Love Halloween? These are the best scary attractions near NYC where you’ll run zombies, wander the haunted woods and scream on thrill rides.
Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
For the most spectacular pumpkin display, head out to Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, where some 7,000 gourds have been carved into a spectacular glowing garden of towering sculptures. There are topical pop culture references, a new medieval castle to go with the always awe-inspiring dragon, a fully functional pumpkin carousel and New York City icons like the Statue of Liberty. Oct. 4-31, Nov. 1-4, 7-11, 15-17, 23-24, 525 S. Riverside Ave., hudsonvalley.org
This Is Real: Horror Stories
The escape room experience of the season, This Is Real, is back, this time in upstate New York. If you went to their terrifying kidnapping experience in Red Hook last year, you know why we say only the strong will survive this experience (oh, and you also have to be at least 18). Groups of five enter, and you’ll all be blindfolded the entire time — how many will emerge? Oct. 18-Nov. 4, Cold Spring, New York, thisisreal.nyc
Field of Terror Haunted Farm
All the Walking Dead you’ve been watching has been to prepare you for the Zombie Mud Run, a mad dash across obstacles like climbing in and out of open graves, slogging through mud pits and avoiding zombies trying to eat your organs (or, in this case, steal the flags from your belt). The course is part of the Field of Terror Haunted Farm, which has family-friendly hay rides and other fall activities during the day but shifts to haunted houses and a Circus of Terror paintball course at night. Oct. 27. 831 Windsor Perrineville Rd., East Windsor, New Jersey, fieldofterror.com
No one is sleeping in Sleepy Hollow through October, the real town that’s literally legendary for being haunted by the Headless Horseman. That means there’s Halloween fun and activities on every street. Don’t miss Philipsburg Manor, an 18th-century farm village that transforms into the Horseman’s Hollow for October where you’ll walk among some twisted characters on your way to Ichabod’s Schoolhouse, a maze only the bravest will survive. For on-theme but less intense scares, the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery offers several themed lantern tours like An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe.
There’s nothing like a place of fun and innocence turning into a place of fear and evil. Dorney Park in Pennsylvania (about 2.5 hours by bus from the Port Authority) becomes a whole new theme park with seven scary mazes, three outdoor scare zones, three shows including the new circus-style Jolly Roger, plus a new glowing pumpkin garden, all the rides and special events like the Fright Feast. 4000 Dorney Park Rd., Allentown, Pennsylvania, dorneypark.com
Shut down in 1952 after mysterious disappearances, the Brighton Asylum has reopened — and they’ve got a straightjacket fitted just for you. This massive themed haunted house is ranked among the best in the country and might just make you lose your mind with dark rooms filled with terrifying actors and Hollywood-quality special effects. After undergoing two years of extensive renovations, the scares are more intense, the sets more elaborate, and your sanity more compromised. Through Nov. 3, 2 Brighton Ave., Passaic, New Jersey, brightonasylum.com
The Haunt at Rocky Ledge
Walking into the woods at night is scary any time of year, but this is October so you know the trees along the Haunt at Rocky Ledge hold not only spiderwebs but genuinely scary creatures. If you can stomach a 40-minute walk through the woods while occasionally being chased by chainsaw-wielding maniacs, guided by the light of jack-o-lanterns and hoping not to awaken one of the damned zombies haunting the woods, you’re made of tougher stuff than us. And if you need more scares there are also two haunted houses and a corn maze. Oct. 19-28 (Fri-Sun nights), about an hour north of Grand Central by bus, 1402 Old Orchard St., North White Plains, New York, hauntatrockyledge.com
Washington Irving’s Home
The stone cottage of Washington Irving, author of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, was built in the 1830s and is charming by day but totally spooky by night. During the Halloween season, you can take part in hair-raising tours of the home and grounds, hear how the Victorians were mad for vampires and séances, and how the Sleepy Hollow legend has endured through pop culture. Activities include eerie photo ops, historic games, a shadow puppet performance and Halloween arts & crafts. Weekends through Oct. 28, 3 W. Sunnyside Lane, Irvington, New York, hudsonvalley.org