Halloween evokes spooks, ghouls, witches, haunted houses, ghosts, even interest in ghost towns.  
Due to curiosity of why or how a once flourishing town becomes fully or nearly deserted, tourists travel hundreds of miles exploring ghost towns like Bodie, California or Ashcroft, Colorado.  
Oregon’s Bulletin notes, a ghost town is “a community whose soul is in another era,” and while these towns may not have residents, an open grocery store, school or church, some of the structures (or memories of the structures) remain, giving viewers a taste of the town’s history.  
Just like Colorado and California, Iowa has multiple ghost towns that have noteworthy histories, many connected to railroads.  
In honor of our Southwest Iowa ghost towns, this year, Golden Hills RC&D and the Wabash Trace Nature Trail will host its first ghost town bike ride.  
What’s better than just walking through a ghost town?  
Biking on the Wabash Trace and stopping through four ghost towns, then listening to spooky stories by candlelight in Malvern’s Art Church.  On Saturday, Oct. 28, starting at 12 p.m., bikers will convene in Malvern, Iowa in front of Malvern Manor on 104 E 3rd Street, just behind C&M’s Cafe on Main Street for an optional haunted house tour for $10 per person.  
Following the tour, at 1 p.m., bikers will meet at Malvern Manor and cycle 13 miles to Imogene on the Wabash Trace, stopping at four ghost towns along the way.  
These ghost towns include:  White Cloud, Lawrence, Strahan, and Solomon.  With each stop, participants will learn the histories of the ghost town and have the option of touring Imogene’s St. Patrick Catholic Church from 3:30-4:00 pm.  Following the 13-mile ride, participants can either bike back to Malvern on the Trace or reserve a spot for a hayrack ride that will return both bikes and participants to Malvern.  Spots on the hayrack ride are limited; therefore, reservations are required to guarantee a spot.  Cost for participating in the historical ride on the Trace is $10, and the hayrack ride is an additional $5.00, cash or check only.  
Following the bike ride, cyclists can enjoy food or beverages at one of four locations in Malvern: C&M’s, Classic Café, Moreau’s Backerei Bakery, and the Hangout.  At 7:30 pm, all are welcome to enjoy three stories from Kelly Carey, Bill Danforth, and Joe Skahill, all of Shenandoah at the Art Church for a $5 donation.  After the performances, participants can make their way to the fairgrounds and be spooked by the Gateway of Chaos haunted house, which is open from 8-11:00 pm.  Accommodations are available at Pierce Crossing, Art Church, the Malvern Depot, or camping at Bohmer Park.
Golden Hills RC&D is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to develop and promote sustainable cultural and conservation projects that enhance quality of life and preserve the assets of rural western Iowa.”  They have a longstanding history of collaboration with the Wabash Trace Nature Trail and are excited to be co-sponsoring this event.  For reservations, register online at http://www.goldenhillsrcd.org/ghost-town-tour.html or contact Lance or Becca at Golden Hills RC&D at lance@goldenhillsrcd.org or rebecca.castle@goldenhillsrcd.org.  Phone: 712.482.3029.  In the case of inclimate weather, we’ll meet at the Mystery Manor and caravan to each ghost town stop, starting at 1:00 pm.  Hope you can join us for some or all the fun fall events on Oct. 28.