| by Robert Kimmel |
Spine tingling experiences, ghost stories, haunted hayrides, a costume parade, and more await you during this spook-tacular month of Halloween in the villages. October is packed with events that will chill, thrill and amuse both adults and kids. The line-up includes all of the following.
Historic Philipsburg Manor becomes a very scary place as it “takes the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to its darkest extremes,” as described in previews. Walking the haunted trail, you’ll arrive in a town filled with ghoulish figures over whom the Headless Horseman reigns. Among those figures are witches, vampires, and ghosts. Lurking in the dark crannies, ready to pounce are these mostly inhuman characters whose scary threats are amplified by sounds that will chill the bravest visitors. But all will leave with their heads intact! Horseman’s Hollow as a terrifying experience, but successful, fearful thriller, is returning for its sixth year in Sleepy Hollow. It has 15 dates, beginning October 2. The event organizers advise: “This event is NOT suitable for adults who are claustrophobic, have heart or respiratory conditions, are prone to seizures, or have other chronic health conditions. Enter at your own risk!”
One of the area’s grandest, most popular darkly illuminating events, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze runs for 30 evenings, beginning Oct.2, and that includes Halloween night. Featured are more than 7,000 hand-carved, lit up pumpkins, arranged along the setting of Van Cortlandt Manor’s 18th-century buildings and riverside landscape. Take a walk through the Pumpkin Planetarium and check out the stars. Pumpkin ghosts flitter through the sky as the circus train rolls on beneath them into a town where clowns and animals caper. And there is more: Jack-in-the boxes springing up amidst snakes, a giant spider web and little monsters. Watch a giant sea serpent swish around the Undersea Aquarium and dinosaurs inhabit the popular Jurassic Park.
Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is conveyed in the most dramatic way by master story teller, Jonathan Kruk, enhanced with live spooky music by organist Jim Keyes in a number of performances beginning October 2. The captivating storytelling takes place at Sleepy Hollow’s Old Dutch Church, where part of the story takes place. And, the nearby church yard is where the Headless Horseman emerges looking for his head. Not but a few steps away is the bridge where Ichabod Crane took his last breaths as related by Kruk in his marvelous style. So the chills are still onsite.
Sleepy Hollow’s Annual Haunted Hayride
Losing your head is something you don’t want to do, and that is why precautions are offered if you embark on Sleepy Hollow’s annual Haunted Hayride. It is plenty comfortable as you begin the venture through well-lit downtown Sleepy Hollow, and start along the Albany Post Road. The ride takes you past the Old Dutch Church, the route taken by Ichabod Crane as he fled from the Headless Horseman. But then you enter the darkened woods of the Hollow through old iron gates. As the wagon rumbles across a wooden bridge, the eerie sounds begin. Hoofbeats meld with the sounds of shrieks, and the rest, well, you have to experience the frightening ride to realize why those precautions are given. You’ll have chance to relax before the ride; however, as on both nights of the ride, October 23 and 24, there is a free blockparty on Beekman Avenue, where there is live music, kid’s activities and vendors. You’re invited back to the party, as well, after the hayride, when you may require a little unwinding to be sure your head is intact.
Jay Ghoul’s House of Curiosities
You’ll have a chance to meet up this month with a few characters whom you’ve heard of before, but never had the pleasure to meet, at the Disenchanted Castle. The “Castle” is actually the first floor and basement of the Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown. Adorned with all new decorations and theme this year, the Castle is where you will be introduced to personalities such as Dracula, Maleficent, Henry VII, the Hogwarts Wizards and the Wicked Witch. That cast will escort you through the gothic castle at night, entertaining guests with performances throughout the tour. Adults and teens will derive the most from the tour, but younger children “…can also participate as the performance is appropriate for all ages,” according to the Lyndhurst hosts. Performances begin October 16 and continue on ten select dates.
Tarrytown Halloween Parade
The month’s big, exciting holiday really comes alive a week before its date on the calendar as Tarrytown’s Halloween Parade takes place on Saturday, October 24. Bands, folks in costumes, floats and more, assemble at Patriot’s Park at 6 p.m. to begin the march along South Broadway when they turn down Main St. to pass the viewing stand and hundreds of bystanders along the route. The parade takes on a carnival atmosphere as it approaches Washington Street where, when the parade ends, the block party begins. A DJ, and live performances keep the place bouncing.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery guided tours
A tour of this 85-acre cemetery whose grounds include the graves of notables such as Washington Irving, Andrew Carnegie and William Rockfeller, is a walk back into history. Daytime and lantern-lit evening guided tours are regularly available, but a popular Halloween season tour is one labeled “Murder and Mayhem,” which the cemetery describes as “…showcasing some of the cemetery’s more colorful characters, victims and perpetrators alike.” (“Not suitable for children.”)
Irvington Halloween Parade
Irvington Kicks off its Halloween Parade on October 31st at Immaculate Conception Church beginning at 3:15 p.m. Keeping with tradition, participating children and perhaps adults, will receive goodie bags at the end of the route, at the Main Street