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Strikes and spares at Milan's Pumpkin Palooza

John Benson • May 12, 2015 at 6:28 PM

Want to go?

• WHAT: Pumpkin Palooza

• WHEN: 12-3 p.m. Oct. 24

• WHERE: Milan Historical Museum, 10 Edison Dr., Milan

• COST: Free

• INFO: 419-499-2968 or milanhistory.org

Pumpkin bowling may seem as self-explanatory as it gets. However, the folks at Milan Historical Museum are doing a little research and development of their own regarding the fruit (that’s right, it’s not a vegetable) rolling game. This is all in preparation for the fourth annual Pumpkin Palooza on Sun. Oct. 24.

“New this year is pumpkin bowling,” said Milan Historical Museum Executive Director Ann Basilone-Jones. “This is where we are setting it up with empty soda bottles and you bowl with pumpkins. We’re currently testing it out to see what size and what kind of pumpkin works best, and whether it should be an artificial pumpkin or a real one. We just want to make sure the event runs smoothly.”

Running smoothly is something Pumpkin Palooza has been known for with its free popcorn, hot cider and fun. Basilone-Jones said the event normally attracts anywhere from 150 to 200 people.

“It’s just a day of free activities to come out and enjoy being outside,” Basilone-Jones said. “You can paint pumpkins and there’s a costume contest and we have the caramel apples donated by the Candy Hut inside of Kalahari. Our pumpkins are donated by local farms. We have every outside pumpkin-related activity you can think of, including a toss game, apple bobbing (and) a giant chessboard where you can play chess and checkers.”

Naturally the community event can be chalked up as another way to create awareness for the museum, which is filled with antiques, collectibles and more. Supposedly, the Milan Historical Museum also has visitors of the eerie kind, making it a perfect Halloween destination.

“We do have a couple of buildings that some of our workers here claim are haunted,” Basilone-Jones said. “One of our houses was a ship captain’s house, and after he passed his wife lived there. Then it went though several different families but I’ve got some people here who just get the feeling they’ve heard noises and heard people walk behind them and seen chairs rocking. Just stories like that. Someone might still be there.”

So does Basilone-Jones believe in ghosts?

“I’ve never experienced anything myself,” Basilone-Jones said. “But when I walk in, just to be safe, I announce, ‘It’s me. I’m here.’”

It sounds like the Milan Historical Museum should host ghost tours during Halloween season.

“We’ve thought about it, but right now how Pumpkin Palooza is geared, we don’t want to scare any of the kids or discourage anyone from coming,” Basilone-Jones said. “During Pumpkin Palooza, the museum is open and there will be adults in the house. There’s a fall family special right now for museum admission. It’s $20 for two adults and two children. They would be able to tour each of the buildings and investigate themselves.”

And there’s no extra charge for seeing ghosts or other paranormal activity?

“That’s right,” Basilone-Jones laughed, “ghost sightings are free.”

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