Going Places: Favorite Halloween Happenings

Going Places: Favorite Halloween Happenings
Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze on the grounds of Old Bethpage, recreates Long Island heritage and history in pumpkins, like the Montauk lighthouse © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

From Sleepy Hollow to Old Bethpage to Greenwich Village, our area features some of the best Halloween happenings outside of Salem. Here’s where to enjoy the spirits of the season:

Long Island’s Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze on the grounds of Old Bethpage, recreates Long Island heritage and history in pumpkins, like the Montauk lighthouse © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Old Bethpage Village Restoration, the 209-acre living museum village in Nassau County, is once again the home of “The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze”. Stroll the pumpkin trail passed 19th-century buildings and through historic barns, and become immersed in a fall wonderland with more than 7,000 hand-carved jack o’lanterns, the atmosphere enhanced with an all-original soundtrack, synchronized lighting, and special effects. This family-friendly event, themed for Long Island’s history and heritage, is a delight for all ages.

New this year: a giant pumpkin-octopus; a  gourd-geous mythical Montauk mermaid; Minions-like, friendly Pumpkin Pals; giant 100+ pound carved Prizewinner pumpkins;  LIVE pumpkin carving every night.

Also: Browse the Hall of Fame, gaze in wonder at the Pumpkin Planterium, and find your favorite classic Hollywood monster. Enjoy Café Blaze for cider donuts and pumpkin beer; shop the Blaze Boo-tique for souvenirs and local delights.

Proceeds support the education and preservation efforts of Old Bethpage Village Restoration and Historic Hudson Valley. (https://pumpkinblaze.org/blaze-long-island.html#calendar)

Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Rd, Old Bethpage, NY 11804, https://pumpkinblaze.org/blaze-long-island.html

The Original Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, Van Cortlandt Manor

Meander through an 18th-century landscape and discover a breathtaking display of more than 7,000 illuminated jack o’ lanterns, including the Headless Horseman himself, at Van Cortlandt Manor, for the original Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

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 Van Cortlandt Manor’s team of artisans – complete with synchronized lighting and original soundtrack. New for 2023: a twirling pumpkin Ferris wheel and a gourd-eous circus sideshow!

All proceeds from Blaze and Historic Hudson Valley’s other Halloween events support the programs of Historic Hudson Valley, a non-profit education organization.

Select nights through November19 (See Blaze: Hudson Valley Calendar)

Van Cortlandt Manor, 525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520, https://hudsonvalley.org/events/blaze/

Magic, Spirits of Sleepy Hollow at Philipsburg Manor

Among the spirits conjured by master illusionists Mark Clearview and Nick Wallace at historic Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, you may well see the Headless Horseman himself © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Join master illusionists Mark Clearview and Nick Wallace  as they journey into the realm of the unknown at this spooky supernatural spectacle at historic Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow. Their tricks and conjurings will leave you spellbound as they communicate with the spirits of Sleepy Hollow Country, like Hulda, Major Andre, and the Headless Horseman himself. Once thought long departed, these spirits materialize in this all original new event. Limited seating available. Select dates through Oct. 29. Fridays + Saturdays (+ Thursday Oct 19), 6, 7:30, 9 pm; Sundays 5:30, 7, 8:30 pm. Tickets starting at $65.

Philipsburg Manor, 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY, 914-366-6900, https://hudsonvalley.org/events/the-spirits-of-sleepy-hollow-country/

Irving’s ‘Legend’, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

At Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, master storyteller Jonathan Kruk casts a spell with dramatic performances of the classic tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Irving’s ‘Legend’ returns reimagined this fall to Sunnyside, Tarrytown. Performed outdoors under the stars at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside mansion, master storyteller Jonathan Kruk casts 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.) 

Select dates through Oct 31. Performances Fridays-Sundays + October 30 and Halloween. Advance tickets are required. No tickets will be sold on site.

Sunnyside, 3 W Sunnyside Lane, Irvington, NY 10533, https://hudsonvalley.org/events/irvings-legend/

Family-Friendly “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

At this family-friendly happening, visitors can tour Washington Irving’s home of “The Legend,” Sunnyside in Sleepy Hollow —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.

Select dates through Nov 12, Fridays – Sundays + October 30 and Halloween. Advance tickets required.

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, 3 W Sunnyside Lane, Irvington, NY 10533, 914-366-6900, [email protected], https://hudsonvalley.org/events/home-of-the-legend/

‘Boo at the Zoo’ at Bronx Zoo 

Boo at the Zoo” returns to the Bronx Zoo, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. This New York tradition allows families to enjoy Halloween festivities and see animals from all over the world. Boo at the Zoo joins the festive fall lineup at the Bronx Zoo, which also includes the all-new Pumpkin Nights which takes place Thursdays – Sundays, to Oct. 29.

Boo at the Zoo, the fun family-friendly experience includes exhibits and traditional favorites throughout the park including the popular professional pumpkin carving demonstrations and displays; magic and mind reading shows; and the spooky extinct animal graveyard. Animal-themed costumed stilt walkers and Halloween animal puppets will headline the costume parade each day on Astor Court and the Wildlife Theater will perform each day in Asia Plaza. 

New this year

  • Bones Tells Us Stories: Animal Skeleton exhibit: Discover the fascinating features of skeletons from a collection of animal species you might see in the zoo at Grizzly Corner from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Spooky stories to tickle your spine:Listen to folktales from around the world featuring animals that you can see here in the zoo at Giraffe Corner at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. 

Returning favorites

  • Costume parade:Visitors are encouraged to join in on the fun and dress up or partake in Halloween crafts ahead of joining stilt walkers and Halloween-themed puppets for photo ops and a stroll through Astor Court at 12 p.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m., weather permitting
  • Halloween crafts: Decorate your own jack-o’-lantern mask at Giraffe Corner from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Magic and mind reading: Fan-favorite magician returns with an animal-inspired magic and mind reading show at Giraffe Corner at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.
  • Pumpkin carving:Watch as expert artists create giant animals and intricate scenes out of pumpkins at Dancing Crane Plaza from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (speed carving at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.)
  • Wildlife theater:Join the witch and all her creepy crawly friends for this funny, short musical for the whole family at Asia Plaza Theater at 10:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:15 p.m., and 4 p.m.
  • Boo playground:Enjoy Halloween-themed lawn games at Astor Court from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Endangered species graveyard:Stop by the eerie graveyard of animal species that are no longer with us and learn how to prevent extinctions from happening in the future at Astor Court from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Pumpkin trail:Walk among hundreds of expertly carved pumpkins at the Butterfly Patio from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Trick-or-truth trail:Follow the trail to learn about some so-called “spooky” animals and bust some creepy myths at Rhino Trail from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Boo at the Zoo participants can spend the day surrounded by 265 acres of fall foliage and encounter more than 10,000 animals from all around the world while visiting the many Halloween-themed exhibits in nearly every corner of the zoo.

WCS member reservations and Bronx Zoo admission tickets include access to Boo at the Zoo activities. Tickets must be obtained in advance:

Tickets for Boo at the Zoo can be purchased here: https://bit.ly/3y1pnbx

Tickets for Pumpkin Nights can be purchased here: https://bit.ly/47aOetv

Boo at the Zoo, Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, BronxZoo.com.

RISE of the Jack o’Lanterns Celebrates 10th Anniversary

RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns, featuring what it claims is the world’s longest Jack O’Lantern Trail, is celebrating its 10th season with 10,000 illuminated objects on the trail for the first time. This includes 7,000 hand-carved jack o’lanterns and 3,000 new specialty lights and hand-made Halloween-themed lanterns designed and arranged by its team of local artists.

The event is in its new Long Island venue at Usdan Summer camp for the Arts.

In addition to the fan-favorite classics, there are 70 new  multi-jack o’lantern displays.

Also new this year, photo-ops on-trail and dozens of fun videos rolling all around the trail, with a few more surprises as well. Come see how we light up the night woods like you’ve never before!

A portion of the proceeds from this event support scholarships and programs at the host venue, Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts.

Tickets are not sold at the door. All tickets must be purchased in advance online.

There are an additional 9 nights scheduled in 2023 in anticipation of the increased visitation to celebrate the 10th anniversary. Dates through October and Nov 4-6.

RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns, at Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts, 185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights, NY 11798, https://www.jackolanterns.com/

Spooky Fest, Rockville Centre

The Center for Science Teaching and Learning (CSTL) celebrates Halloween with Spooky Fest at the Tanglewood Preserve in Rockville Centre (rain or shine).

The $22 admission includes non-scary attractions: Enchanted Walk for young children features friendly displays and characters, such as cute dinosaurs, aliens, Cinderella and good witches; Kids Arts and Crafts area; Face Painting;  Fortune Telling; Glow Tent; and Halloween DJ

The $27 admission includes everything the Non-Scary ticket has plus the Dino Woods with  Zombie Robotic Dinosaurs and Zombie scenes but no one jumps out to scare you (a little scary).

Friday, Saturday, Sunday through October.

Center for Science Teaching & Learning, 1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre, NY 11570, 516-764-0045, [email protected], https://cstl.org/just-families/spooky-fest-rain-or-shine/

An excellent source for area Halloween events: https://www.lihauntedhouses.com/calendar/

American Airpower Museum’s Halloween Haunted Hangar Spooktacular 

Fright takes flight at American Airpower Scarepower Museum on Saturday, October 28, 2023, 2-6 p.m.  The Museum resumes its tradition of offering a child-safe place to enjoy Halloween shenanigans.  Flap your bat wings to the Museum and go trick or treating in our Haunted Hangar!  Costumed staff will hand out treats as children go door to door in the safety of Hangar 3.  Mingle with ghosts, goblins, ghouls, skeletons, vampires and witches inside our spooky home, decorated and creatively transformed into a horror house with dry ice fog, spider webs, flying bats and new frights at every turn.

Tour the Haunted Bomber and then enter the Museum’s Maze of Horrors!  Have your picture taken next to the Ghost Fighter, then climb aboard the Tram of Terror for a ride around Hangar 3.

There are also crafts, games with prizes.  Children can compete in a Costume Contest for ages one through 16!  Adults are encouraged to dress up too, to add to the festive atmosphere.  Prizes will be awarded for the best original and creative costumes, courtesy of Cockpit USA.  Lots of Halloween music, like John Zacherley’s “Monster Mash,” for those old ghouls who like to dance!

Regular admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and veterans, $10 for kids 5 to 12; free admission for kids under 5 and active military.  Contributions support AAM’s mission to honor veterans and U.S. aviation history, by preserving the aircraft and their legacy for future generations.  Help “Keep ‘Em Flying!”

The American Airpower Museum, Hangar 3, 1230 New Highway, Farmingdale, NY 11735, 631-293-6398, [email protected]www.americanairpowermuseum.org.  

NYC Village Halloween Parade Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Village Halloween Parade in New York City is celebrating its 50th anniversary with this year’s theme, UPSIDE/DOWN © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Village Halloween Parade, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is themed UPSIDE/DOWN, reflecting the tumult of the last few years, and inviting self-reflection.

“The Halloween Parade has always been a night of transformation, but this topsy turvy year feels even more-so in terms of realizing a dream, being who you are most authentically in your imagination,” says Jeanne Fleming, Artistic and Producing Director.

Started by Greenwich Village mask maker and puppeteer Ralph Lee in 1973, the Parade began as a walk from house to house in his neighborhood for his children and their friends.

After the second year of this local promenade, Theater for the New City stepped in and produced the event on a larger scale as part of their City in the Streets program.

Today the Parade is the largest celebration of its kind in the world and has been picked by Festivals International as “The Best Event in the World” for October 31.

Now, 50 years later, the Parade draws more than 70,000 costumed participants and some 2 million spectators, including television-viewing audience, live on NY1 beginning at 8 pm.

In 1994, the Mayor of the City of New York issued a Proclamation honoring the Village Halloween Parade for 20 years of bringing everyone in the City together in a joyful and creative way and being a boon to the economic life of the City. “New York is the world’s capital of creativity and entertainment. The Village Halloween Parade presents the single greatest opportunity for all New Yorkers to exhibit their creativity in an event that is one-of-a-kind, unique and memorable every year. New Yorkers of all ages love Halloween, and this delightful event enables them to enjoy it every year and join in with their own special contributions. The Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village is a true cultural treasure.”

Join hundreds of puppets, 50 bands representing music from around the world, dancers, artists, and thousands of other New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation in the nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event in the greatest city in the world!

Kicks off at 7 pm from Canal St. and 6th Avenue and goes up 6th Avenue to 15th Street on 6th Avenue.

New York’s Village Halloween Parade, [email protected], www.halloween-nyc.com

Mazatlan is Place to Go to Celebrate Day of the Dead

Mazatlan, Mexico goes all-out in celebrating the Day of the Dead © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Instead of Halloween, Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd. The Day of the Dead, one of Mexico’s most important festivals, is a marvel with an atmosphere full of colors, beautiful stories, memorabilia, delicious traditional foods, music, singing and dancing. While the holiday of the Day of the Dead is celebrated all throughout Mexico, the festivities in Mazatlán are particularly exciting for travelers. Here’s why:   

Plaza Machado, located in the middle of the Historic District, is the center of activities over the two-day celebration. The plaza is decorated each year based on that year’s theme for the Day of the Dead. This year’s theme will be “Leyendas del Arte” or “Art Legends”. The purpose of the theme is to honor the memory of fundamental figures in the development of art and culture in Mazatlán through different expressions of art.

On November 1, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Art will pay posthumous tribute to famous artists native to Mazatlan with the following activities:

The Ministry will have guided tours that will take visitors through the interior of the Municipal Arts Center and the Ángela Peralta Theater. The two buildings will have various art installations, including photo galleries, dance performances, literature readings, and more. All of the art displayed will belong to Mazatlan artists.

Visitors will also be able to pay their respects at the various traditionally decorated altars throughout the Museum of Arts, La Casa de Caracol Bookstore, Mazatlan Film & Theatre, CICMA (Mazatlan Innovation Cultural Center), Casa de Leyendas, La Molcajeteria Restaurant, and Pedro and Lola Restaurant.

The exhibitions will open on November 1, 2023, starting at 7:00 p.m.- tickets are free but required.

The celebrations will continue on the streets of the city. The Historic District transports you into a scene from the Disney movie “Coco,” with its main streets covered in colorful decor and lined with altars that the people of Mazatlán created to honor their ancestors.

The most significant event of the holiday is the Day of the Dead Parade, otherwise known as the Callejoneada. The parade will consist of spectacular floats, dancers, fireworks, music, traditional clothing, and Mexican symbolism at every corner. It will take place on November 1, 2023, at 8 p.m. (although it usually starts late) – through the streets of the Historic District.

Visitors can easily access the different stages that will be set up within walking distance on various avenues and streets of the Historic District.

Everyone wears skeleton masks or intricate face paint, adding to the welcoming spirit and making participating in the event even more exciting.

Tourists are made to feel more than welcome at the celebrations. Locals are often excited to share the background b and significance behind their altars. They will carefully explain to tourists why they chose specific details and decorations. Some travelers will even find themselves toasting with locals in honor of their ancestors.

More information at [email protected], gomazatlan.org and go-mexico.com.


© 2023 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com, 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 [email protected]. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/KarenBRubin 


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