For Halloween, instead of taking a hayride, board a spooky train ride. The Ghost Train at Burke Lake Park is a non-scary, fun Halloween activity for the entire family to enjoy. The park is decked out with cobwebs, pumpkins, hay bales, and costumed characters.
Hours and Ages
The train runs the last two weekends in October from 10am to 6pm with trains departing every half hour. You can purchase tickets at the train station booth. Ticket sales stop at 4:30pm with the last train departing at 5:15pm. Tickets are $4.50 per person. Children under age 2 ride for free. The only scary thing about the experience is the long lines. Get there early to avoid a meltdown.
The Ghost Train is appropriate for ages 2 to 10. Costumes are encouraged at this fun, popular event. There are plenty of activities to keep your child/children busy while waiting for the train ride. The playground and carousel are located in close proximity to the station. A spin on the spooky carousel is $1.75 per person. To get you in the Halloween spirit, songs such as “Monster Mash” begin to play. Souvenir Ghost Train t-shirts were available for $10. Treats such as cotton candy and a Thomas the Train moon bounce were available for a donation with all proceeds going to Wounded Warriors. If you need a snack, head over to the ice-cream parlor. Bathrooms with changing facilities are located just outside the parlor.
About the Ride
The C.P. Huntington train is accessible to all. The scenic ride lasts 10 minutes. The first half of the ride was moving a little too fast. I think this was due in part that the lines were so long they were trying to move the rides along quicker. It was hard to get photos because of the pace of the train, but it loops around so you go back the way you came. The train ride was narrated, but it hard to hear because the sound was muffled. The view through the woods and around the lake was beautiful.
As we chugged along the track, there were thrills and chills when seeing a graveyard, witches making brew, werewolves and a skeleton. There are also lighthearted moments featuring Popeye, railroad workers, Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2, Mother Goose with her book of nursery rhymes, Humpty Dumpty, the Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. The tunnel ride was spectacular with the Halloween light show. All you could hear were screams of delight.
The train ride concludes with a surprise visit from sleepy pumpkins. You will know what I mean when you experience the adventure. The Great Pumpkin handed out pirate lollipops and other goodies. Students from Northern Virginia Community College volunteer at the event. They did a fantastic job keeping families entertained.
On the last Saturday morning in October, watch or participate in the annual Costume Halloween Run at the park. There is a fee and registration is required. Admission to Burke Lake Park is free for Fairfax County residents and $10 for out-of-county vehicles. The parking lot is a very short walk to the train station. Get ready for Halloween and hop on the annual Ghost Train.
Photo by Kathleen Molloy