As autumn brings a chill to the air, haunted houses, hayrides, and attractions all across New York can send a chill down your spine. Here are the freaky, creepy, and the not-too-scary things you need to check out for Halloween.
Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available. Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing.
Original published 08/08/2019
The Headless Horseman Haunted Attractions (pictured) in Ulster County are consistently some of the best-rated attractions of their kind in the nation. Maybe it’s the corn maze, haunted houses, or escape rooms? And of course, the infamous Headless Horseman himself is always looking for a new way to get "a head." Gift shops, tasty cafes, and special children's days top off your visit.
CREDIT: @DOUBLEMHAUNTEDHAYRIDES ON INSTAGRAM
Pure Terror Scream Park in Monroe holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest overall walk-through horror attraction in the world. For more freaky things, check out Frightmare Farms, Double M Haunted Hayrides (pictured), and Field of Horrors in the Capital-Saratoga region. Head to Central New York to visit Cayo Industrial Horror Realm in Rome, an experience based in a post-apocalyptic world "designed to invoke fear and intrigue” and also features the Atrophy Escape Ward, a theatrical escape room experience.
The Farmers' Museum in Central New York offers Things That Go Bump in the Night Ghost Tours, with a lantern-lit walk-through of the 19th century village and creepy stops along the way. Scary storytelling including bringing one of Edgar Allen Poe's classic tales to life make this recommended for visitors 10 and up only.
Horror isn't purely an upstate affair—New York City hosts Blood Manor, with 10,000 square feet of themed rooms, corridors, and a labyrinth of passageways.
On Long Island, Bayville Scream Park has seven thrilling attractions in its creepy collection, including "Temple of Terror" and "Evil in the Woods." The Darkside Haunted House in Calverton has over 14,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor scares, and Gateway's Haunted Playhouse in Bellport brings nightmares to life with a new theme and characters each year.
For a chance to have a "real" haunted experience, visit the Haunted History Trail of New York State to learn about attractions and hotels where eerie happenings have been reported. Spend the night at Fainting Goat Island Inn (pictured), voted 2023’s #1 Best Haunted Hotel in the U.S. for the second year in a row by USA Today readers.
Not-So-Scary, Just as Fun
Credit: Tom Nycz
The Great Jack o' Lantern Blaze, a glowing wonderland with thousands of hand-carved jack o' lanterns, dazzles visitors at its two locations in Old Bethpage Village Restoration and Van Cortlandt Manor!
Put a twist on your Halloween costuming plans this year—if you're dressing as an animal, you'll be in good company at Seneca Park Zoo in the Finger Lakes, which will play host to plenty of fun Halloween and fall-themed events this year.
Courtesy of Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Encounter colorful larger-than-life creatures made out of live plants at the new "Creatures After Dark" exhibit at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. The moss-made dinosaurs, giant buffalo, and dragonfly will be illuminated at night under twinkling lights.
And what is fall without fresh cider and pumpkin doughnuts? The Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival is the place for everything you love about autumn. Enjoy tasty fall food, corn mazes, hayrides, and other kid-friendly activities until October 31. This event is a family favorite and Buffalo must-do.