I know I'm going to get into trouble with some of you Christmas and Thanksgiving fans, but as holidays go, for straightforward fun and sillyness, Halloween it the best American holiday. Here's why:
1. Halloween is all inclusive.
Since Halloween started out as a pagan celebration, it has no connection to any existing major religions (well OK, Wiccan). Therefore, unless your faith requires its presence in every celebration, anybody who wants to can participate in Halloween, regardless of their race, religion or gender. If you don't want to celebrate Halloween, turn off the porch light and don't answer the door. Nobody will care. Try that on Christmas Day and see what the relatives say.
2. It's all about the CANDY!
What better focus for a holiday than giving candy to children! And when it's all done and you have some left over, you can enjoy a nibble or two each day 'til it's gone.
3. It's the only time of year you can dress up silly.
Be a teapot! Be Elvis! Be a cowboy on a horse! It's up to you and your imagination. Funny hats are not only allowed, they're required. Even if you don't want to get out of your pajamas that day and feel like a grump, you're ready for Halloween! You're Scrooge!
4. It's the only time of year you can dress up sexy, funny or scary.
Break out that bustier and be a can-can dancer. Hang a rectangular piece of cardboard around your neck with red plastic beer cups stuck to it and go as Beer Pong! Wear a suit, tie and a calculator and be an IRS auditor. Now THAT'S scary!
5. It's the only time of year you can dress up your dog without appearing crazy.
6. Decorating your house doesn't have to look good (unless your home is for sale).
Thanksgiving dinner has to be beautiful. Christmas trees are beautiful. But for Halloween, get a bale of hay, a few pumpkins and a plastic gravestone in the lawn and you're good to go! Of course you can always take it further. Witches in trees. Giant spiders on the roof. Whatever you can think of. But none of it has to look beautiful! And what other holiday considers carved vegetables a legitimate decorative item?
7. No Gifts!
No agonizing over what to get Aunt Ursula this year. No wrapping, no hiding things in closets. No worries that someone will feel slighted if somebody else gets a nicer gift than they did from you. Come on! It's Snickers for everybody! And nobody re-gifts a Snickers bar.
8. Scary movies.
Everybody loves to be scared, even if its for just a little bit. At Halloween time, Hollywood cranks up the heebie-jeebies in its movie releases, and the movie networks re-run them 24/7. Pick your poision (so to speak), from Tim Burton's fright-lite animations to hard-core slasher flicks, you can pick your panic level.
9. The autumn weather.
As I mentioned earlier, I think fall is one of the nicest times of year for weather. Cool, crisp nights to snuggle under the blankets. Fresh, dry days kicking through the leaves on the sidewalk. And if it's Halloween and there's a thunderstorm, BONUS!
10. When it's over, the next holiday is Thanksgiving!
Maybe my second favorite holiday, Thanksgiving is a delicious, endearing family celebration that's all about being grateful. What could be better? The food, the football, that feeling of blissful fullness, Thanksgiving has it all. Maybe we'll talk about THAT in the November newsletter.
Happy Halloween all, and enjoy. Boo!
Hudson Valley Halloween Parades and Events
Nyack Halloween Parade
Oct. 27, 2010
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
4 p.m. to register to win a prize for Best Costume
More than 15,000 people will gather in Nyack to witness the largest Halloween Parade outside of Manhattan. Ghosts and Goblins Galore to send shivers up your teeth and rattles down your spine! Step off is 5:30pm. The Parade is free to the public. For more information visit www.nyackchamber.org
Nyack Center Monster Mash
Oct. 23, 2010, rain date Oct. 24
Saturday, 5:30 - 10 p.m.
Adults, kids and families come after the Nyack Halloween Parade to a great and ghoulish place to eat up, boogie and take part in activities!
Live Music by Danna Banana. Entry is Free.
Corner of Broadway and Depew in Nyack. All Proceeds benefit Nyack Center programs.
For more information visit www.nyackcenter.org
Suffern Halloween Parade
Oct. 24, 2010
Sunday, 2 p.m.
The Village of Suffern Halloween Parade will depart the corner of Orange and Lafayette Avenues, and continuing to Avon Park for costume judging and refreshments.
In case of rain, the parade will be cancelled and the costume judging will take place at 2 p.m., inside the community center.
For more information visit www.suffernvillage.com
Daily 10:30am – 3:30pm. Visit 600 scarecrows representing famous artists and historical figures created by local elementary and intermediate students. Participate in a Scavenger Hunt and enter a raffle to win a family pass to the very popular Lyndhurst Boofest. $15 grounds fee for Adults; $5 for children ages 4-12.
Westchester InTown magazine quoted a reader who said “her favorite October family Halloween event was the Lyndhurst Boofest.” Join us for an interactive evening including barn dancing, a silly 19th century Mansion tour, a fortune teller, story telling witches, trick or treating and a tour of 500 scarecrows. Admission: Adults, $13; Children ages 3-12, $8; Friends of Lyndhurst, 1/2 price. Reservations required, please call Ira Stein at (914) 631-4481, ext. 43230 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Oct 15-16, 22-24, 28-30
Are you ready to be scared out of your mind?
Horseman’s Hollow, a BRAND NEW haunted experience, takes the tale of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to its darkest extremes. For eight October evenings, historic Philipsburg Manor transforms into a terrifying landscape ruled by vampires, witches, undead soldiers, ghouls, and ghosts, all serving the Headless Horseman himself!
Jonathan Kruk’s Legend
Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk offers a dramatic re-telling of Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, featuring the Headless Horseman, Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, and Katrina Van Tassel. Flavored with live spooky organ music by Jim Keyes, Kruk’s storytelling captivates all audiences.
Philipsburg Manor, Sleepy Hollow, New York.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
2-3, 8-11, 15-17, 21-24, 28-31, Nov. 5-7
DON’T MISS the Hudson Valley’s biggest, most exciting, most electrifying Halloween event, featuring more than 4,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack o’ lanterns! Meander through an 18th-century riverside landscape and discover a breathtaking display: slithering snakes, shrunken heads, a giant spider web, an undersea aquarium, super-sized dinosaurs, pirates, ghosts, plus a mammoth exhibition of mummies and a pyramid…straight out of ancient Egypt and all made of jack o’ lanterns!
Haunted Houses in Westchester
Playland’s “Scared by the Sound”
All is not well when the amusement park rides close for the season and the haunting month of October begins. Beyond the deserted midway and dark boardwalk lurk creatures that dare you to be “Scared by the Sound!”
The Haunted Mansion
Hudson Valley, NY
The Haunted Mansion has always provided more than just the scare factor. We were one of the first haunted houses to utilize a storyline, allowing our guests to become part of the show. We were also innovators in the use of video technology as part of the mystery and illusions presented in our attractions.
The daytime portion features hayrides, entertainment, games, music and vendors. The evening portion will feature a frightening hayride and a haunted barn. Parking is available at Ridge Road Park and shuttle service will be provided. 12-3pm children under 10, 7-10pm children over 10 and adults .12pm. Age: All ages. $8-$10. FREE. Hart’s Brook Park and Preserve, 156 Ridge Road, Hartsdale. 914-693-8985.
Tarrytown Halloween Parade & Block Party
Saturday, October 27, 2012, 6:00 pm
Patriots Park, 121 N Broadway, Tarrytown, NY
Whether you march in the parade or come to watch, this event promises to be a fun filled evening with food and entertainment. March as an individual, group or design a float. Parade assembles in Patriots Park and marches to main Street Tarrytown for the Block Party. Call Tarrytown Rec. Dept. to register to march. 914-631-8347.
SCARECROWS AND PUMPKINS PARADE - Sun., Oct 28, 11AM-3:30PM – A fun Halloween event for young children. Follow friendly scarecrows along our pumpkin trail. Come in costume and enjoy cider and treats, tattoos and more. Fee if pre-registered by Oct 27: Members $4,
Non-members $7 (online pre-registration only). Fee day of event: Members $6, Non-members $9
Oct 29, Halloween Breakfast at Rogowski Farm, 8AM-Noon
Cheryl Rogowski's Farm Breakfasts, each weekend, feature farm fresh eggs, spectacular pancakes, and other farm menu favorites. You are invited to come dressed in costume! Cash prizes and fun for all. For more info, call 845-258-4574.
Oct 31 | Warwick Halloween Parade | Beginning at 3:30PM.
Line up at Church St., across from Village Hall. Walk down Main Street then left onto Railroad Ave., where costume judging will take place. (These streets will be closed to vehicular traffic at the time). Sponsored by American Legion Post #214. In the event of rain, costme party will be held at Warwick Community Center.
Oct 31, Village of Florida Halloween Parade | 5:30PM
TerrorDome Haunted Scream Park
As the cool, crisp fall air starts to set in, the creatures at TerrorDome comes out to play.While TerrorDome’s four haunted attractions are designed to terrorize the bravest souls, our festive shops, two spooky snack stands, and festive town dedicated to Halloween will soothe the faint at heart.
Our staff takes pride in delivering a memorable evening as you explore our world. We never stop short of creating a place where Halloween is brought to life, and every year our attractions are reinvented.
Field of Screams – Every Friday and Saturday until Halloween from dusk to 10 p.m., weather permitting, families are invited to join the haunted fun at The Field of Screams, which is located at 10817 N. 1000 East, Cromwell.
Tickets are $10 and include a hayride, s’more and hot dog.
On Oct. 31, there will be a Halloween costume contest at the Field of Screams at 7:30 p.m.
The Syracuse Community Center will have a Halloween Haunted House from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26.
Tickets are $1. Call 457-3440 for more information.
Halloween Carnival — On Oct. 27, there will be a Halloween Carnival at Syracuse Community Center.
The carnival is free for children — infants through fifth-graders. There will be lots of games to play, along with prizes, treats and costume contests. The community center and Lakeland youth center are sponsoring the event and looking for volunteers. Call 457-3440 or 457-3055 for more information.
Fright Factory — The annual haunted Fright Factory has a new location this year and will be held at West Park Pavillion. West Park is located three blocks west and three blocks north of Nappanee’s downtown. The haunted “factory” will continue Friday and Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m., Oct. 26 and 27 from 7 to 11 p.m. and Oct. 31 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Admission is $5.
For more information, call 773-3408 or check out the Nappanee Civic Theatre’s Web site at www.yourdomain.comwww.nappaneecivictheatre.com.
On Oct. 31, Lakeland Rehab in Milford will host trick-or-treaters from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Residents will be handing out candy. Then there will be time for doughnuts, cider and a costume contest.
Spooktacular — Oct. 26-27, Science Spooktacular will offer thrills and chills for students of all ages.
Hosted by ETHOS (Encouraging Technology and Hands On Science), the family event will provide the typical suspense and mystery of Halloween without any of the spookiness.
Last year, more than 2,000 people launched pumpkins from a trebuchet, star gazed in the mini planetarium, programmed robots and tried to solve a crime using forensic evidence. They also browsed bug, bee, and fish exhibitions, watched a puppet theater and participated in a silly safari.
New to the Spooktacular this year is a bat cave, lead awareness program, origami polyhedra, Memorial High School’s high mileage car and Penn High School’s life-size robot.
All of these activities will be presented at ETHOS, 1127 Miles Ave., Elkhart, Oct. 26 and 27. Friday’s hours are from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday’s are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The activities are designed for children and parents to experience together.
Admission is $2 a person or $10 for a family of five or more. Food and Spooktacular T-shirts will be available for purchase.
Science Central — On Oct. 28, Science Central in Fort Wayne will sponsor “You … Inside Out: Halloween Fund @ Science Central” from noon to 5 p.m. Children will participate in activites about organs of the body, dissect a real cow eye, learn about the digestive and respiratory systems, visit the touch stations and make fake blood and spines.
Science Central is located at 1950 N. Clinton St., Fort Wayne. For more information, call (260) 424-2400 or go online to www.sciencecentral.org.
Skull Island Scream Park “The Scariest Place on Earth”
Skull Island is a forbidden island that has suddenly reappeared after mysteriously vanishing hundreds of years ago in Fishkill, NY…perhaps there is something to the town’s name after all, Fish-KILL?
Horrifying events have been happening ever since. Last year we had the misfortune of meeting the shipwrecked Captain Blackheart and his fiendishly evil crew of the Ghost Ship, Spector.
October 27: CHILDREN’S COSTUME PARADE & PARTY. line up 12:45pm behind Western Sullivan Library. Parade 1pm. Games and treats at the Youth Center following parade. All are welcome. 1pm. Downtown, Callicoon, NY. 845-887-5155
October 27: HALLOWEEN: LAST DANCE. Adult costume party; dancing with Albi & Darren. Prizes for best costumes. Bring own refreshments. 8pm-midnight. Delaware Youth Center, 8 Creamery Rd., Callicoon, NY. 845-887-5839
October 31: HALLOWEEN PARADE & PARTY. line-up 6:00 p.m. on Center Street near library. March firehouse, costume judging and refreshments. Downtown, Jeffersonville, NY. 845-482-3330 or 482-4661
Community Halloween Party, Oct. 31, 6-9pm.
A huge community Halloween party will be thrown October 31 at the temporarily renamed Old Stone “Haunted” House of Hasbrouck. Kids and their families are welcomed from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. both under the rain-or-shine pavilion, and on walking (or perhaps crawling) tours through the historic building itself. There, visitors will come face-to-face with witches, goblins, ghouls and zombies, providing enough scary thrills to easily warrant the $1.00 entry donation.
It’s even possible a genuine ghost does indeed haunt the structure, since this was the site of a mysterious murder back in 1840, after which unexplained events continued to occur for decades.
Outdoors, there’ll be more activities aplenty, all free. These include creepy games for all ages, and storytelling with an eerie emphasis on spirits, spiders, snakes, and frightful bumps-in-the-night.
A costume-judging contest will begin mid-evening, with awards for the scariest and the most original, and pumpkins will be provided for decorating.
There will be a cozy campfire kept ablaze, so enthusiasts of the art can roast a few s’mores, and perhaps a hot dog or two. Those, plus baked goodies and beverages, will be available for purchase on the spot, although bring-your-own is also okay.
The Old Stone House of Hasbrouck – even when it’s not haunted – is at 282 Hasbrouck Road, easy to reach from Grahamsville, Liberty, Monticello and Ellenville. For driving directions and more information, visit the website at www.TheOldStoneHouseOfHabrouck.org.