With Halloween fast approaching, sailors across the nation are finding ways to combine the holiday with their love of the water. Here are a few family-friendly options that you may want to consider:
1. Haunted Ship Tours
Forget haunted houses; let’s talk haunted ships. Many vessels become supernatural hotspots during the Halloween season, offering both guided tours and actual paranormal investigations of the ship using EMF detectors. The USS Salem in Quincy, MA and the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA offer an assortment of tours that will give you goosebumps long after you vacate the eerie engine rooms.
2. Halloween Regattas
If you feel the urge to act like Captain Jack Sparrow, instead of just dressing like him, sign up for your local Halloween regatta. The Snipe Halloween Regatta at the Atlanta Yacht Club in GA offers a Southern-style dinner and a live band, while the Cortez Racing Association in San Diego, CA awards prizes for best team and individual costumes. From the race itself to a costume party following the competition, attending a regatta is a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend the holiday—just don’t forget to make a pal dress up as Barbossa.
3. Underwater Pumpkin Carving Competitions
Underwater pumpkin-carving contests have become an annual tradition in many cities across the country. One of the most widely recognized contests takes place at the Amoray Dive Resort in Key Largo, FL. Judges award prizes to the top three pumpkin sculptors who create the most impressive jack-o-lanterns (with dive knives) while 30 feet under water.
4. Maritime Museums
Many museums host exhibitions combining sailing history with a spooky Halloween theme. The “Superstitious Sailing” program at the Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes, DE, presents museum-goers with fun facts about maritime superstitions, Davy Jones’ Locker and cursed ships. A haunted lighthouse is the backdrop of the Marquette Maritime Museum’s “Real Ghost Stories” tour, during which participants hear ghost stories about former keepers and shipwreck victims.
5. Pumpkin Festivals
What does a festival dedicated to a squash have to do with water sports? Let us introduce you to a new kind of regatta. At the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Tualatin, OR and the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta in Damariscotta, ME, competitors race toward the finish line in 1,000-pound, hollowed-out pumpkins. We’ve seen weirder things…maybe.
This is only a sampling of the maritime-related Halloween events around the country. With a little digging, you’re bound to discover activities in your neck of the woods.