Beary Scary Halloween festival returns to Grandfather Mountain Oct. 29

Halloween is otter-ly fun at Grandfather Mountain. In this photo, one of the mountain’s resident river otters plays with a festive Halloween enrichment. Photo by Monty Combs | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Press release from Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation:

Looking for mountains of Halloween fun?

Grandfather Mountain has plenty of tricks and treats in store for its annual Beary Scary Halloween festival, returning Saturday, Oct. 29.

The special day features a spooky selection of nature programs, Halloween-themed crafts, a costume contest, animal enrichments and, of course, trick-or-treating. All activities are included with the price of admission, and kids in costume get in for half-price.

“Beary Scary is a fun way to celebrate Halloween with the party animals of Grandfather Mountain,” said Christie Tipton, chief habitat curator of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Linville, N.C. nature preserve and travel attraction.

The fun runs from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., starting off with craft tables in the Nature Museum, where boys and ghouls can make their own spider houses or bats. Also during that time, kids can try their hand at fall-themed games, including a bean-bag toss and pin-the-tail-on-the-bear.

Kids-at-heart can take part in a raffle for a variety of Grandfather Mountain-themed prizes, with proceeds helping purchase new toys for the animals.

From 11 a.m. to noon, guests can trick-or-treat through the animal habitats, meeting the furry and feathered residents and their keepers.

From 12:30 to 1 p.m., the keepers will host a nature program, “Fatten Up For Fall,” where kids will learn what it takes to survive the winter as a bear — “by becoming bears themselves,” Tipton said.

At 1 p.m., kids can help the keepers decorate Halloween pumpkins and other treats to offer the animals as an enrichment, or they can make something for themselves.

“Enrichments are special treats that help break up the animals’ routines, while keeping them active and intellectually stimulated,” Tipton explained.

At 1:30 p.m., kids can show off their wild side with a costume contest, complete with prizes.

From 1 to 2 p.m., Grandfather Mountain’s naturalists will host a nature program, “Creepy, Crawly Critters,” focusing on creatures of the night, creatures that bite and other “spooky” animals.

At 2 p.m., the raffle winners will be announced, and at 2:15 p.m., participants can parade through the animal habitats, where the keepers will give the animals their special Halloween enrichments.

“The bears are more partial to treats than tricks, but really, who isn’t?” said Frank Ruggiero, Grandfather Mountain’s director of marketing and communications. “That said, Bear Scary is a fun and festive way to celebrate the season — for kids and creatures of all ages.”

For more information, visit or call (828) 733-2013.

About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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