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Celebrating the Silver State’s double-decker holiday on Halloween weekend.
Photo: Wannetta Bernard (Nevada Day Parade in Carson City)
In the waning days of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln needed Nevada’s statehood to help ensure his re-election. So tight was the deadline, the entire state constitution—all 16,543 words—was telegraphed to Washington D.C. The process took seven hours and cost $4,303.27, according to Guy Rocha, Nevada archivist. “Receiving the telegram was a priority because it suspended receipt of other war messages for more than five hours,” Rocha says. Statehood was proclaimed on October 31, 1864.
Thus, Nevada adapted the “Battle Born” nickname, and Nevadans were left with a dilemma of sorts: two reasons to celebrate the 31st. A solution came when the state legislature stipulated that beginning in 2000, Nevada Day would be the last Friday in October and the capital parade would follow on Saturday.
Halloween is celebrated around the Silver State with spooky cemetery tours, pumpkin-carving contests, ghost walks, haunted houses, and big-budget fright houses, such as Monster Mayhem at Town Square and Fright Dome at Circus Circus, both in Las Vegas.
In Carson City, spectators will line Carson Street on November 1 for the state’s biggest parade. Marching bands, floats, and novelty entrants dodge horseback riders—all in great fun that is pure Nevada.
During the day, you can watch the annual single-jack (rock) drilling contest, the beard competition, listen to local bands, and enjoy carnival rides. Calories from a pancake breakfast or the chili feed can be disposed of during the run-walk event. In all, there are more than 20 events and attractions during Nevada Day weekend in Carson City. This year’s theme is “Hollywood in Nevada—Movies and Television.”
In Virginia City, on October 25, during the Governor’s Ball, there will be Victorian dress, music, dancing, and dinner at Piper’s Opera House. On October 31, look for ghosts at the historic Fourth Ward School’s Haunted Hall.
Highlights during Beatty’s Nevada Day weekend include bed races and a parade. And, a Civil War Reenactment will play out at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park in Las Vegas on November 1 and 2. Perhaps rangers at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Las Vegas have the right idea when it comes to dealing with the Silver State’s non-traditional/traditional holiday. On October 24, they host a NevadaWeen Festival in which families can explore Nevada’s history while creating Halloween memories.
Fright Time in Nevada
Ghoulish haunted houses and sinister spirits are not overlooked when the Silver State celebrates Admission Day on October 31. The dearly departed—and those who just want to stick around and cause trouble—come out to play during statewide Halloween events that are meant to chill and thrill.
Carson City hosts a pre-Nevada Day weekend spooktacular, Madame Zamora’s Traveling Ghost Show, consisting of four walking ghost tours. On October 24, you’re liable to run into a few old souls in Gardnerville; on October 25, test your bravery in Mottsville Cemetery and then on to Carson City for the popular Kit Carson Ghost Walk led by characters from Nevada’s past. On October 26, there are secrets to be uncovered during the Genoa Ghost Walk. 775-687-7410, 775-782-2555, visitcarsoncity.com
See below (“Online Bonus”) for a listing of more Halloween events in Nevada during October.
WORTH A VISIT
Pioneer Living, Las Vegas, Oct. 4, 702-875-4141, parks.nv.gov
NevadaWeen Festival, Las Vegas, Oct. 24, 702-486-3511, parks.nv.gov
Kit Carson Trail Ghost Walk, Carson City, Oct. 25, 775-687-7410, visitcarsoncity.com
Governor’s Ball, Virginia City, Oct. 25, 775-847-0433, pipersoperahouse.com
Haunted Halls, Virginia City, Oct. 31, 775-847-0975, fourthwardschool.org
Nevada Day, Carson City, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 866-683-2948, nevadaday.com
Beatty Days, Beatty, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 775-553-2424, beattynevada.org
Civil War Reenactment, Las Vegas, Nov. 1-2, 702-875-4141, parks.nv.gov
Las Vegas Area
The Asylum @ Charleston & Hualapai
Hotel Fear @ Craig & Camino al Norte
Sept. 26-27, Oct. 3-5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 28-Nov. 1
Screamers – The Haunted Bridge
Thru Nov. 2
Guests of all ages allowed, but children under 12 must be accompanied by adult
Haunted Corn Maze
Weekends (weekdays: appt. only),
Circus Circus Fright Dome
Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 16-19, 23-26, 29-31
Monster Mayhem Haunted Village
Oct. 10-12, 16-19, 22-Nov. 1
Town Square Shopping Center
Bonnie Screams Haunted Ghost Town
Red Rock Canyon
Oct. 10-Oct. 31
Dia de los Muertos, Nov. 1-2
Haunted train, carnival, costume party, film fest
Haunted Harvest at the Springs Preserve
Hayrides, fright zone, entertainment, performances by The Ghosts of Shakespeare, storytelling
“Dracula: A New Musical”
Nevada Day & Halloween celebration
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park
Witches & Wizards Ball
Halloween Bow Wow at MonteLago Village
Pumpkin-carving, campfire stories
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
Halloween at MonteLago Village
Trick-or-treating, Halloween-themed movies, prizes
Kid-friendly Carnival of Horrors
Carson Valley Harvest Festival
Sat. & Sun in Oct.
Corley Ranch events & night maze
Great Pumpkin Carnival
Live entertainment & costumed characters
Trick or Treat Street
Treats, games, & circus performances
Trick or Treat in the Streets
Family Halloween event
Dance, costume contest, fortune teller, raffle & more
Halloween Party Dinner/Dance
After Dark Hunted House
Weekends, Sept. 27-Nov. 1
Lattin Farms Corn Maze
Haunted Ghost Train
Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, 31
Excursions aboard historic train
Jarbidge Halloween Celebration
Carlin Spook Night
Carlin Chinese Gardens