OUR GHOSTS, at least around Halloween time, don't often appear in jeans or sandals or scrunchies or the accouterments of modern, or semi-recent, life. We like our wraiths to show up sporting top hats and hoop skirts and breeches and boots with buckles. And when those wraiths cameo at a very historic spot, rather than a contemporary location that's been transformed into something that has an older appearance, well... bring on the shivers. One of California's best-known historic destinations is a state park, one with ties to both our capital city's story and the story of the Gold Rush. It's Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, and a stroll around the walled landmark on the sunniest summer day can leave a person heady with history and maybe, just perhaps, the sense that its former residents never quite said their farewells. It's in this spirit — wink — that the historic gem stages its annual fall treat each year, a two-nighter called The Haunted Fort.
IT'S POPULAR, a "crowd-favorite" per the park, and that it is only scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29 means that you and your history-loving, haunty-happy pals best get on your road-tripping plans. You may (will) encounter "weary pioneers" and "restless spirits" on the 1800s-esque spread, as well as a crackling campfire and campfire-creepy tales. "Based in fact — but with a decidedly creepy twist," The Haunted Fort is appropriate for the big-of-britches and older young'uns alike (just make sure they're at least age 8). But will you hear the sound of a wagon and horses in the distance, even beyond the actors and campfire and other Halloween-y touches? The park is full of the past, and even a pre-Halloween treat can't fully cloak its highly atmospheric character.