There’s plenty to be spooked about in the rural areas surrounding southwest Johnson County. From train rides through haunted circuses to farms full of fear, agriculture tourism has found a fall home nearby.
Midland Train of Terror
On weekends, Kansas’ only haunted train docks in Baldwin City offering locals the chance to take a terrifying ride to Norwood, Kan. Riders move through the country side in a dark train cabin lit by black lights. Along the way, visitors can check out the haunted circus sideshow.
“It’s an actual gutted railroad car that we took everything out of,” Allen Kinsley, director of marketing for Midland Railway, said. “It’s set up as a haunted house. Actually, it’s kind of freaky really.”
When the train reaches its destination in Norwood, haunted circus performers load the train back up for the return trip.
The spooks on the hour-long ride are provided courtesy of the Baldwin City Community Theatre. The train is a haunted house on the tracks, and organizers say parents should determine if it is appropriate for their children.
The final Terror Under the Big Top trains leave the Baldwin City depot at 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27.
Peckham’s Pumpkin Patch
Now in its 24th year, Peckham’s Pumpkin Patch entertains families by daylight with a pumpkin patch, hay rides, tube slides and a maze made of 180 giant hay bales. When the sun sets, a haunted hayrack ride allows guests to interact with zombies.
Harry Peckham, owner, said there are plenty of zombie haunted houses in Kansas.
“Under the relentless zombie attacks at haunted houses, in this one, you can shoot back,” Peckham said.
Paint guns are mounted to the trailer ride allowing visitors, known as the Kansas Zombie Response Team, to interact with the zombies.
Pome on the Range
With an orchard and winery as well as a large pumpkin patch, Pome on the Range offers family-friendly entertainment on weekends throughout October.
Becky Engelken said there are still pumpkins to be found in the Williamsburg pumpkin patch.
“On the weekends, mule-drawn wagon rides take visitors back to the patch,” she said. “All of our pumpkins this year are less than $10.”
The orchard also features apple-picking, but Engelken said most of the apples are long gone.
“We had pretty big crowds out here so there are very, very few apples, but people are welcome to come out and look,” she said.
While there, visitors can sample a variety of apple wines including the orchard’s hooch, which is an apple-raisin blend.
KC Pumpkin Patch
Billing itself as Kansas City’s premier “haycation,” the KC Pumpkin Patch in Gardner is visible from Interstate 35. With more than 60 activities, guests can, of course, pick out a pumpkin, but also get lost in a corn maze, take a ride down a giant pumpkin slide, play pumpkin tether ball and check out the haunted barn.
Nearby, the KC Fear Farm features a haunted corn field with five attractions including the Field of Screams, a haunted corn field; Buried Alive; Circus Asylum; Kansas Twister and Insane Reaction.
The Patch at the Farm
Located near the Lanesfield Museum, The Patch at The Farm features pioneer-costumed re-enactors ready to spin tales. Pumpkins are available from a four-acre patch, and visitors can also check out the petting zoo and a corn maze.
Visitors are encouraged to dig up terror at Bloody Acres in October. According to legend, a local shawman in the 1800s removed the evil spirits that caused nightmares and buried them on land near Edgerton.
The buried nightmares were bound in the earth until a World War II veteran opened a funeral parlor and cemetery there in 1946.
Things soon went terribly wrong as grave diggers began to disappear.
Now the land serves up spooks each fall. The attraction includes a haunted hayrack ride and walking trail of terror as well as a kid friendly option.
Midland Train of Terror, Baldwin City
Santa Fe Depot
1515 W. High St.
Baldwin City, KS
Pome on the Range Orchard & Winery
2050 Idaho Rd
KC Pumpkin Patch
29755 W. 191st St.
Gardner, KS 66030
The Patch at the Farm
18588 Dillie Rd
22642 Spooncreek Rd