"The Spirits of Point Lookout" will debut Friday with a program that organizers hope will become a new Halloween tradition in St. Mary's County.

The event has been conceived as building on the popular "Ghost Walk" presented each Halloween until 2002 by the staff of Point Lookout State Park. "The Spirits of Point Lookout" adds live entertainment and food concessions.

A combined effort of the Kiwanis Club of St. Mary's County, the Circle K Club of St. Mary's College of Maryland and the St. Mary's Ryken High School Key Club, the event is a benefit for the health and educational programs sponsored by the Kiwanis.

"The Spirits of Point Lookout" features a half-mile walking tour of the park, with reenactors portraying characters acting out moments of Point Lookout's history dating from the Civil War. Chesapeake Bay area musician and songwriter Tom Wisner will perform ballads reminiscent of the time, and games and a magic show are included along the interactive night tour.

The tour takes about 50 minutes and departs every six minutes from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 a person and can be reserved by calling 888-316-5679.

Tyrone Harris, past president of the Kiwanis Club of St. Mary's County, said the tour is suitable for all ages but advised that weather, time of day and physical demands make it more appropriate for ages 9 and older, with adults.

"Spirits of Point Lookout" originally was scheduled to open last Halloween season, but it was canceled in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel.

"I think the park staff really hated to see ['Ghost Walk'] go, but they just didn't have the labor to support it anymore," Harris said. "We felt the community was losing one of its major traditions. Although 'Spirits of Point Lookout' will be different, we hope it fills that void, and more."

-- SUSAN BARTON