Halloween festivities are ready to haunt visitors once again following what was for many a pandemic fright hiatus. Whether you’re ready to be scared and celebrate, or want to immerse yourself in some haunted history of the region, there’s plenty to do. Throughout the month of October, learn about some of the area’s spookiest legends while sailing along the Hudson River, dance the night away while dressed up at a Monster’s Ball, creep up next to some costumed creatures at a local farm, and plenty more. Many of these activities are family-friendly, so horror fans of all ages can have a ghoulishly good time. Check out some ways to celebrate Hallows Eve in the Hudson Valley below.
Spooky Lantern Cruises | October 22, 23, 29, 30
Set sail on the Hudson and prepare to be scared! The Hudson River Maritime Museum’s Lantern Cruise takes guests around the Hudson River while using tales from old newspapers and Washington Irving, author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” to tell the stories of some of the area’s spookiest legends. Learn about the serpent of the Hudson River, explore Rondout Creek’s 19th-century barge graveyard, and discuss other old haunts. The family-friendly cruise takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout October. Passengers get to ride aboard the Solaris, the museum’s entirely silent, solar-powered tour boat that is the only one of its kind sailing on the Hudson. Tickets can be purchased online, and also include museum admission for the day.
A Haunted Hamlet and Monster’s Ball | October 30
Following last year’s Haunted Parade, the Wassaic Project is offering Halloween fun for all ages at this year’s Haunted Hamlet on Saturday, October 30. From 3-7pm, seven kid-friendly art installations will be spread along Maxon Mills and Luther Barn Field. Play a game of plinko and win prizes at an installation designed by David Diamond and Pete Vigeant, enjoy dancing candy spirits by Grace Lang, and be spooked by a fibrous candy monster made by Ana Maria Farina and Hannah Washburn. There will be candy for trick-or-treaters, of course. And for adults over 21 looking to celebrate Hallow’s Eve, the Monster’s Ball is returning to The Lantern Inn. Beginning at 7pm, the ball will have live bands and DJ sets from Taraka, plus a costume contest. Tickets for the Ball must be purchased by October 29. Costumes are required, no exceptions!
Zombie Escape Run | October 30
Start off Halloween weekend with some exercise that is sure to get you in the spooky spirit with Ulster Corps’ 11th annual Zombie Escape Run on October 30. Head over to Rosendale and traverse through Williams Lake’s trails while encountering zombies and other scary surprises throughout the woodland course’s tunnels, trails, and caves. The morning-long event is filled with races for all ages and abilities: there’s a kid’s 1K Fun Run (free), a timed 5K trail run and zombie escape, and a 2K walk, so anyone can join in on the socially distanced fun. Participants can register online as a team of five or more people or as individuals, and the kid’s Fun Run is free.
A Very Fluffy Halloween Event | October 23-24, 29-31
Animal lovers will enjoy the warm and fuzzy, family-friendly Lilymoore Farm’s Halloween festivities, which take place on October 23-24 and 29-31. Guests go on a tour of the farm where they see costumed alpacas, goats, and even a llama. There’s plenty of photo opportunities for the kiddies—take a picture with animals dressed as a rainbow or a butterfly. The tour also includes a visit to the Dreaming of A Chance Poultry Sanctuary, where the farm’s rescued chickens and turkeys live. Guests can dress up if they desire, or leave the costuming to the farm animals. Following the tour, there will be a wet felting soap craft demonstration that gives participants the opportunity to see and learn about alpaca fiber. Lilymoore Farm has been family owned and operated since the 1840s. Tickets must be purchased online before the event.
Tales from Hudson’s Crypts: The Tour | October 24
For history lovers looking to get into the Halloween spirit, Kelley Drahushuk’s annual tour of Hudson’s Cedar Park Cemetery may be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. On October 24, beginning at the cemetery’s entrance, Drahushuk will lead the group through the grounds, which contain over 10,000 grave sites belonging to war heroes, notable artists, and other high-profile residents like Major League Baseball player Bob Trowbridge. The cemetery’s history, important discoveries, and current layout will be discussed. Drahusuk is a longtime resident of Hudson, whose family’s history in the area stretches back to the 1800s. All attendees will receive a free map of Cedar Park. The event is hosted by the Hudson Area Library, and registration is required. Email [email protected] or call (518) 828-1792 ext. 106 to register.
Spooky Revels at Opus 40 | October 29-30
In the mood for a spooky stroll? Tour the haunted grounds of Opus 40 and ring in Old Hallow’s Eve with a good scare from spirits of the lost bluestone quarrymen and their ghoulish friends as you traverse the dark mountain paths. For guests in search of Halloween spirit and moonlit views of the Catskill mountains without all the haunts, Opus 40 will also offer family-friendly activities including a bonfire, s’mores, and a screening of a Halloween film (title still to be announced, but last year saw a screening of the 1920s silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari!) All events are socially distanced and require advanced sign up. Tickets can be purchased online, and the haunted trails are only open to visitors ages 12 and up.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze | Through November 21
The Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson will light up during this event, which takes the seasonal tradition of Jack-O-Lanterns to impressive new levels of wonder. Wander through the 18-century grounds while listening to a custom spooky soundtrack, and marvel at the more than 7,000 illuminated pumpkins, all designed and carved onsite by a team of artists. This year’s event includes a carved rendition of the iconic New York City skyline. Advance tickets required, and can be purchased online.
Headless Horseman Haunted Attractions | Through October 31
Frequently recognized as one of the nation’s best haunted houses, the Headless Horseman’s attractions are not for the faint of heart. This Ulster Park property offers multiple exhibitions for Halloween lovers looking to be frightened. Enter the grounds via a new walking trail, “The Haunting of Pumpkin Jack,” where the monstrous Pumpkin Jack seeks vengeance for the Headless Horseman in the cornfields. Visit The Lunar Motel and the Corvus Mansion, two of the many heart-stopping haunted houses open. Grab a bite at Glutton’s Diner, then clown around at Dr. Dark’s Circus Sideshow, still terrorizing townspeople after 19 years. For youngsters looking to celebrate the season without the frights, Children’s Day is offered on October 9 and 23. Kids can meet friendly characters at the Magic Moon Maze, Witch Hazel’s Halloween House, and more. Reservations for Children’s Day are required, and reservations to visit the other haunted attractions are recommended and can be made online.
Legends by Candlelight Ghost Encounters | October 22, 23, 29, 30Settle in for the telling of spooky stories at Clermont State Historic Site during the annual Legends by Candlelight Ghost Encounters. Sprawl out on the lawn surrounded by flickering Jack O’Lanterns carved by staff members, and enjoy an evening of tales from some of the site’s resident spirits. (Be sure to bring your own chair or blanket!) Some ghost stories are sure to be funny, and others will certainly be scary, but all of their stories are true. Clermont estate was originally built by the Livingston family in Colonial times. The home was burned down during the Revolutionary War and then rebuilt by the family, passing through multiple generations before becoming a state-owned historic site in 1962. So plenty of time for ghosts to take up residence. Hear the spirits recount their histories and other tales of the home’s triumphs and losses. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling (518) 537-4240.
Halloween in Woodstock | October 31
Woodstock’s annual Halloween celebration is back following a pandemic-induced hiatus. Head over to the Village Green on Tinker Street on October 31 at 5pm, when the roads close and the haunted fun begins. The night begins with a costume parade, headlined this year by local music school Rock Academy’s drumline. There will also be a flash mob to Michael Jackson’s classic, “Thriller,” from the Center for Creative Education’s Energy Dancers. Be sure to dress your best–there’s a costume contest with prizes immediately following the parade! For those still looking to celebrate, Bearsville Center is hosting an after-party featuring a paper lantern-lit woodland walk. Snack on treats for all ages–there will be candied apples and hot chocolate for the kids, and a cash bar for the adults. The events are hosted by the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts and The Secret City, a Woodstock-based nonprofit arts organization. No tickets are required, and both celebrations are free to the public.