Halloween is going to be a bit different this year. 

As Halloween nears, Americans wonder whether to trick-or-treat or to stay home



But the COVID-19 pandemic won’t stop the spooky season!

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said he has no plans to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween, some groups have decided to cancel events; others plan to go on as scheduled, taking guest safety seriously and outlining precautions on their websites.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A performance at the Bronx Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo celebration in 2018.

© Julie Larsen Maher provide by WCS
A performance at the Bronx Zoo’s annual Boo at the Zoo celebration in 2018.

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Here is our list of Halloween must-dos throughout the Hudson Valley and NYC, listed from family-friendly to a fright-filled time. 

Know of a Halloween event or must-do that’s not listed? Email nformation to reporter Heather Clark via email at [email protected]

The Drive-in Halloween Experience

Head to Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets this month and you can shop and drive-thru its Halloween experience. Each weekend will feature performances, games and movie screenings of Halloween favorites. The Halloweekends will kick-off on Oct. 16-18 with a Tim Burton theme: “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Oct. 16; “Corpse Bride,” Oct. 1;,  “Beetlejuice,”  Oct. 18. The Phantom-themed weekend will feature “Jurassic Park, Oct. 23; “Labyrinth,”  Oct. 24; “Casper,  Oct. 25. The 80s Spooks Weekend will feature “Ghostbusters,” Oct. 30;  “Poltergeist,” Oct. 31; “Gremlins”  Nov. 1. Tickets start a $100 per car, which includes the driver and three passengers. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit thedriveinexperience.com.

Boo at the Zoo

The Bronx Zoo’s annual Halloween festival  has family friendly activities throughout the zoo during October. There will be a magician who performs animal-inspired magic, a costume “maskerade” with stilt walkers and Halloween-themed puppets, pumpkin carving demos, scavenger hunts, a candy trail, a pumpkin trail and the extinct animal graveyard. Visitors are invited to dress up for Halloween. 

Visitors are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. Capacity limits are in effect and a limited amount of tickets are sold each day. Tickets are required and time slots must be reserved prior to your visit. 

Go: 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx. Dates: Thursdays through Sundays through Nov. 1 Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets: $39.95 adults age 13 and older; $34.95 for seniors age 65 and older; $29.95 for children ages 3 to 12. Boo at the Zoo is free for members. bronxzoo.com/boo-at-the-zoo

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The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

The popular autumn event at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson is back with precautions . Dates are selling out and capacity is limited so it’s best to get tickets sooner rather than later. The Blaze will run every night from Sept. 18 until Oct. 31, then Nov. 1, 6 to 8, 13 to 15, 20 and 21. New this year is a second Blaze location at Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Nassau County, Long Island. The Bethpage Blaze will run from Oct. 2 until Nov. 1. 

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, guests age 2 and older must wear masks while viewing the pumpkins and social distancing will be enforced. 

Go: 525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson. Dates: Through Oct. 31, then Nov. 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-21. Tickets: Start at $24. hudsonvalley.org/events/blaze.

a group of people sitting at a park: This is a view of the Home of the 'Legend' event at Washington Irving's Sunnyside in 2018.

© Tom Nycz
This is a view of the Home of the ‘Legend’ event at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside in 2018.

Home of the ‘Legend’

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside is welcoming visitors to explore the grounds of the author’s estate. The spooky tours will be held only on the grounds and feature a literature themed scavenger hunt. 

Capacity is limited and tickets must be purchased online in advance. Visitors must wear a mask and maintain a distance of six feet from one another. 

Go: 3 W Sunnyside Lane, Irvington. Dates:  Oct. 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30-31; Nov. 1, 6-8. Tickets: $12 for adults; $10 for seniors age 65 and older, students age 18 to 25, and children ages 3 to 17.   hudsonvalley.org/events/home-of-the-legend. 

Nightmare Circus

The family operated Nightmare Circus in Mahopac is opening for its fourth year. Full of frights, Nightmare Circus is recommended for adults and teens only. 

No onsite parking is available, as the haunted attraction is within a gated community. Those interested in visiting the Nightmare Circus can park in town at Chamber Park behind the Mahopac National Park. 

To ensure the health and safety of visitors, only one group will be permitted through the attraction at a time. Visitors are required to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing protocols. 

Go: 24 Sycamore Road, Mahopac. Dates: Oct. 30 and 31. Hours: 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets: Free, donations accepted and donated to ALS research. nightmarecircus.com.

a woman standing in front of a tree: In this file photo: An actor at Kevin McCurdy's Haunted Mansion.

© Provided by Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion
In this file photo: An actor at Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion.

Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion

Celebrating its 44th year of frightening visitors, Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion is offering an all outdoor experience this year. There will be dinosaurs, a ghost town and more scary stuff on the almost one mile trail through the Wicked  

The trail closes Oct. 31. Reservations are required and tickets must be purchased online. Visitors must wear masks at all times and will only enter the attraction with their private group. To ensure social distancing a virtual queue will be used. Food and snacks won’t be available. 

Go: Hours: Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.; Sundays 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets: Fridays and Sundays $25; Saturdays $28. thehauntedmansion.com.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Tours

The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery will be offering a limited amount of tours this fall showcasing the scenery and history of the village’s citizens.

The daytime tour, available from Monday through Friday in October from 11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m., explores “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’s” appeal as well as the Washington Irving’s impact on the world of American literature. Tickets are $15 per person.

The evening lantern tours take visitors on a trip back in time to explore the graves of famous residents of the cemetery including Irving,  Andrew Carnegie, William Rockefeller, and John Dustin Archbold. The evening tours will run on Friday and Saturday nights until Nov. 21 as well as Sunday evenings throughout October until early November. Evening tours one hour each and begin at 7, 7:30, 8:45 and 9:15 p.m. Tours throughout October have already sold out, however those in November still have tickets available. Tickets are $30 per person.

The tours will have a capacity limit and will be shorter than usual. Visitors must wear masks at all times and tickets must be purchased online in advance. No tickets will be available on site. 

Go: 430 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow. sleepyhollowcemetery.org/events/tours-and-events.

a group of people sitting around a fire: In this file photo: A scene from Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park.

© Courtesy photo
In this file photo: A scene from Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park.

Headless Horseman

Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Mansion are changing things up this year in a big way. Rather than climbing on a hayride, visitors will drive through the Horseman’s Trail. Along with the drive-thru haunting, Headless Horseman will also be operating their corn maze haunt and other haunted mansion attractions as walk-thrus with safety precautions in place. 

On Saturday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Headless Horseman will host its Children’s Days where the attraction dials down the scares and offers a daytime drive thru experience filled with family friendly characters. Families can also walk through the Magic Moon Maze and haunted gardens. 

All visitors must wear a face covering and maintain social distance. A capacity limit has also been put in place and tickets must be purchased online in advance. Visitors will only go through the haunted attractions with their respective groups, no strangers. 

The first night of operation is Friday, Oct. 2. and the haunted attraction will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout October until Saturday, Oct. 31. Headless Horseman will be closed on Sunday, Oct. 4.  

Go: 778 Broadway, Route 9W, Ulster Park. Hours: Timed tickets allow for entry every 15 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. Tickets: Oct. 2, 3, 9, 11, 16, 18 and 25 $39.95 per person; Oct. 10, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31 $47.95 per person; Children’s Days Oct. 10 and 24 $11.95 per person. headlesshorseman.com.

Pure Terror Screampark

Winner of the 2015 Guinness World Record for longest overall haunted attraction, Pure Terror offers ten differently themed walk-through haunted houses. 

Attraction theming this year includes “Camp Killmore,” “Nightmare Factory,” “Legends of Horror,” “Terror Under the Big Top,” “Resurection Cemetery,” “Evil Harvest,” “The Crypt,” “The Coven,” “Pure Darkness,” and “Desecration.” 

Tickets must be purchased online in advance. No tickets will be available for purchase at the attraction. Tickets are limited and timed for each night. VIP tickets and a general admission group discount are available. 

Go: 1010 State Route 17M, Monroe. Dates: Oct. 2-4; 9-11; 16-18; 22-25; 29-31; Nov. 1. Hours: Thursday and Sunday 7 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday 7 to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets: $54.75 for on peak dates; $49.75 for off-peak dates. 845-391-0071; pureterror.com.

Bane Haunted House

Bane, which  moved to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City last year, is nervous but excited to be the largest attraction to open in Manhattan since the start of the pandemic, owner Jennifer Condron said.

While Bane has made logistical modifications — their queue will now be outdoors, they’ve installed two to three hand-sanitizing stations on each of their four floors — the biggest shift will be in customer interaction.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, guests must wear face masks at all times, practice social distancing and only walk with members of their own family or group, with only four people allowed in at a time.

Go: 618 W 46th St., New York. Dates: Admission: Hours vary depending on the date, so head to banehauntedhouse.com for more information. 

Heather Clark covers business openings and closings throughout Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. Keep up on the latest comings and goings by joining our Facebook group at What’s going there Westchester, Rockland, Putnam. Contact Clark via email, [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Halloween 2020: Drive-thru event at Woodbury Commons, cemetery tours, more

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