Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses

by jptanabe

Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in the Mid Hudson Valley is a truly spectacular (and scary!) Halloween attraction.

Located on Route 9W in Ulster Park, New York in the Mid Hudson Valley this is a great place for a spectacular Halloween attraction! The famous tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman took place in Sleepy Hollow, just the other side of the Hudson River. And this area has great fall foliage in October. Of course, you'll be visiting this attraction in the dark so it doesn't matter much what color the leaves are! But if you plan to stay a while, or just enjoy the drive here it's really pretty. So if you're in the Hudson Valley or visiting in October or November, and are in the mood for a really scary Halloween attraction one evening, this is the place!

The Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses is so great it was featured on The Weather Channel in their "Top Hallow Screams." It was voted America's Scariest Haunted House in the Northeast by MTV, #1 in America two consecutive years by HauntWorld Magazine, #1 by American Airlines, USA Today and more, and has been consistently named in the Top Ten Haunted Attractions by CNBC and AOL.

Image of the Headless Horseman on Etsy

Introduction to the Halloween attraction

Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses is an amazing Halloween park open from mid-September to early November every year, and it's just a few miles from where we live!

Here's a description of the attraction from the website:

"The property incorporates over forty-five acres of naturally landscaped property that includes foreboding woods, surreal ponds, fruit orchards and more. This "family oriented" attraction includes a one mile hayride, a labyrinth style corn maze, three professionally created haunted houses, four food concessions, as well as Ghoulish Gifts, Magic Moon Gifts, Scarewear, Fear Gear and Witchy Woman gift shops. Our attraction is designed and built by professionals from the lighting, costume, sound, set design, special effects, and make-up industries. Over one-hundred actors and employees are trained to provide a memorable and enjoyable evening for the entire family."

By "family oriented" it means that it's suitable for children. Well, children capable of being scared!


To keep everyone safe and happily scared (of the haunted attractions not the COVID-19) the Hayride has been replaced with a Drive-Thru Haunted Experience - The Horseman's Trail. 

The Corn Maze, Haunted Houses, and other Attractions are still operating - just follow the protocols!

New for 2022 - The Horseman's Night of the Shadows!

Headless Horseman Videos

See for yourself how scary the attractions are: See the Horseman's Trail Drive-Thru new in 2020, and the attractions from 2014 - celebrating over 20 years of scary attractions!

Horseman's Trail Drive-Thru

Headless Horseman 2014 Promo

And check out the 2018 Preview for more scary scenes!

"Family oriented" fun

They explain what they mean by "family oriented':

"Due to the nature of our attraction, this is NOT recommended for children under the age of 13.  Children 8 (or younger) will NOT be allowed on any evening walk thru, in the corn maze, or haunted houses.  Children age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult at all times."

Well, my daughter would probably have loved this place at age 5, but it was a little older before she actually visited! And just because some 8 year-olds are thrilled by this, some 12 year-olds can't handle it (as well as some of us more timid adults!). Remember that now, no emergency exits from the hayride or the corn maze - you gotta make it all the way to the end!

They do have Children's Days, when they reduce the scare level somewhat. There's a daylight hayride and a friendly storyteller to tell the scary stories! Plenty of fun activities like a walk through the corn maze, haunted gardens, country games, face painting, and entertainment make this the perfect outing for families with young children.

Children's Days - A Tiny Taste of Terrorare on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays in October,. that is October 8th and 22nd, from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm in 2022.

Quotes from www.headlesshorseman.com.

Children's Day at Headless Horseman

Who Is this Headless Horseman?

The Headless Horseman is a fictional character from the short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written by Washington Irving. The Horseman was a Hessian soldier killed in the American Revolutionary War by having his head shot off by a cannonball.

Legend has it that his ghost continues to ride at night, still searching for his head.

The Story

In Washington Irving's story, a local schoolteacher named Ichabod Crane is chased by the Headless Horseman on his way home from a harvest festival party. He rides across a bridge near the cemetery and thinks he's safe because the ghost can't follow. However, the Horseman throws his head at Ichabod Crane, knocking him off his horse, and then rides off. In the morning, Ichabod's hat is found beside a shattered pumpkin.

This is the book that my daughter has that contains the story of the Headless Horseman. Her grandparents gave it to her when she was 10, so it's suitable for children who enjoy scary stories of the slightly more literary kind!

Sleepy Hollow Movie

Starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton

This is a movie based on the legend of Sleepy Hollow, without staying true to the original Washington Irving tale.

But who cares, almost any movie by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp would be unforgettable, and this is no exception! And it does still feature the Headless Horseman.

After Halloween - A Frosty Fest!

If you enjoyed the Halloween show, or missed it, or have kids who were too young for the scary experience, the Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses team have created a Christmas spectacular - "A Frosty Fest"!

This family-friendly fun holiday light spectacular features wonderful COVID-safe winter attractions, including a drive through Frosty's Enchanted Forest, the Candy Cane Lane, the Magical Mansion, and much more!


Check out the Frosty Fest Fun on video!

Updated: 09/10/2023, jptanabe
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jptanabe on 07/15/2015

Oh that's amazing!

Janet21 on 07/14/2015

She was also a stunt double on horseback in a PBS documentary about Ichabod Crane.

Janet21 on 07/14/2015

My daughter actually was the Headless Horseman at Sleepy Hollow this past Halloween. Her riding instructor usually did this job and she rode alongside, but this year she did it. :)

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