Ahoy Ye Scallywags, The Pirates Have Landed

Each year we participate in a Halloween Camping event at Watkins Mills State Park in Excelsior Springs, MO. Each year this event grows in popularity and I will warn anyone interested in attending; the entire campground was sold out within a few hours.

We were luck to reserve six camping sites in a row and we set about creating a scene worthy to compete in the scariest campsite contest. Should I mention we have won this contest for the past two years and feel a need to defend our “title”?

In years past we used easy up tents to contain our decorations. It has worked well for us but we decided this year to tackle a larger space. We made the decision to move away from the tents, Our theme for this year was Pirates.


Our goal was to turn the front of our campers into large pirate ships. We also knew we wanted to use our outdoor movie system to show a popular pirate movie and we wanted to make our visitors walk the plank. The rest came together with the help of a well pinned Pinterest board.


Thankfully, our camping group really likes hanging out together so we had a few work days prior to the event. We painted a lot of cardboard, empty wine bottles, and put our creative minds together to sketch out a plan that we hoped would be sufficient to win this contest for the third year.  I should also state that our goal for this contest is always to use as much recycled/reused materials as possible.

So, please let me walk you through our 2017 Halloween Campsite: Shipwreck Cove.

Up till this weekend we had pretty much a beautiful, dry fall. Our children had been counting down for this weekend; madly crazy about the idea of camping and trick-or-treating as well as seeing our campsite plans come to life. Not only where the kids excited but we adults were as well.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had her own plans for this weekend. A massive storm was scheduled to move through and it should be hitting the campground right around trick-or-treating time. We were determined that the show must go on despite the weather. Mid Saturday morning the campground host came around to tell us the organizers had moved up the time table in anticipation of the storm.

We scampered to set everything up. We had to bail on the night time effects (outdoor movie, fog machine, lighting, ect). We barely finished decorating in time and found ourselves with only twenty minutes to get ourselves into costume/make up. The wind kept picking up the entire day. Our massive sails took a beating. We ended up having to cut tears into them to allow the wind to pass through.

From the moment trick-or-treat started until the costume contest started we had a line of kids (and parents) coming through the site. They entered and got their candy, walked a path by the pirate table, Played the Hook Toss game and then got to claim their bounty. However, they soon found out that since they touched the bounty they had to walk the plank, right past a “giant kraken”!

The scariest site judging was a little odd this year. The judges came by our site during the trick-or-treating but the organizers had told us that actual judging would not occur until 8:00 p.m. We stayed in costume the entire day despite trick or treating ended by 4:00.  The judges came by a second time right before 8:00. We started taking things down as soon as they left and by the time they came back 10 minutes later to tell us we won, it was pouring down rain! What amazing timing!

So, here is to another year of Halloween camping. We are excited to have won but most importantly, we are excited to have another weekend together. Sadly, the grand fall weather we had been having blew away with the rain we got that night. It has been very cold since then.

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