We’re batty for these local haunted places, oozing with creepy dolls, evil clowns, and ghastly creatures that will scare you silly
Scary faces will greet you at Horseman's Hollow
Forest of Fear, Tuxedo Park
There’s something for every demented taste at this morbid mecca, which recently ranked in the Top 31 Must-See Haunts list from The Scare Factor. This year, they’ll be unveiling the CarniEVIL of the Damned, featuring every child’s biggest phobia, clowns. But there are also oldies but goodies like chain-saw-toting, limb-cutting ghouls and an interactive cemetery where the dead want to shake hands.
Not recommended for children under 12. Friday-Sundays Oct 7 - 30, $20-$30 per person
Fright Nights at Pierson’s Farm, Middletown
The authentic setting—a natural beef farm with a real barn— plus the alarmingly realistic corpses and carnage make this attraction terrifying. After touring the tableaux in the barn, explore the corn maze and the round hay bale mazes, as well as a spectral cemetery. Proceeds go to local charity.
Ages 14 and up. Oct 8, 15, 22, 28, 29, $17 per person
Goblins Hollow/TerrorDome, Newburgh
You might have noticed this spot on your travels across I-84 and wondered, “What the...?” Yes, it’s just what it looks like: a place where evil mayhem rules. There are two attractions this year, each with a separate admission: Goblins Hollow gives you your chainsaw fix, scary woods, and a hair-raising hospital. TerrorDome is actually a trio of haunted houses, including one where creepy dolls rule (our favorite)!
Ages 12 and up. Weekends from Sept 30 - Oct 30, $18.95 per person
Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses, Ulster Park
This place just keeps raking in the kudos: Named one the top 10 haunted houses in America by Yahoo! and world’s best haunted screampark by AOL News, not to mention receiving top rankings from Haunt World Magazine, MTV, and The Weather Channel, this local gem boasts a 65-acre scream campus, which includes six haunted houses and a hayride. It is staffed by more than 350 performers and crew members, including horror film makeup artists. You’ll need to allow at least two and a half hours to explore all the attractions, including a circus-style sideshow with illusionists performing nightly. Small fry can enjoy a “tiny taste of terror” on Children’s Day, Oct 8 and 22, when the monsters are friendly. Also worth exploring: The Great Room Escape, an interactive experience for up to 12 people who must solve clues to escape in one hour’s time.
Recommended for ages 13 and up. Sept 17 - Nov 5, $39.95 per person (should be purchased in advance)
Haunted Fortress, Stanfordville
Macabre and mysterious, as opposed to gory and gruesome, this is one haunted happening where it’s okay to take the kids. Scary skits and spooky surprises have been drawing visitors since the 1990s, when the late artist Peter Wing dreamed it up under its former name, Frankenstein’s Fortress. Four years ago, metal fabricator Antonio Ingenito took the reins, revitalizing the mix with dozens of costumed characters and eerie effects. On October 30, there will also be a daytime walk-through for scaredy cats and curiosity seekers who want to go behind the scenes. A Halloween parade is also in the works; check the website for updates. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund for local graduating students pursuing creative careers.
Friday through Sunday from Oct 7- 30, $12 adults; $5 kids (10 and under)
The Barn of Terror, Lake Katrine
Every year, there’s a new fear to face at this eerie eight-room barn, rife with dark hallways—not to mention a spooky silo. Last year, visitors met Farmer Kobbe (aka The Corn Master) and learned of his dastardly deeds. This year, his evil wife and children join him for an unforgettable evening on the farm. After your visit to the barn, take a bus ride down to the corn maze to meet some freaky crop people. A scary movie will entertain you while you wait for the bus.
Ages 13 and up. Weekends, Sept 30 - Oct 30, $33 per person
Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion, Poughkeepsie
This classic attraction in Dutchess County’s Bowdoin Park celebrates its 40th anniversary “scare-a-bration” and will feature cameo performances by entertainment industry folks who have worked here over the years. Expect an eerie scarecrow tale, the nerve-jangling Fright Trail, and “lost rooms” filled with creepy characters on quick-change sets.
No age restrictions. Sept 30 - Oct 31, $25, with special Sunday and Kids’ Day (Oct 10) pricing
Pure Terror Scream Park, Monroe
Blood and guts? Check. Nightmarish imagery? Yep. Claustrophic corridors? Sure thing. Every fall, a quaint 19th century historic museum village transforms into a malignant madhouse that includes an on-foot odyssey down wooded paths and through sinister buildings. In fact, this is such an intense experience that the Guinness World Record people have proclaimed it the longest walk-through horror attraction, measuring about 1.2 miles.
Ages 12 and up. Sept 24 - Oct 30, $45 per person
Horseman’s Hollow, Sleepy Hollow
Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow inspires this popular event at Philipsburg Manor. On weekends beginning Oct. 7 and running straight through Halloween, imagined scenes from the classic tale take terrifying shape along a haunted trail populated by the undead, leading ultimately to the Horseman’s private lair. Extreme makeup and breathtaking costumes by industry professionals make this a first-rate theatrical outing.
Recommended for ages 10 and up. Oct 7 - 31, $20-$25 (must be purchased in advance); $15 fast-track upgrade