Thirty years of trick-or-treaters: The Great Pumpkin Trail at Muskoka Heritage Place



Photos: Muskoka Heritage Place

For three decades, Muskoka Heritage Place has been giving wee ghouls, goblins, princesses and superheroes a safe place to trick-or-treat.

The Pioneer Village, which contains houses and other buildings from the late 1800s to 1910, is the perfect setting for Hallowe’en—slightly spooky at night though not enough to scare the littlest ones, completely contained and car-free.

The first Great Pumpkin Trail was held in 1989 and has since become a tradition for many families. Some of the trick-or-treaters from the earliest years of the event are now returning with their own children.

Do you recognize any of the people below from the first five years of the event?


“We see many families coming year after year,” says Muskoka Heritage Place manager Ron Gostlin. “It’s a great event for younger kids—there’s no traffic, kids can run around and have fun without worrying about cars, and parents can socialize at the same time.” Families who arrive all in costume are eligible for prizes.

Each of the Pioneer Village’s buildings is decorated by a sponsoring business, including the Nutty Chocolatier, Falls Law Group, Moose FM, Kelsey’s, the Huntsville Forester, Gerry Lantaigne, Paranormal Muskoka and staff from Huntsville Public Library and Muskoka Heritage Place.

In addition to doling out goodies for trick-or-treaters, the sponsors will be vying for the best-decorated building honours as judged by Mayor Scott Aitchison.

Here are a few of the decorations from the first years of the event:


Forty jack-o-lanterns, hand-carved by Gostlin and MHP staff, line the pathways to provide additional Hallowe’en spirit—and a few laughs—and help to light the way. Families who arrive early in the evening can trick-or-treat while there is still daylight.

Admission to the Great Pumpkin Trail is $3 per head—head must be attached to a body—or $10 per family. As cute as they might be in costume, no pets are allowed—registered service animals only. The event runs from 5-8 p.m. with last admission at 7:30 p.m.

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  1. Karen Wehrstein on

    When something lasts unbroken for 30 years, you know it’s a big success. Both my sons grew up trick-or-treating there every year from infancy to aging out. Big thanks to Ron Gostlin, the Muskoka Heritage Place staff, all the sponsors over the years and everyone else who helps put this great event together. Raphi and I will be at the Forester trick-or-treat house!

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