The Fenner Nature Center’s journey through the macabre side of nature, “Symbols and Superstitions: Annual Mount Hope Cemetery Stroll,” returns for Halloween.

The tour, which begins at Fenner Nature Center and ends at Mount Hope Cemetery, teaches guests about the ways nature connects to life and death using historic motifs and superstitious myths.

“There are a great number of symbols on the tombstones in the cemetery.

There are many types of plants that symbolize everlasting love, and some that symbolize death,” said Jenny Mensch, Fenner Nature Center program manager.

The tour will delve into the folklore of ravens, owls and other animals often used in cemetery monuments. Guests will learn why such creatures have become common imagery in American cemeteries.

“A lot of monuments have lambs on them, which represent the innocence of children who have passed,” Mensch said.

Mount Hope Cemetery’s headstones and historical markers will be the tour’s main focus. Mensch added that some of the tombstones are so old, reading their epitaphs has become almost impossible.

Mensch believes people flock to the trail to view the rarely-seen nighttime aesthetics of Fenner Nature Center and Mount Hope Cemetery. She said it’s a privilege to get a nocturnal glimpse of both sites, as they regularly close at dusk.

The Fenner Nature Center took the reins of the program from the Friends of Lansing’s Historic Cemeteries, as the creepy walk became more popular and outgrew its original scope.

With Fenner in charge, guests can expect an even deeper look into the nature aspect of the tour. The Friends of Lansing’s Historic Cemeteries continues to bolster the program by supporting upkeep of the monuments within Mount Hope Cemetery.

After the night stroll, guests can head back to Fenner Nature Center for a campfire and marshmallow roast. Mensch advises potential visitors to pre-register through the Fenner Nature Center’s website.


Symbols and Superstitions: Annual Mount Hope Cemetery Stroll Tickets start at $3

Friday, Oct. 26 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Fenner Nature Center 2020 E. Mount Hope Ave., Lansing (517) 483-4224 www.mynaturecenter.org