Haunted Hudson Valley for Halloween
One of America’s first and favorite tales of terror was crafted right here in the Hudson Valley. Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tells the tale of the awkward, lovelorn schoolteacher Ichabod Crane, whose desire for the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel is thwarted by local rowdy Brom Bones Van Brunt. The story ends (spoiler alert… from 1819) with Ichabod fleeing wildly on horseback, caught up in a frantic race through the woods, pursued by the legendary Headless Horseman — the vengeful ghost of a Hessian soldier decapitated by a cannonball during the War of Independence. In 1819, this kind of thing was legitimately terrifying. But in 2021, it takes a lot more to scare an audience than tucking your head under your arm.
Fortunately for us, the Hudson Valley is up for the challenge. If you’re looking for a real frightmare this Halloween season, you’ve got plenty of options not far from the safety of your own bedroom. (Just do us all a favor and check under your bed when you get home, OK?) Most of these haunts are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays after sundown. Please check the websites for details. Be prepared to buy your tickets online. Much of the haunt industry has moved to a timed entrance model, which cuts down wait times at the parks.
Pro tip: Be sure to check the websites for group rates. When it comes time to get your scream on, the more the murderier.
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Haunted Huguenot Street — 81 Huguenot St New Paltz, NY — You are invited to the wedding of Hugo and Annie…
See the spirits of Huguenot Street like you’ve never seen them before; in celebration. You are invited to the postmortem wedding of Hugo and Annie – a celebration nearly 100 years in the making. Upon arrival, guests can sip on festive mock-tails, see into the future with fortune-telling games, dance to spectral music, and of course get their pictures taken at a photo booth – so be sure to dress up and look your best. All of the festivities will be outside with plenty of distance between party goers (living and dead), so be sure to bundle and mask up! Friday and Saturday evenings starting October 15, and Halloween Night. 20 visitors max to maintain safe social distance
Night Terrors Haunted Farm — 4193 Route 7, Schoharie, NY— celebrating 10 years in the scare business, Night Terrors offers three main haunts: The Hive, Maize Mayhem, and Spellbound: The Nightmare Realm. Not recommended for children under 10. Reservations/online ticketing recommended.
The Headless Horseman — 778 Broadway, Route 9W, Ulster Park, NY — has been rated #1 in the region, the country, and even the planet (by the New York Daily News, no less — how do I get that research gig?) While we can’t vouch for its planetary dominance, it’s an incredibly impressive haunt. Boasting nine attractions, new-for-2021 Escape Rooms, eateries and a gift shop, the haunt is set on a historic manor circa 1793, and incorporates over sixty-five acres. Expect to spend about 2 hours experiencing the haunt itself. NOT recommended for children under the age of 13, but childrens’ days are available — check the website for details. Reservations/online ticketing recommended.
Pure Terror ScreamPark — 299 Museum Village Road, Monroe, NY 10950 — holds the Guinness World Record as the Longest Horror Attraction In The World. With 10 separate haunted attractions, including Camp Killmore, the Nightmare Factory, Terror Under the Big Top, the blackout haunt Terror in the Dark, and more, Pure Terror offers a fright for every phobia. Not recommended for children under 10. Reservations/online ticketing recommended.
Nightmare Circus — 24 Sycamore Rd Mahopac, NY 10541 — the only FREE haunt event on this list, Nightmare Circus is a family-run Halloween frightfest open Hallows Eve and Halloween Night (10/30 and 10/31). Rated “Very Scary,” Nightmare Circus is not recommended for children under 10. Although it is a free event, the organizers do accept donations that go towards Saint Judes Children’s Hospital.
The Haunted History Trail — If haunted screamparks don’t satisfy your cravings, check out the “real” haunted places in New York State on the Haunted History Trail. Join a ghost hunt. Take a spooktastic guided tour. Join paranormal investigators as they explore infamously haunted Hudson Valley landmarks like Miss Fanny’s Victorian Party House, King House Mansion at the Tarrytown House Estate, Wing’s Castle, and even the Tarrytown Music Hall.
The Clown Photo is from Nightmare Circus – Boo!