Halloween Happenings 2022

The Headless Horseman rides from Sleepy Hollow to Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Long Island, for The Great Jack o’ Lantern Pumpkin Blaze © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

How lucky are we on Long Island that Historic Hudson Valley has brought its enormously popular “The Great Jack o’ Lantern Pumpkin Blaze” extravaganza to Long Island to our most fabulous living history destination, Old Bethpage Restoration Village, for the second year! They have brought the extraordinary artistry, charm and delight, and kept the Sleepy Hollow and Headless Horseman, but they have tailored it around Long Island’s history and heritage and amazingly, the notes they provide at each of the exhibits are utterly fascinating.

The historic Hewlett House, which some have said is haunted, is a great backdrop for The Great Jack o’ Lantern Pumpkin Blaze at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Did you know that “Jaws” was inspired by the capture of a 4500 lb white shark off Long Island? And of course, there’s the Amityville Horror (an Old Bethpage house has similar architecture, so serves as a stand-in). The cemetery is peopled by the Hewlett family, outside their actual house, which is said (actually) to be haunted. The scarecrows that are around the barn and the barn animals are all made of pumpkins, as are the skeletons, ghosts.

Long Island’s iconic Montauk lighthouse and seashore is depicted with artistically crafted pumpkins and sound and light effects at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

You walk the pumpkin trail through this 19th century village and see more than 7,000 hand-carved jack o’lanterns, all carved by its team of artisans, each one unique. Find your favorite legendary local icon in our Hall of Fame, gaze in wonder at the Pumpkin Planetarium, see larger-than-life sea creatures and watch your head as an animated Headless Horseman rides into the night.

The circus train at The Great Jack o’ Lantern Pumpkin Blaze at Old Bethpage commemorates the 1972 arrival of the Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey circus to the newly opened Nassau Veterans Coliseum © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The structures – all built with carved and lighted pumpkins – are absolutely incredible – a tall pendulum clock, a windmill, a Statue of Liberty, a lighthouse with a working light (Montauk is Long Island’s most famous), an 80-foot long circus train (the LIRR!) with animal skeletons as passengers, a working carousel with horse skeletons.

An actual working carousel of pumpkins with horse skeletons revolving is one of the stunning exhibits at The Great Jack o’ Lantern Pumpkin Blaze at Old Bethpage Village Restoration © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The mood is enhanced by an all-original soundtrack and synchronized lighting and smoke effects.

The ticket sales help support Old Bethpage Village Restoration and Historic Hudson Valley.

Select nights September 30 through November 6 at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. Timed ticket entry only, https://pumpkinblaze.org/blaze-long-island.html. Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, New York, 11804, oldbethpagevillagerestoration@nassaucountyny.gov, 516-572-8409, https://www.oldbethpagevillagerestoration.org/

You will absolutely want more, so you can visit Historic Hudson Valley’s other iconic fall events:

Blaze: The Hudson Valley’s most electrifying fall happening: Meander through an 18th-century landscape and discover a breathtaking display of more than 7,000 illuminated jack o’ lanterns—all designed and hand-carved on site by its team of artisans. New for 2022, watch our animated “Jack” Smith Shop in action and keep an eye out for glowing bees. Complete with synchronized lighting and an original soundtrack. Select nights, September 16 – November 20. Advance timed-tickets tickets only. No tickets sold on site. Van Cortlandt Manor, 525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.

Halloween in Historic Hudson Valley: Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, Croton-on-Hudson © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Explore “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”: At this family-friendly happening, visitors can tour Washington Irving’s house—decorated for the season—watch an original shadow puppet short film, and enjoy games on the lawn. A special exhibit highlights how the Legend has lived in the imagination of popular culture through the centuries since its publication. Fridays – Sundays, plus Columbus Day + Halloween, September 16-November 13. Advance tickets required. No tickets will be sold on site. Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, 3 W Sunnyside Lane, Irvington, NY 10533.

Washington Irving’s Legend is performed outdoors under the stars at the author’s Sunnyside by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Irving’s ‘Legend’ returns reimagined this fall. Performed for the first time ever outdoors under the stars at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, master storyteller Jonathan Kruk will cast a spell with dramatic performances of the classic tale. Live music and an appearance from the Headless Horseman himself make this a spooky spectacular experience for all ages. This experience is outdoors and requires walking. Fridays – Sundays, plus Columbus Day + Halloween, September 30 – October 3. Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, 3 W Sunnyside Lane, Irvington, NY 10533.

Historic Hudson Valley, 639 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, NY 10591,  914-366-6900, hudsonvalley.org.

Join the Village Halloween Parade to Celebrate Freedom!

New York’s famed 49th Annual Village Halloween Parade takes place on Monday, October 31. The 2022 Parade Theme is FREEDOM! “It’s a move! It’s a moment! Feel it!!! Join us in some ecstatic joy! Lift the spirits!” The Grand Marshal for 2022 is The Brooklyn United Marching Band with special surprise guests who will play Jon Batiste’s song Freedom! where you can join in.

You can join a Special Section of the Parade and dance along with The Brooklyn United Marching Band as they play Freedom! along the route or just join in the open participation part of the parade.

“We are encouraging glittery costumes, your best dance moves and anything that allows you to feel light, joyful, free and colorful! We’re gonna lift the spirits of the whole world!” says Jeanne Fleming, Artistic and Producing Director. “However you do it, feel the joy and freedom of expression in one of New York’s most iconic and wildly creative events!

New York City’s famed Annual Village Halloween Parade is themed “Freedom!” for 2022 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Only those in costume and masks are welcome to join the hundreds of puppets, 53 bands, dancers and artists, and thousands New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation in NYC’s special brand of Carnivale! 

The parade – the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration – starts at Greenwich Village, on 6th Avenue between Spring and 16th Street at 7 pm and goes up 6th Avenue to about 26th Street.

Tickets are available, for preferred viewing, riding on a float, riding in the parade in your own pedicab, even leading the parade with the Artistic Director which helps support the parade: https://halloween-nyc.com/tickets/

Further afield:

Haunted Happenings in Salem

Salem Haunted Happenings is a festive celebration of Halloween and fall in New England running annually, October 1-31. Events include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Family Film Nights, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations.

Salem Haunted Happenings Festival has been happening since 1982, and steadily grown over the years. Today, members of the modern Pagan and Witch communities have a home in Salem, where Samhain is celebrated each October recognizing the end of the harvest season and the coming of winter. The City’s modern witches have the opportunity to share their beliefs and celebrations with both locals and out of town guests who come to celebrate the Halloween season in Salem.

Classic experiences include:

Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop, Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, daily thru October. The year is 1692. Bridget Bishop has been accused of witchcraft and you are on the Puritan jury. Hear the historical testimonies, cross-examine the witnesses and decide the verdict. Is Bridget Bishop capable of witchcraft? The outdoor arrest scene begins approximately 15 minutes before show time.

Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts, which has Haunted Happenings all October © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables: Discover 330 years of Salem’s history as you experience the museum and collection of historic buildings. Built in 1668, this is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. The House of the Seven Gables inspired author Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his legendary novel of the same name. (House Of Seven Gables, 115 Derby St. 978-744-0991)

The Witch House, home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials of 1692. Corwin was called upon to investigate the claims of diabolical activity when a surge of witchcraft accusations arose. He served on the court which ultimately sent nineteen to the gallows. 310 1/2 Essex St. 978-744-8815.

Witch Dungeon Museum. Experience the acclaimed performance of a Witch trial adapted from the 1692 historical transcripts. Most chilling is that it is real. 16 Lynde St. 978-741-3570.

Halloween Museum: Experience Halloween through interactive and family-friendly exhibits on fortune-telling, vintage Halloween artifacts, Halloween-themed movies, costumes, Salem’s witchcraft at the Halloween Museum (open every day, reservations required).

Haunted Witch Village, Salem’s longest-running haunted house.

Maison Vampyre: Visit the only elegant and uniquely themed Vampyre House in New England! Experience psychic readings, group events and magick.

Salem Witch Museum offers two historical presentations focused on the tragic events of the Salem witch trials of 1692.

Salem Witch Trials Memorial, symbolically located behind the Old Burying Point, is a place of reflection and remembrance for visitors and descendants of those who perished.

Salem Witch Village offers a mystical journey by practicing witches, separating myths and reality of witchcraft.

Salem Witch Walk, led by true Salem Witches, let’s you discover your own magic as you’re blessed in a magic circle (11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm. Apr-Nov.)  

The Annual Psychic Fair & Witchcraft Expo: Get a true psychic reading at Salem’s largest psychic fair with gifted psychics offering tarot cards, palmistry, mediumship.

The Lost Museum (at Gallows Hill): Explore Salem’s newest, longest, largest, UNDERGROUND haunted attraction.

There are so many events, activities and attractions, you have to visit www.hauntedhappenings.org to plan.

The hotels, motels, and inns/B&Bs listed on salem.org are walking distance to Haunted Happenings events. Regional accommodations are also available in nearby towns, including Beverly, Danvers and Peabody, which border Salem. You can also stay in Boston or north of Salem on the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail line and Salem Haunted Happenings is a short (commuter) train ride away.

California

San Francisco  www.sftravel.com 

Crawloween: San Francisco Halloween Pub Crawl 2022: The San Francisco Halloween Pub Crawl is a massive celebration of the best holiday of the year. Join thousands of locals and tourists as they head from bar to bar along the pub crawl path. There will be pub crawls from October 28-31. With more than 8,000 participants, Crawloween brings together thousands of fun, costumed people to drink and dance the night away as you enjoy awesome drink specials at over 25 of the best bars in San Francisco. 

Halloween Hoopla: The Halloween Hoopla returns for its 22nd year, now featuring fun performances and activities for kids under 10 and for adults. The Hoopla grand finale is the annual Halloween Costume Parade where all kids are welcome to join in their best Halloween costumes.  

Into the Dark at the SF Mint: This interactive haunted experience is part haunted house and part theater. You will be immersed in a story that includes 4D effects, haunted mazes, and more. The actors will take you through the experience including walking, climbing steps, and breaking through the 4th wall.   

Ghost Tours in San Francisco 

Haunted SF: Ghosts, Murder and Mystery: San Francisco is a place of mystery as much as it is a place of beauty. On this tour, you will see sights where a brutal murder took place as well as several places where ghosts have been reported. You will also walk by buildings that once housed SF’s most visited brothels and learn about their secret past. This tour takes you to the dark side of San Francisco and runs most days after dark through Union Square. 

Nob Hill Vampire Tour: Walk through one of SF’s first and most famous districts, Nob Hill. Here, one will learn more about the dark events that occurred over time in places such as the Fairmont Hotel, the Pacific Union Club, Grace Cathedral, and the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel. 

Alcatraz Night Tour: A trip to San Francisco is not complete without a visit to Alcatraz and a visit to Alcatraz is better during Halloween. This former federal prison housed some of the most notorious criminals in the U.S and before that was a U.S. Military Prison. Many prisoners died on the island and now there are reports of mysterious noises and occurrences. This isn’t technically a ghost tour in San Francisco but heading over at night is the best way to get a thrilling experience. 

Tuolumne Country (www.visittuolumne.com), 2 ½ hours from San Francisco:

Tales of the Roundhouse at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park: Presented by the California State Parks, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) and the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, this thrilling tour offers its visitors a one-of-a-kind experience by boarding a nighttime steam train ride behind a historic steam locomotive while learning about railroad superstitions and hearing the real life and death tales of past railroad workers and passengers who lost their lives in ghastly accidents, gruesome train wrecks and sometimes by cold-blooded murder. 

Stories in Stone: Held every Saturday and Sunday evenings from September 23 to October 31, this tour allows visitors to learn about Columbia’s historic cemetery by living history docents carrying lanterns were they will visit 10 gravesites. The dead come to life as interpreters tell about their lives, how they died, and how they came to lie in Columbia’s cemetery. 

San Luis Obispo, CA: Located along California’s Central Coast, halfway between Los Angeles and San Franciso: Join the Ghost & True Crime Tour in San Luis Obispo and get to know more about the city’s past. Reaching into the past, 1772 to be exact, visitors will learn some of the not-so-well-known mysteries and long-forgotten tales of SLO’s early residents. Family-friendly tour options offered as well..

Redding, CA: Situated in the shadow of Mt. Shasta just below the Oregon border: The Dreams of Darkness Haunted House is one of the longest haunted attractions in America and the only professional haunted house in Redding. Open Friday and Saturday during October, this 40-minute tour of terror takes visitors on an unguided path from the ghost towns and mines of the Wild West and the bayous and swamps of the Deep South through the home of “The Clown” where the only thing to expect is the unexpected.

Redding is filled with creatures big and small, from butterflies and hummingbirds to coyotes. Join Sharon Clay, guest educator for the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, for Spooky Creatures of the Night at the Shasta Land Trust’s Daniell Beaver Banks Preserve. Under a veil of darkness, illuminated only by stars and the moon, visitors will be escorted on a guided through these creatures’ habitat where bats are aflutter, and owls keep watch on their prey. It’s an opportunity to learn about these species and the ecosystem in which they dwell.

Chattanooga, TN

You’d expect a city founded in 1839 to be filled with spirit – or make that spirits. While Chattanooga is known for producing award-winning whiskey, it’s also filled with other type of spirits from decades past. Embark on a ghost tour this Halloween (or any time of year) as the apparitions in this town rarely seem to rest.

The Read House, in the midst of its 150th anniversary celebration, is an historic and longest continuously operating hotel in the southeast and recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation. Since 1872, it has hosted everyone from Elvis Presley to Winston Churchill as well as the infamous Al Capone who stayed in Room 311. But this room isn’t as well known for the gangster’s visit as it is for a what happened beyond its threshold in 1927. Annalisa Netherly was nearly beheaded in the suite’s bathtub in 1927 after her husband allegedly caught her with another man. Throughout the years a number of guests and staff have reported paranormal activity, from unexplained noises and flickering lights to running water and shadowy figures. Furniture is moved without explanation and people who stay in the room (or tour it) have reported being scratched and touched while being alone in the room. While all the other rooms have been updated to 21st century standards, Room 311 looks as it did when Annalisa “checked out” nearly 100 years ago. The room is available to modern-day guests starting at $666 a night. Free tours are available. 

The Painted Lady Tattoo Parlor is on the site of the very first Coca Cola bottling plant (before operations were moved to Atlanta). It is believed that a nine-year-old girl haunts the space. Down the street at what is now the Tomorrow Building was a brothel. The Coca Cola executives lived in the apartments above the bottling plant. It’s believed that the little girl witnessed her mother’s murder and voices are heard saying “Mommy was squeezed on the neck by a man using his arm.” Aside from hearing a little girl’s voice, things often go flying across the room. Glass and mirrors are often shattered, too.

Ruby Falls, which offers underground tours to a spectacular waterfall, offers lantern tours coupled with ghost stories during October. As guests make their way to the waterfall past magnificent rock formations 250 feet below the earth’s surface, tales of peculiar encounters, mischievous mayhem and tragedy are told by expert guides.

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo depot is reportedly haunted. You can also stay in its train cars, which have been turned into a hotel © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Other places reportedly haunted in Chattanooga include the Chattanooga Choo Choo (former train depot) and the Hunter Museum (the home of the Coca Cola founder). Chattanooga Ghost Tours offers a number of guided outings to many of these haunted places as well as century-old cemeteries. For more information, visit the Chattanooga Tourism Co. at visitchattanooga.com.

Loudoun County, VA

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Following a massively successful UK run, Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience will make its US debut this year, beginning in Washington DC’s metropolitan area. The breathtaking light trail will be open from October 2022 for Harry Potter fans of all ages to enjoy on the estate of Morven Park in Leesburg. Inspired by the iconic Forbidden Forest and featuring creatures from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series, mesmerizing lights will transform the landscape into a magical outdoor trail. Visitors will encounter mystical creatures such as Hippogriffs, centaurs, unicorns, and Nifflers, and practice casting their very own spells. Visitors will also find a themed village at the end of the trail where they can enjoy delicious food and drink, as well as a gift shop with merchandise from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies.

End your spooky day at Zephaniah Farm Vineyard, that co-owner Bonnie Archer calls “pleasantly” haunted with over 35 confirmed spirits. The most frequent spirit is Mattie Nixon, who comes out when people who are about to get married visit the property. That happens because Mattie didn’t have a good experience with her marriage to Dr. William Casilear, a British veterinarian who murdered his farmer for letting the cows out.

Louisville, KY

Louisville’s Jack O’lantern Spectacular (Oct 4-31, 2022) has become the must-see event of the spooky season and will return for the tenth consecutive year to South Louisville’s Iroquois Park. With over 5,000 carved pumpkins illuminated as a night-time art show, this family-friendly celebration of fall is the perfect ending to a day of exploration. 

Other events include Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom (weekends in October), new for 2022, where visitors will discover more than 1,000 illuminated pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom amusement park, including towering pumpkin sculptures (some more than 12 feet high) expertly carved that light up the night with special effects and pops of color, and Boo at the Zoo (Oct. 1-2; 6-9; 13-16; 20-23; 27-30), a Louisville tradition for over 40 years, that transforms the Zoo into a living storybook, complete with favorite characters brought to life, fun music, and a safe place for trick-or-treating for kids 11 and under.

For those looking for the spookiest experience ever, Louisville offers a bunch of haunted tours, such as Louisville Ghost Tours (nightly through November) in of the most haunted neighborhoods in America, Old Louisville,the Tour of Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a defunct Tuberculosis hospital said to have seen nearly 50,000 deaths and named one of the Most Haunted Destinations in the U.S., and the tour of Hillcrest Avenue (nightly in October), fondly known as Louisville’s “Halloween Street,” where locals on Hillcrest avenue go above and beyond with their annual Halloween decorations.

During your time in Louisville, consider staying at The Seelbach Hilton Hotel, Louisville’s oldest operating hotel, opened in 1905. The most common ghost sighting at the Seelbach is that of the “Lady in Blue.” It’s rumored that in the late 1930s, a woman plunged to her death in an elevator shaft after learning that her husband was killed on his way to the hotel. She was said to be wearing a long blue chiffon dress and had long, dark hair. More recent investigation seems to think that maybe the Lady in Blue didn’t jump down the elevator shaft, but was actually pushed, and haunts the hotel to this day to try and get the story straight.

BELIZE | www.travelbelize.org   

Chaa Creek’s “Creatures of the Night”: Everything gets a little more interesting at night, especially during Halloween. This includes adding thrill to your usual hiking experience and going for a night tour with Chaa Creek’s “Creatures of the Night” package –allowing you to explore the dark side of Belize’s jungles. Belize’s rainforest is known to be home to a wide array of creepy crawlies and night critters that will surely get you goosebumps! Join a tour with Chaa Creek’s guides as you learn and get to see Belize’s finest ocelots, howler monkeys, tarantulas, patoos, jaguarundis and many more intriguing rainforest residents. 

Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) CaveThis archaeological site is home to numerous skeletons –some of which belong to sacrificed children, whose bones are completely calcified in the cave. One of the cave’s most notable features is the skeleton of a teenage girl, also known as Tthe Crystal Maiden”, whose bones have been calcified into a crystallized appearance. If adventure and spooky history are your things, this cave exploration is definitely something that will call your attention.  

Belize Great Blue HoleWe all have different fears –one of which includes being easily spooked by what lies beneath the deep dark oceans. Lucky for you, Belize has the Great Blue Hole –probably the most beautiful yet spine-chilling spot to explore the Caribbean underwater, which is home to some interesting sea creatures and aquatic mysteries that are yet to be uncovered. Spice up your Halloween and discover a new fear, whether it be on land or underwater, Belize has every spooky adventure prepared for you! 

BARBADOS (www.visitbarbados.org)  

Christ Church Cemetery and Chase Crypt: If you’re looking for a thrilling story hidden beneath the beauty of the Caribbean, you’ve probably heard of Christ Church Cemetery and the eerie Chase Vault located in the southern parish of Christ Church. The Chase folklore began in 1812 when they found the coffins of the family members have been moved from their original locations and were scattered in the small crypt as they were opening the vault for the interment of the landowner Colonel Thomas Chase. To this day, the mystery still lives and onlookers hope that the family is now put to rest after years of thrilling stories about the vault. 

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© 2022 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin, and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Visit instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near and instagram.com/bigbackpacktraveler/ Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

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