Ready for duck hunting in dark?

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If you have a child or grandchild ages 1to12, then you should mark Thursday night down on your calendar. That is the day of this year’s Sixth Annual Ghost Tales Around the Campfire and the After-Dark Halloween Duck Hunt at Historic Jefferson College.

Ghost Tales is family-friendly program in which local storytellers regale visitors with not-too-scary stories, while gathered around the traditional autumn bonfire. After the ghost stories comes the After-Dark Duck Hunt, where rubber ducks are hidden in designated areas on the grounds. Kids and their parents are invited to search for these adorable prizes with a flashlight, and they get to keep all the ducks they find. A separate area for younger kids is roped off in a section with a little more light. The duck hunt is just like an Easter Egg hunt…but it’s Halloween, it’s at night, and instead of eggs, kids hunt for themed rubber ducks.

This program is Historic Jefferson College’s biggest event, and we have again increased our duck count. This year, we are going to be hiding over 1,600 of those ducks, and there are hundreds of different types. We’ve got zombie ducks and cowboy ducks, bridegroom ducks and flamingo ducks. There are ducks for those in the medical profession, construction, sports, and racing fans. Some have wild hair, some have horns, and at least one has two heads.  You might find the circus ringmaster, the farmer, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, or even Richard Nixon! Everyone has their own favorite, but it’s so hard to choose! This year, my own favorite is the sock monkey duck. Also hidden on the grounds are twenty solid white ducks — on the bottom of these special ducks are numbers. Kids who find a numbered duck can bring it in to the Visitors Center, find their number on our exhibit panels, and answer a question about the history of HJC. Once they tell a staff member what their question and answer are, they get a Halloween-themed goodie bag to take home.

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Ghost Tales starts at 6:30 p.m. in the grassy bowl next to the Visitors Center.  Please bring a blanket or chair, and a bag and your flashlights. In case of bad weather, we’ll do the Ghost Tales in the West Wing building. The Duck Hunt, however, will go on, even if it’s raining, so bring an umbrella if it is!  Because this event is so popular, I’d recommend coming a little early to get a better parking spot.  There will be signs directing you to parking areas.  Thanks to the help of our numerous community sponsors, this event is free of charge, and open to kids ages 1to12. We do ask that parents of older kids allow their children to find the ducks on their own.  In the event that a child cannot find any ducks at all, our staff will gladly provide one to take home.

Historic Jefferson College was chartered in 1802, making it Mississippi’s oldest institute of higher learning. Classes started here in 1811, but the school finally closed its doors for good in 1964. In 1972, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History began restoration work on the buildings and grounds, a task that never ends.  We are located off U.S. 61, about four miles northeast of Natchez, in the little town of Washington.

For more information about Ghost Tales and the Duck Hunt, or any of our other programs, please contact me at 601-442-2901, info@historicjeffersoncollege,com, or check the Historic Jefferson College (HJC) Facebook page.

Robin Seage Person is the site director at Historic Jefferson College.