This is Kelly Sherman, one of the CVAs at the lovely Harpers Ferry National Historical Park reporting back to you guys on my (kinda) spooky Halloween Hike. During the fall and winter our park puts on a hiking program for Harpers Ferry Middle School, known as Tiger on the Trail. All of the hikes in our program are just a few hours long, and designed to get kids moving. West Virginia has one of the highest levels of obesity, and these hikes are supposed to 1.) give kids a bit of a work out and 2.) get kids interested in the great outdoors. The hikes are relatively easy but fun for the kids.
For my “spooky” Halloween themed hike I led a group of about 30 kids from their middle school to the old cemetery by Lockwood house. Even after telling the students the history of Lockwood, and it’s role as a civil war hospital no one seemed bothered in the slightest. They didn’t seem fazed by the fact that they were about to walk into a cemetery either. The only time the group seemed to actually jump was when someone said they saw a clown. Turns out it was only a statue of bigfoot in a clown wig and a grim reaper’s mask on someone’s porch.
Even if the kids weren’t scared they were at least mostly engaged. Once we got to the cemetery I handed out a scavenger hunt for all the kids to complete. There were tasks like “Find someone who died on your birthday”, “Find someone born on your birthday”, “Find 3 graves of veterans”, and “Find the founder of Storer College”. Most kids were able to finish in the time period given but a fair amount had trouble finding their birthday, including me. Some of the kids really enjoyed themselves, others, well not so much. It can be hard to hold anyone’s attention when they’re cold and hungry, so it’s not overly surprising I got a lot of questions towards the end about getting lunch and going inside. Despite the occasional complaining, they all said they would come and do the hike again, so I’ll take it as a win. I think they honestly were just happy to not be in class and that’s perfectly fine. The kids got some exercise and even asked if they could have a more physically challenging hike for the next Tiger on the Trail program. Mission Accomplished.