As we wade deeper into the month of October, the spirit of festivity at UMass Amherst only grows. Everyone is excited for Halloween, and no moments are being wasted. This weekend, I decided to do some exploring of the neighboring towns of Amherst to see how Halloween is celebrated outside of the college campus.
Saturday morning, a few of my friends and I drove to Northampton, which is roughly a twenty-minute drive by car and a forty-minute drive by the free bus system in Amherst. I’ve been to Northampton once before but never had the opportunity to thoroughly probe the streets and corners that make up the downtown area. But now I’m glad I finally did. Northampton is a cozy town with lots of shops and restaurants. Halloween decorations hang near every door and window. On every street you turn is a store dedicated to some niche hobby of yours that you’ve never seen before but wish you had. We stopped at a bookstore called Raven Used Books and spent an ample amount of time perusing the shelves looking at books of all kind. There were a few other stores that I wanted to visit but didn’t get time; I will at some point in the future.
That night, we went to South Hadley for the Monster Mash Scream Park at McCray’s Farm. This is an annual event with a Halloween hayride and haunted house. The line to get in was long, and the costumed monsters wandering around heightened the anticipation. It felt as if we were waiting at Disney World with the wait time. Luckily, we bought VIP tickets and skipped the line. It was well worth it. The haunted hayride was frightening, but the true terror came in the haunted houses. I don’t want to go into specifics and spoil anything, but trust me when I say there were lots of dark turns and jump scares. If you like that sort of thing, I definitely recommend checking this place out.
Until next weekend, when the real Halloween festivities happen at UMass.