Tradition. Some people follow it religiously, others prefer to leave it with their past. For me, tradition is a big thing. I love all types of traditions, especially holiday traditions. On Easter Sunday my Southern Christian Bible Belt family has a big gathering where we have an Easter egg hunt and feast on some great food. For the Fourth of July, we go a bit bigger with an annual family beach trip and barbecue. Like most people, we spend Thanksgiving chowing down and hanging out; but this time we end with some family Black Friday shopping. Christmas is not a small event either. We get all of the family together on Christmas Eve and open presents, eat some good food, play some games, and read “The Christmas Story.” We celebrate holidays with traditions just like anyone else, but there is one holiday where we stray a little bit from the norm.
For my family, Halloween has always been a HUGE holiday. Or shall I say, season. We celebrate Halloween for the whole month of October – decorating, baking, watching movies, and just digging into the season. Some people do these small traditions as well, but there is one that my family has done for 17 years. I’m only 14, so I have been a part of this tradition since I was born. In McCalla, Alabama lies a small state park that has been there for 100s of years. Tannehill State Park was once the site of a bloomery forge in 1830, later on, it evolved into 3 furnaces that were owned by Ninian Tannehill who built the mills and ran his farming land on the property. Eventually, Union Soldiers acquired the area and that’s where we land. Today, Tannehill has historic sites to visit and a museum displaying different artifacts. But Tannehill has one big event that brings the visitors pouring in; The Annual Tannehill Fairyland and Trick-Or-Treating.
Tannehill is a camping state park, and my family loves that. We pull our camper to Tannehill State Park and set it up for the Halloween season every year. Nearly 300 campers and RVs do the same. They decorate BIG with spooky scenes including a car decorated like the Ghostbusters Mobile, a haunted cemetery, and an abandoned house on the Louisiana bayou. On the Saturday before Halloween, they throw the annual Tannehill Fairyland -complete with food vendors, balloon artists, a mechanical bull, and carnival rides! You can have some cotton candy before heading over to the petting zoo to hold a kangaroo. The Fairyland is a must-do for the visitors of Tannehill, so much so that people who don’t camp show up at 7 am.
Tannehill Halloween Day
After the Fairyland ends at 5 pm on that Saturday, the Trick-Or-Treating begins. Roughly 10,000 people attend each year. You should see how much candy we buy! Every single camper in the park hands out candy to every trick-or-treater that comes through. For years I have left with a full bucket of some great Halloween candy. And get this, no cheapskates in sight-they ditch the off-brand fruit tootsie rolls and bring out the skittles. People of all ages come around for this grand event, from 93 to under 3. If you have a camper in the park, it’s perfect to throw a party and have a great Halloween hang out.
Besides the fun Fairyland activities and the great trick or treating, Tannehill Halloween day is a day filled with fun rides and even a show to watch. Take a ride on the Tannehill Railway, a real miniature train that takes you on a trip through the park. After your train ride, take a walk to the Tannehill creamery. There you’ll find them serving up some great Blue Bell ice cream in shakes, floats, sundaes, and their famous banana splits (I recommend the root beer float). As for the show, you can find the Woodstock Witches dancing throughout the park. Ladies range in age from 8 to 65+! These witchy women dress up in their witch costumes and dance throughout the campground. Before Halloween Day, these ladies gather together in Tannehill to practice their dances. They shake their brooms and march throughout the grounds, spreading the Halloween spirit and having fun.
Though my family has only been going to Tannehill Halloween for 17 years, this event is celebrating its 30th birthday on October 30th. For 30 years Tannehill has been putting smiles on lots of faces yearly. This event has become a beloved gathering of the community that so many people look forward to every year. Whether it be the family fun or the spooky decorations, my family loves Tannehill. I can’t imagine my Halloween season without Tannehill. On the weekends of October, you can catch my family sitting in camping chairs, my dad grilling, my little sister riding her bike, my mom decorating our spot, my niece riding her little bike, my big sister, brother-in-law, and me enjoying the football game and playing some corn hole. Life is good with no cell service and nothing but time. I highly suggest trying out the Tannehill Halloween season if you want to have some fun. And hey, you might also want to catch the screening of Hocus Pocus in a couple of weeks!