As the days grow shorter and the leaves begin to change to glorious reds, oranges and yellows, the Salem area provides a wealth of inspiring activities for people of all ages.

For family fun, you can visit Setniker Farms Pumpkin Patch, which boasts a haunted corn maze and hay ride. E.Z. Orchards HarvestFest features a petting zoo, pony rides, and duck races. Wavra Farms Pumpkin Patch has pumpkin bowling and “hillbilly golf” among other activities, while at French Prairie Gardens Fall Harvest Festival in Saint Paul you can witness “the only pig races in Oregon.”

If Halloween scares are what excite you, Woodburn Parks will be hosting the Haunted Zombie Run on Saturday the 19th dodging zombies looking for a brainy snack. For a more traditional haunted house experience, check out Spirit Expeditions’ Maze of the Undead, described as an “interactive zombie apocalypse Halloween  attraction”. And of course, there is always the Oregon School for the Deaf’s annual fundraiser, The Nightmare Factory, which is considered by many to be Salem’s premier haunted house.

For a more culturally inspiring experience, check out Silverton Community Center’s Day of the Dead Festival and Fundraiser. In addition to sugar skull cookies, authentic Mexican tamales and a variety of family-friendly activities, the festival will feature a traditional Aztec Ceremonial Dance performance by El Grupo Ritual Azteca Huitzilopochtli.

Finally, Salem is especially fortunate to be home to the Culture Shock Community Project’s 13 Nights of Halloween, now in its 5th interactive performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to the legendary Capitol City Zombie Mob and after-party. This year’s festival headliner will be Abney Park, a steam-punk pirate band from Seattle.

We do not have enough room to give a full list of the events that make up the 13 Nights, but you can find it online at www.cultureshockproject.org/13nights. Ryan Rogers, founder of the Culture Shock Community Project, describes 13 Nights as “…a unique blend. “It features lots of fun events, activities and projects, some for kids, some for adults. But it also is a celebration of what happens when people work together to build something bigger.”