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Discover Haunted Trails & Halloween Fun in New York State

October 28, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Haunted Trails

Over the river and through the woods, experience and explore the unexplained as you meander through the Haunted History Trail of New York State.  From the Greater Niagara region to the Hudson Valley, dive into historic sites and spooky heritage. 

The trails offer family-friendly fun along with chilling experiences for visitors ready to face their fears against ghouls and goblins.  Fear seekers partake in the Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s Ghost Train for serious mystery and adventure.

Headless Horseman Country 

Some of the most frightful encounters are expected to occur in the Hudson Valley, where Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman is said to still prowl at night.  One of his favorite haunts beginning in late September is the Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted House in Ulster Park.  Here, the mile-long evening hayride through the woods, haunted houses and corn maze are so scary that children five and under are not allowed.Sidebarcbc_468x220

Legend Weekends at Sunnyside, Irving’s former home, frighten and delight fans of his chilling tales on October weekend days with ghost stories, magic and puppet shows, while evenings transform the grounds of nearby Philipsburg Manor into a terrifying Horseman’s Hollow, appropriate only for those ten and older. On this walking trail through a town driven mad by the Headless Horseman, creatures, human and otherwise, lurk in the shadows, ready to terrify the unsuspecting while incredible special effects disorient and unsettle.  Legend Weekend attendees can also  take in  candlelight performances featuring spooky organ music of Washington Irving’s classic tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk at the Old Dutch Church in Tarrytown. Washington Irving himself now resides in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where tours by lantern-light visit his resting place.

More adrenalin-pumping excitement beckons alongside the Long Island Sound behind the gated walls of Historic Playland Amusement Park in Rye, where October brings Scared by the Sound Haunted House to life with terrifying scenarios that should not be seen by children under eight, or anyone faint of heart.

For those looking for a less frightening experience, the Jack o’ Lantern Blaze  at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, features an illuminated walk-through display of more than 4,000 hand-carved pumpkins where flying pumpkin ghosts that soar above the lantern-lit path and sound effects create the perfect Halloween atmosphere.

Zombies on the Move 

The undead are among the 20 spooky sights that will greet participants in the 29th Annual Halloween at Howe Caverns on October 28th in a hair-raising fund-raiser for the Schoharie County Cancer Walk.

Every October weekend evening, visitors to the two-story Victorian Massacre Mansion at the Blackthorn Resort in East Durham can expect eerie encounters within and at its haunted graveyard and dark maze.  Meanwhile, the Hell-O-Roma Hotel and Terror Resort Weekend at the Villa Roma in Callicoon, NY will feature family fun that includes a masquerade ball and costume contest, pumpkin carving, and horror film festival as well as a bonfire with ghost stories.

The Greater Niagara region is plagued by a fearsome new terror this year. While by day, Becker Farms & Vizcarra Vineyards offers kid-friendly hayrides, mazes, pig races, pony rides and pumpkin picking, after sunset, ghastly attractions like the Castle Labyrinth can be hard to escape, hayrides through the forest get hairy, and there’s terrifying news at the Phlotec Bio-genetic Lab. Instead of improving the taste of fruits and vegetables, the lab’s genetic experiments have produced monsters with a taste for the human visitors who venture into the twisting passages of their lair. 

Spooky Sightings for Kids of All Ages 

In the Adirondacks, spooky characters will add Halloween spirit to October weekend fun at the Adirondack Fright Fest at Great Escape. Kids can dress up in costumes and trick or treat, decorate pumpkins and see “Fright Shows”, while at night, zombies, ghosts and other creatures take over at the park’s exhilarating haunted attractions, hair-raising shows, and scream-inducing street entertainment.

Curious ghost hunters in the Capital – Saratoga region can join supernatural historian Mason Winfield, author of nine books including Supernatural Saratoga: Haunted Places and Famous Ghosts of the Spa City for a guided “Haunted History Ghost Walks of Saratoga Springs” tour on Saturdays in September and on Fridays and Saturdays in October.

Ghost sightings are also the subject of the Cooperstown Candlelight Ghost Tour in Central New York, which guides tour goers through haunting sites, many of which were featured on a 2010 Syfy television channel special.

Serious scare-seekers can head for Long Island, where Gateways’ Haunted Playhouse of Horrors in Bellport, NY is recommended only for those 13 and older. The park also offers a “Not So Scary Monster House for Kids” where creatures are more goofy than ghoulish. Another Long Island attraction, the Bayville Scream Park in Bayville Adventure Park  recommends that no one under ten years of age visit its haunted houses, but  offers a pumpkin bounce, haunted train and hay rides as well as the regular attractions of Bayville Adventure Park for the under-ten crowd.

Getting Pumpkin-Ready

Few things say Halloween more than pumpkins and pick-your-own farms around the state welcome crowds with an array of fun family activities. In the Chautauqua-Allegheny region, Pumpkinville in Great Valley, NY is the go-to spot for all things pumpkin including pumpkin picking and sweet treats like fresh-baked pumpkin bread, pies, donuts, and muffins and even pumpkin ice cream. The farm also offers hayrides, pony rides, a corn cannon shoot, cow train, and six-acre cornfield maze.

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