. There is no artificial way to create pumpkins beyond when they are naturally available.



Get Your Scare On


ARCH Haunted Walking Tour Of West Central Neighborhood: Meet at Caliente to hear the tales and take the tour of what haunts the city’s West Central Neighborhood. Purdue Club of Fort Wayne, Thursday, October 3, 7 pm. $10/person: Caliente, 120 W. Wayne Street, purdueclubfw.org

Wild Zoo Halloween Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo: October 11 – 13; October 18 – 20; October 25- 27, 10 am – 5 pm. Come for a merry not scary Halloween. Enjoy the animals, treat trails, pick a mini pumpkin to take home and other kid-friendly activities including: October 11: Free All-Day Carousel Rides; Story Time,10:30 am, October 12: Halloween All-Day Animal Enrichment; Princesses & Superheroes Meet-And-Greet, 11 am- 1:30 pm. October 13: Music by the Atomic Sharks, Noon -3 pm. October 18: Free All-Day Carousel Rides; Story Time, 10:30 am. October 19: Pumpkin Stomp & Chomp; Princesses & Superheroes Meet-And-Greet, 11 am – 1:30 pm. October 20: Music by the Atomic Sharks, Noon – 3 pm. October 25*: Free All-Day Train Rides, Story Time, 10:30 am. October 26*: Halloween Animal Enrichment. October 27*: Music by the Atomic Shark, Noon – 3 pm. *Also Truck & Tractor. Weekend Tickets: $5/person; $9/person with treats. 3411 Sherman Boulevard, 260.427.6800, kidszoo.org

10th Annual Sugar-Moon Halloween Art Show: The 10th Annual family-friendly art show sponsored by Fort Wayne Heart Of The City has a spooky sense of humor. 816 Pint & Slice; Saturday, October 12,6 – 10 pm, Free, 816 S. Calhoun Street, 260.423.6600, fortwayneheartofthecity.com

Pumpkin Train Fort Wayne Railroad: Take a ride on the 3rd annual Pumpkin Train. The 15-minute festive train ride aboard a historic heated caboose. Each ticket includes a pumpkin to take home. Historical Society; Saturday-Sunday, October 12-13.15808 Edgerton, New Haven, fortwaynerailroad.org

3rd Annual Trunk Or Treat: Treats and candy take over the dealer’s cars. The night also features bounce houses, balloon artists and food trucks. Summit City Chevrolet; October 17, 5 – 7 pm. Free, 5200 Illinois Road, 260.494.3443, summitcitychevy.com

Monster Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk: The 4th Annual Monster Dash to benefit Fort Wayne Trails is a Halloween-themed fun run for the whole family. Come in your funniest or spookiest costume. Freimann Square; Saturday, October 19, 9:30 – 11:30 am. S. Clinton Street, Adults: $25/person; Kids free with adult registration, 260.403.6389, eventbrite.com DD

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow: Share the slightly spooky tale of Ichabod Crane and his frightful encounter with the legendary Headless Horseman. The 30-minute performances are the perfect family-friendly activity. Also enjoy a free spooky creative movement session with the 10 am and 11:30 am performances. Fort Wayne Ballet; Saturday, October 19, 10 am – 12:30 pm. 300 E. Main Street, $10/person, 260.484.9496, artstix.org DD

Witches’ Brew And Bobbin’ For Apples: Stop by and try this tricky way to bob for an apple treat or just enjoy a cup of the witches’ brew. Trinity English Lutheran Church; Saturday, October 19, 3 – 5 pm Free, 450 Washington Boulevard, 260.426.3456, trinityenglish.org DD

Phantom Of The Organ: Organist Wayne Peterson will create spine-tingling music on the church’s mighty pipe organ. Peterson will be joined by guest musicians to give a frighteningly fun family. Trinity Episcopal Church, Saturday, October 19, 4 – 5 pm. 611 W. Berry Street, Free, 260.423.1693, trinityfw.org DD

Fright Night Spooktacular Car Show: This giant car, truck and bike show is filled with lots of twists-and-turns for Halloween. The show includes games & trivia contests, giveaways, prizes for the best display vehicle, pumpkin & costume contests and hotrodders passing out candy to all the boys and ghouls. Free, 233 W. Main Street, 260.273.1447, kroozincalendar.com DD

Parkview Field Scavenger Hunt: Come takeover the field to search for all the items hidden at the ballpark. Parkview Field, Saturday, October 19, 5 – 6:45 pm. Free, 1301 Ewing Street, 260.482.6400, parkviewfield.com DD

Ghosts, Goblins, Games… Oh My!: Head to the Courtyard’s outdoor patio for laughs, games and the PG movie Hotel Transylvania. Kid-friendly drinks and snacks are offered at $1 each, with proceeds being donated to the Back on My Feet organization. Attendees will also receive a special coupon book for future use at Conner’s Kitchen + Bar. Courtyard by Marriott, Saturday, October 19, 5 – 8 pm. Free, 1150 S. Harrison Street, 260.490.3629, Marriott.com/fwadt DD

A Night In The Old City Jail: Dare to be scared as you travel through the darker side of Fort Wayne’s past. Visit the Old City Hall jail and get your mug shot taken. Stroll the creaking floors of the museum and glimpse the decayed remnants of General Wayne’s coffin. Mad Anthony’s Monster Mix Candy Mashup. History Center, Saturday, October 19, 5 – 9 pm Saturday, October 19, 5-9 pm. 302 E. Berry Street, $3/person, 260.426.2882, fwhistorycenter.com DD

Fright Night Lantern Tours: Tour the Old Fort at night where the path is only lit by candles. You will be guided by a historic interpreter who will share tales of encounters with the Fort’s resident ghosts. Keep an eye out for the Headless Horseman. Fort Wayne’s Historic Old Fort; Saturday, October 19, 6 – 10 pm Adults: $5/person; Free for kids 9 and under, 1201 Spy Run Avenue, 260.437.2836, oldfortwayne.org DD

Ghostly Gala: Rise Of The Villains: All little villains are invited for a fun evening with the bad guys. Dr. Feelgood will bring a funky dance beat. Science Central will be on hand to cook up some treats. Also enjoy up-close magic, face painting, balloon art and some witchy treats. Recommended for those 8 and under. Grand Wayne Convention Center, Saturday, October 19, 6 – 8 pm. Free, 120 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.426.4100, grandwayne.com DD

Spread The Zombie Slime: Science Central scientists have gone mad, and they need assistance spreading the zombie virus throughout the city. This activity station will use science mixed with fun to create a villainous slime. All ages of mad scientists are welcome. Present your FrightNight Survival Guide at Science Central through October 21 for $2 off admission. Grand Wayne Convention Center; Saturday, October 19, 6 – 8 pm Free, 120 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.424.2400, sciencecentral.org DD

Champions Of Magic: Five world-class illusionists present a mind-bending theatrical production. These top magicians entertain with mind reading, stunning close-up magic and daring large-scale illusions. Embassy Theatre; Saturday, October 19, 7:30 – 10 pm Tickets start at $25 (special Fright Night offer, buy one get one for 50% off, use code FRIGHT), 125 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.424.6287, fwembassytheatre.org DD

Magical Misadventures: 11th Annual Halloween Show tells the hair-raising story of spooks and spells at a school of magic. It is recommended for ages 10 and above. Fort Wayne Dance Collective; Saturday, October 19, 8 – 9:30 pm. $15/person, 300 E. Main Street, 260.424.6574, fwdc.org DD

Halloween Spooktacular: Associate Conductor Caleb Young leads the Fort Wayne Philharmonic performing music from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Wonder Woman while being accompanied by family-friendly ghosts and goblins at this concert of Halloween favorites. Arrive at 1 pm to participate in free pre-concert activities including a costume contest, craft station, character appearances and instrument playground. Rhinehart Music Center, Sunday, October 20, 2 pm. $12/person, Rhinehart Music Center, 2101 Coliseum Boulevard East, 260.481.0770, fwphil.org

Ghost Ops: See if you can defend against the horde in a round of laser tag. Combat Ops Arena; Recurring Event: October 23 – October 31. Times Vary; $10/person, 6 – 11 pm; October 23 – 25; 6 pm – 1 am; October 26; Noon – 12 am; October 27, Noon – 8 pm; October 28; 6 pm – 11 pm, 702 Ley Road, 260.999.4940, combatops.com

Trunk Or Treat: Enjoy a night collecting treats and goodies from the creatively decorated vehicle trunks. Trinity English Lutheran Church; Saturday, October 19, 3 – 5 pm, Free, 950 E. Van Buren Street, 260.422.6488, fwymca.org

Trick Or Treat With The Headless Horseman: Visit the mall’s various retailers for trick-or-treating. Some stores will even have treats for your family’s four-legged members. The evening will also include a special appearance by the Headless Horseman. Jefferson Pointe, Thursday, October 31, 5 – 7 pm Free, 4130 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.426.1986, redevelopment.com


DD – Located in the 99-block Downtown Improvement District



Haunted Houses


The Haunted Castle and Black Forest: When it becomes dark outside, the haunting begins – come for the 39th year of spooks and scares at the haunted castle and then head outside for a winding haunt through the woods on a gravel trail along Beckett’s Run Creek. Each venue takes about 30 minutes. Recurring Event: October 10 – 13; October 17 – 20; October 24 – 27; October 31 – November 2. Tickets: $10/person for Castle; $10/person for Black Forest; $16/person for combo ticket. 1720 E. Wallen Road, 260.489.1763, hauntedcastle.com

Fort Wayne Fear Factory: Scare up some fun at the old Wayne Pump Complex at River City. Recurring Event: October 5 -6; October 12 – 13; October 19 – 20; October 26 – 27; October 31; November 2 – 3, 8 – 11 pm, Fridays & Saturdays. Halloween night will include Meet the Monster Trick or Treat from 6 – 8 pm and then the haunt 8 – 11 pm. $13/person; Fast Pass, $20/person, 5505 River Bend Court, 260.336.2102, fortwaynefearfactory.com

Hooded Haunted Hotel: 13th Floor: The Old Niswander Car Dealership is the location of the new Hooded Haunted Hotel. You will be alone, blindfolded with a hood over your head and led through the scare zone via a rope. Recurring Event: Fridays & Saturdays through November 2, 7 – 11 pm. The hotel will be open on Halloween from 7 – 9:30 pm. Recommended for ages 10 and older. $15/person, $25/person for Fast Pass, 1885 N. Jefferson Street, Huntington, 888.932.1827, HauntedHuntington.com

Hysterium Haunted Asylum: Hysterium: Anarchy–Patients’ Rule is sure to scare those who dare to enter. It offers an adult-only (18 years or older) Full Contact event on October 31. Be warned visitors to the asylum will be pushed, hooded and possibly. Recurring Event: October 4 -5; October 11 -12; October 18- 19; October 24; October 25 -26; October 31; November 1-2, 7 pm – Midnight (Except for: 7-9:30 pm, October 24; 7-9:30 pm October 31; 7 – 10 pm, November 1 -2). November 1 and 2 will be Black Out Nights at Hysterium, where you are completely dark asylum with only a glow stick to guide you. $15/person; $25/person for Fast Pass. Saturday, October 26, 4 – 6 pm, is the free Hysterium Trunk or Treat. The Lights On No Scare Tour of Hysterium is 4- 6 pm, $2/person. 4410 Arden Drive, 260.436.0213, hysterium.com

Columbia City Haunted Jail: Deimos Nosferato returns in the redesigned haunt with new twists and terrors. Rich in history and legend, this is the 27th year of the bone chilling trip through the jail. Recurring Event: October 3 – 7; October 10 – 14; October 16 -21; October 23 – November 4; November 9 – 11, 7-9 pm, School Nights; 7 – 11 pm, Friday & Saturday $15/person; $20/person for Fast Pass, 116 E. Market Street, Columbia City, 260.471.2477, ColumbiaCityHauntedJail.com



Sure to Make You Scream


One of the largest Halloween events in our state, Indy Scream Park, returns for its 10th season. The park features five haunted house attractions – including the new Nightmare Factory Blackout, a completely lights-off experience where you can’t see who or what is coming next. There are also two interactive experiences – those who opt-in may be grabbed, held back or sent into hidden rooms. There is also Kilgore’s 3D Circus, Zombieland Unchained, Backwoods and Pandemic Mutation. Then, bask in the afterglow of surviving the adrenaline-fueled terror in The Monster Midway for some food, drinks, games and roaming monsters. Open daily October 4 – November 2, $19.95 and up, 5211 S. New Columbus Road, Anderson, Indiana; 317.218.9515, IndyScreamPark.com


Adult-Only Halloween Fun


MaskZOOrade: This adults-only costume party is a special night to get into a scary-spirit while supporting the zoo. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo; Friday, October 11, 7:30 – 10:30 pm. Premium Potion tickets are $65/person and include unlimited bar service, reserved seating area, special souvenir, food, rides and activities; general admission is $50/person, 3411 Sherman Boulevard, kidszoo.org

Halloween/Horror Short Subjects And White Zombie (1932): Join Lord Blood-Rah, host of Lord Blood-Rah’s Nerve Wrackin’ Theatre live as he presents hand-picked Halloween and horror shorts followed by the horror classic White Zombie. Cinema Center; Saturday, October 12, 10:30 pm. $10/person, 437 E. Berry Street, 260.426.3456, cinemacenter.org

Murder Mystery, Nevermore: The Tell-Tale Heart: Only those 21+ are welcome to come and solve the crafted murder mystery inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Tell-Tale Heart. You will explore the park to review the murder scene, collect evidence and interrogate suspects as you enjoy heavy hor’doeuvres. Costumes are encouraged. Cash bar is available Proceeds support Riverfront educational programing. Riverfront Fort Wayne; Park Foundation Pavilion Promenade Park, Saturday, October 19, 6 – 10 pm. $80/person, 202 W. Superior Street, 260.427.6124, riverfrontfw.org DD

Murder! Mystery! Mayhem!: Walk and visit the places where Fort Wayne’s dark and bloody murders, hangings and feuds actually happened in what is now known as the city’s downtown. Not suitable for children. ARCH; Lobby Hallway, Grand Wayne Center, Saturday, October 19, 6 – 10 pm (Tours start at the top of the hour). $10/person, 120 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.426.5117, archfw.org DD

Walk With The Spirits Of The Past: The West Central Neighborhood has lots of history and some really good ghost stories. Not suitable for children. ARCH; Lobby Hallway, Grand Wayne Convention Center, Saturday, October 19, 6 – 10 pm (Tours start at the top of the hour), $10/person, 120 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.426.5117, archfw.org DD

All Aboard The Coach Of Chills: Hop aboard this spooky bus tour to visit the haunted historic sites. The 90-minute tour features tales of terror. Not suitable for children. ARCH; Lobby Hallway, Grand Wayne Convention Center, Saturday, October 19, 6 pm, 8 pm, 10 pm, $15/person, 120 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.426.5117, archfw.org DD

Get To The Rooftop For Safety OR Get Your Zombie Fill Downstairs: After 7 pm, the rooftop is for ages 21+ to enjoy FrightNight specialty drinks and to escape all the youthful zombies taking over the streets. But, fuel their scary-energy with zombie shakes and brain burgers throughout the day at Conner’s Burger Bar. Conner’s Rooftop/Hampton Inn and Suites, Saturday, October 19, 7 pm – Midnight. 223 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.247.6915, hamptoninn3.hilton.com DD

Stephen King’s Pet Sematary: It’s the 30th anniversary of this scary, kooky & zombie-filled film. Cinema Center is working with three local artists to re-create its iconic movie posters. The limited edition posters, each signed by the artist, will be sold during FrightNight weekend. People in costume get $10 movie tickets and free popcorn. The movie is rated R, so this is for adults-only. Cinema Center; Saturday, October 19, screenings 1 – 10 pm, 437 E. Berry Street, $12/person, 260.426.3456, cinemacenter.org DD

Rocky Horror Picture Show: Enjoy seeing this cult classic movie (rated R) outside on the conservatory’s terrace. Lawn chairs suggested. And although this movie encourages much audience participation, please don’t bring any rice or confetti. Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Saturday, October 19, 9 pm, $4/person, 1100 S. Calhoun Street, 260.427.6440, botanicalconservatory.org DD

Roast of Monster Movies: Maumee Mary & Joseph Comedy Festival: This is a battle of the movie monsters. The beasts are back from beyond the grave to hurl hell-arious insults at each other. But be warned, you may die laughing. This show is not for the faint of heart, as these monsters know no limits. O’Reilly’s Irish Bar & Grill; Saturday, October 19, 10 pm – Midnight, $8/person ($5 if you come in costume), 301 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.222.8525


DD – Located in the 99-block Downtown Improvement District


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