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Issue Date: September 2007 Issue

Family Frights

Michael Patrick Shiels, Greenfield Village
The Drive: Dearborn, Michigan
Miles: 164
Reserve Your Spooks Now: For more information or to secure the required advance timed tickets to Hallowe’en ($12; children under 2 are free), visit or call (313) 982-6001.
“Hallowe’en” in Greenfield Village, held under the moonlight the last three weekends in October, is for the faint of heart. Presented with more literary sophistication than Hollywood slashing, it’s spooky, not scary.

Sundown at the interactive, historic village in Dearborn, just outside Detroit, gives rise to pathways illuminated by more than 800 carved jack-o’-lanterns and animated by actors and docents in intricate, turn-of-the-century costumes: witches straight out of Salem, fortune tellers and snake oil salesmen, colonial ghosts and mad scientists (who’ve taken over Thomas Edison’s lab!).

The authentic buildings, collected from historic sites and transplanted here, are seriously credible haunts — especially when brought to life by strobe lights, fog and the undead visages of their old occupants. You’ll see the Wright Brothers’ Cycle Shop and Henry Ford’s boyhood home, as well as Edison’s real Menlo Park Laboratory.

Traverse the length of the fenced-in pasture (where you might catch a glimpse of the headless horseman or hear his black stallion galloping through the night) and you’ll find caramel apples, pumpkin pie and soup in the “Taste of History” building near the back of the village.
The Henry Ford Museum, just outside the village gates, is a family-friendly, indoor afternoon trip that brings the American experience to life. Daily tours of the famous Ford Motor Co. Rouge plant depart from the museum for a close-up look at the automaker’s assembly line.

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