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, spooky, and the not-too-scary things you need to check out for Halloween. 

Spooky and Scary Fun

Ghostly Sleepy Hollow Halloween display

The Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster County is consistently one of the best-rated attractions of its kind in the nation. Maybe it’s the one-mile hayride, corn maze, haunted houses or escape rooms? 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. This holiday favorite sells out quick so make your reservations today.

Pure Terror Scream Park in Monroe holds the Guinness Record for being the longest haunted attraction in the world. The haunts get historic at Horseman's Hollow at Philipsburg Manor, a twist on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in the actual village that inspired the tale. The Haunt at Rocky Ledge in North White Plains has two houses, wooded trails, and a haunted cornfield. Rye Playground hosts Hudson Horrors, three unique experiences with more than 60 terrifying characters and a goal to test visitors physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

For more freaky things, check out the Double M Haunted Hayrides and Field of Horrors in the Capital-Saratoga Region. Head to Central New York to visit Frightmare Farms, Night Terrors Haunted Farm, and Cayo Industrial Horror Realm in its new location in Rome, an experience based in a post-apocalyptic world "designed to invoke fear and intrigue.”  Buffalonians know that the House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs is the place to be seen this fall—dead or alive.

Bane Haunted House
Credit: Bane Haunted House

Horror isn't purely an upstate affair—New York City hosts Blood Manor, with 5,000 square feet of themed rooms, corridors, and passageways. Bane Haunted House in Hell's Kitchen boasts of being so scary that they have one of the highest "mercy rates" in the US—meaning that more than 2,000 visitors were too scared to go through the whole experience in 2018 and had to yell "mercy" to be escorted out. The three-floor experience gives the zombie actors a day off on Sundays during Halloween season for kid-friendly "Happily Haunted" events. On Long Island, Bayville Scream Park has six thrilling attractions in its creepy collection, including "Temple of Terror" and "Evil in the Woods." The Darkside Haunted House in Calverton has 14,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor scares, and Gateway's Haunted Playhouse turns Long Island's oldest professional theater into a labyrinth of terror.

For a chance to have a "real" haunted experience, visit the Haunted History Trail to learn about attractions and hotels where spooky happenings have been reported. Spend the night at the Sagamore Resort, voted as one of the best haunted hotels in the US, with its stories of spirits haunting the porch, golf course, and elevator.

Not-So-Scary, Just as Fun

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze pumpkin light display
Credit: Tom Nycz 

The Great Jack o'Lantern Blaze, featured on her show by none other than Martha Stewart, transforms historic Van Cortlandt Manor in the Hudson Valley into a glowing wonderland where more than 7,000 hand-carved jack o'lanterns adorn the estate, built into sculptures, theatrically lit and given an original soundtrack. The 19th-century architecture of the State Capitol building in Albany only adds to the magic you'll find on their Capitol Haunting Tours. Let guides lead you through pillared hallways as they share ghost stories and historic tales that will delight visitors of all ages. Better yet—it's free!

Child dressed up as a bug with wings at ZooBoo hosted by Seneca Park Zoo

Put a twist on your Halloween costuming plans this year—if you're dressing as an animal, you'll be in good company at ZooBoo in the Finger Lakes. Grab your favorite costume and embark on a trick-or-treating adventure through the Seneca Park Zoo. Keep your expectations high for Scarerial Adventures at Bristol Mountain where haunted ziplines, bridges, and the ropes course will take you on a spooky (but not scary) flight through the night sky—costumes that fit under safety harnesses are welcome. And for the kids looking for daytime thrills, check out Great Escape Fright Fest in the Adirondacks where 30 days of rides, costume contests, trick-or-treating, and more will put you in the Halloween spirit.  Just make sure to get the younger ones out by nightfall, when it becomes a full-fledged scary experience that lives up to its name.

Pumpkin tower at the Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival

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, hay rides, and live music all season long until October 31st. This event is a family favorite and Buffalo must-do. But the rides don't stop there—hop aboard the Halloween Trolley Express for an unforgettable trip the whole family will love. The NY Museum of Transportation near Rochester can take you on a historic ride to a colorful pumpkin patch where free pumpkin decorating, tasty cider, and doughnuts await. Come dressed in your spookiest costume for special trick-or-treating in Halloween-themed trolley cars and soak in the autumn scenery.

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