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October Thrills, Chills, and Spooky Fun!

The weather has begun to turn chilly, which means it’s time to start turning your attention to the spooky side of things. There is nothing more exciting than bundling up in a nice cozy sweater, grabbing a mug of hot apple cider, and jumping on a haunted hayride with a group of friends (or family!). In Upstate New York, it’s easy to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and find something spooky to enjoy – no matter what your age.

If you are traveling with kids, I would recommend checking out Bristol Mountain’s Scaerial Adventures, a ropes course that gets a frightening twist in October. In the evenings starting at 6:30pm, the courses transform into three spooky (not scary) adventure courses and two “Sc-aerial” courses that invite you to explore eerie bridges and haunted zip-lines in the dark of the night. Costumes are encouraged (as long as they fit under the harness) – so you never know what you might see climbing through the treetops alongside you.

Kids will also love Holiday Hollow – America’s only Halloween and Pirate-themed mini-Renaissance Fair. The fair takes place every weekend in October and has a lot for families and kids to enjoy. Spread across Holiday Hollow are attractions like the Haunted Parlor and Hook’s Hideout Dark Maze, shows like the Mad Tea Party, Talking Pumpkins or Wacky Witch Show, games, food and shopping. Tickets are $13 for those 11 and up, and $12 for those 10 and under.

The nightlife in Upstate New York also turns spooky in October. I’m a fan of Three Nights of Horror at Exit 33 at the Turning Stone Casino Resort. All the venues at the resort (Lava Nightclub, the Tin Rooster, the Gig, and more) undergo a “gruesome” transformation, and host special events like a ghastly Halloween costume contest with cash prizes, DJs and more. Lava Nightclub welcomes those 18 and older, while the other venues are 21+. Tickets are required for entry and can be purchased online.

Everyone needs to enjoy a good haunted hayride. A favorite of mine near Rochester, NY is the Haunted Hayrides of Greater Rochester. Legend says that DeFisher Farms was the site of the infamous “Harvest Night Slaughter” of 1859 – a night when over two dozen farm hands were found tortured and butchered. I don’t know what truth lies in the story – but I do know that their hayride is one of the spookiest in the area! They also have a “Screamatorium” that is included in your ticket price.

Night Terror’s Haunted Farm (Dr. Krouse’s Krouse House, Harvest Hayride, Maize Mayhem & Bezerkus Circus, and an immersive airsoft Zombie Hunt called “Zombie Attack”) and Haunted Andover (four floors of terror, torture and horrors in a haunted Victorian Mansion) are two other great choices in the area.

True haunted enthusiasts should look into exploring the Haunted History Trail of New York State, with 65 locations that have experienced spooky and unexplainable events. The trail weaves across all of New York and welcomes Canadian visitors through the Cross Border Showcase program. A few of my favorites include Dr. Best House & Medical Museum (Middleburgh, NY), Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse & Veterans Park Museum (Dunkirk, NY) and The Pillars Estate, (Albion, NY). And definitely don’t skip Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, NY. They host overnight lock-ins, psych-holds, flashlight tours and public ghost hunts all year round.

This October, grab your sweater (and your courage) and experience all the fall fun Upstate New York has to offer.