River Journal Guide to Halloween Events in the River Towns

With Halloween around the corner, the River Towns are gearing up for a full calendar of events that will entertain and thrill (maybe even scare!) area residents and visitors. Below is a sampling of the many programs, which range from old favorites to first-time happenings.


“Few places on the planet celebrate Halloween like Sleepy Hollow. Families, artists, nonprofits, small businesses and village staff transform our village into Halloween Town for a growing number of weeks every fall,” says Village of Sleepy Hollow Mayor Martin Rutyna. Following are some of the highlights:


Sleepy Hollow Village Hall, 28 Beekman Avenue
October 20 and 21
Block party begins at 5 pm; hayrides begin at 7 pm

Hay Ride Photo Margaret Fox

The haunted hay wagon ride starts off on the brightly lit streets of downtown Sleepy Hollow but then rumbles off into the dark and heads down the Albany Post Road past the Old Dutch Church, following exactly Ichabod Crane’s flight from the Headless Horseman. Passing a set of iron gates, the wagon slips into the dark woods of the hollow and clatters across a wooden bridge, where you will start to hear shrieks and the sound of hoofbeats.

“This has been going on for close to 30 years, and the haunted scenes change every time,” says Matt Arone, superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the Village of Sleepy Hollow. “One year you can have a scary clown coming out at you and the next it could be Michael Myers from the Halloween movies.”

There’s a free block party on Beekman Avenue both nights to keep guests entertained before their hair-raising ride through the real Sleepy Hollow. Visitors are also welcome to enjoy live music, entertainment, family activities, and vendors at the block party.

visitsleepyhollow.com/plan/sleepy-hollow-haunted-hayride/ (Note: Haunted Hayride tickets only still available for Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown students; block party open to the public both nights.)


60 Continental Street
September 21-October 29
Thursdays and Fridays at 7pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm and 7pm

The second season of this simmering cirque-noir, love-triangle adaptation of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” will be performed under a big-top tent. This year, Washington Irving is brought back to life by local luminary and executive director of the Tarrytown Music Hall, Mr. Bjorn Olsson. Debuting as the show’s live narrator, Olsson (playing Washington Irving) will interact with the terrifying Headless Horseman and circus performers in real time to tell this gripping tale.

The show has been adapted by longtime circus producer Carlo Pellegrini, with stage direction by Hilary Sweeney, the founder/owner of Westchester Circus Arts. The recommended minimum age for attending is 10 years old.



Katherine Davis Bath House at Kingsland Point Park
299 Palmer Avenue
October 6 -November 5
October 6-October 22 and November 2-November 5, Thursdays-Sundays from 6-11 pm;
October 26th-October 31, 5pm-midnight

Psycho Clan, a band of misfits from the city who The New York Times calls, “The Emperors of Immersive Horror,” will perform “The Horsemen: Terror Lies in Chaos,” a new horror experience that is the surreal fever dream of a madman. The setting is a nightmarish hospital, where the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse descend upon the audience. To stop the end of the world,  patrons must find a fifth horseman, a headless one named Chaos, and destroy him before he destroys the world.

Anyone 16 or younger requires a chaperone, and warnings say it is not recommended for anyone under the age of 12 years old.



Sleepy Hollow Cemetery South Gate, 430 North Broadway
Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am-12 noon and 1-2 pm through Thanksgiving weekend

This is your chance to meet the father of the American short story on this one-hour tour. You will learn all about Washington Irving (who is buried in the cemetery), his impact on American literature, and the enduring appeal of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” which recently celebrated its Bicentennial. Irving’s “Legend” is among the earliest examples of American fiction, and the tale is especially popular during the Halloween season because of a terrifying character known as the Headless Horseman. In the story, the Headless Horseman is reported to ride swiftly through Sleepy Hollow at night as if reenacting the battle that took his head, before returning at daybreak to the churchyard where he is buried.

Additional tours and special events at: /sleepyhollowcemetery.org/tours-and-events/



3 West Sunnyside Lane
Sep 29-Oct 31
Fridays-Sundays, plus Columbus Day, October 30, and Halloween
Times vary by date

Jonathan Kruk casts a spell in “Irving’s Legend” at Sunnyside (Photo: Historic Hudson Valley)

Irving’s “Legend” is a thrilling outdoor performance under the stars at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk and his crew of creepy characters will cast 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.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of America’s most enduring stories, told and retold throughout the years by everyone from Disney to Tim Burton. Irving’s “Legend” is the only retelling that happens on location at the author’s estate, which makes for an incredibly thrilling experience.




635 South Broadway
October 19-22 and 26-29
6-10 pm

This nighttime tour provides a special opportunity to experience the mansion as it is decorated in the spirit of the season and to see rarely exhibited items from Lyndhurst’s collections that highlight mourning practices and the occult. A mixture of interesting new collection objects will join the old favorites on display, such as the mansion’s crystal ball and mourning portraits.

“For the third year of Lyndhurst After Dark, the mansion has added a visit to the downstairs kitchen space, with an opportunity for visitors to hear about the folklore of Halloween, parlor tricks, and some of the cookery traditions attached to mourning and Halloween,” says Amanda Sheff, Lyndhurst’s coordinator of development, marketing and communications.

“The pandemic allowed us to retire our previous Halloween offering in 2020 and gave us a fresh clean slate,” says Sheff. “We shifted away from the haunted house and dinner theater style entertainment. Instead, we’ve hinged the new experience on the mansion’s history, its owners, and the Victorian world they lived in through the mourning practices and traditions of the time.”

Refreshments will be available for purchase. The event is appropriate for children aged 10 and older, and children two and under will not be admitted.



Tarrytown Music Hall
13 Main Street
October 2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23,  and 30
Times vary by date

Visitors are welcome to travel back in time with Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk as he shares the historic lore and spirits that linger at the Tarrytown Music Hall. The Music Hall was built in 1885 during the Millionaire’s Colony Era, when mansions dotted the Hudson Valley landscape and families such as the Rockefellers, Goulds, and Vanderbilts gathered at the Music Hall to participate in its lavish balls, flower shows, and concerts.

Since then, the Music Hall has hosted Presidents’ speeches, women’s suffrage rallies, and endured several wars, depressions and pandemics including those of 1918 and 2019. It is a vessel through which many people pass – and some don’t leave!

The building is an official site of the Haunted History Trail of New York. In addition, Gotham Paranormal Research Society has investigated the Music Hall several times and has consistently detected paranormal activity including intriguing EVP (electronic voice phenomena) audio files and EMF (electromagnetic field) readings.

For this event and other Halloween-themed programs at the Tarrytown Music Hall, visit tickets.tarrytownmusichall.org/



Ryder Town Park
Morningside Drive
October 28 (Rain Date: October 29)
12 noon-5 pm

Sponsored by the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce, the Spooktacular will include live music by the School of Rock Briarcliff Manor House Band and the Orange Jelly Project as well as DJ Johnny G spinning tunes. In addition, there will be a beer garden, food trucks, vendors, and a costume contest, along with a “Spooky Photo Booth” and a kid zone with face painting, crafts, games, trick or treating, and other activities.

According to Dr. Gayle Marchica, the Chamber’s president, “We want to treat the kids to some spooky surprises so come prepared for a fun day. This event is for children of all ages, big and little. Last year we had over 1,000 people and we think this year will be just as popular.”



Bethany Arts Center (BAC)
40 Somerstown Road
October 7
10:30 am-4:30 pm

ARToberfest promises to be a day full fun for the whole family. Returning for its fourth year, this festival features visual artist exhibitions and demonstrations, along with live music, interactive art activities, crafts, food trucks, and ice cream. A “fairy walk” offers children the chance to view miniature fairy houses and create one of their own. “Poems While You Wait” features former BAC poet-in-residence Karin Falcone, who will create a personal poem just for you. The event also includes pumpkin carving with master carvers from the famed Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.




Van Cortlandt Manor
525 South Riverside Avenue
September 15-November 19
Times vary by date

Bigger, brighter, and better than ever before, the “Blaze” allows visitors to experience over 7,000 hand-carved jack o’lanterns illuminating the night as they meander through an 18th-century landscape. Guests can immerse themselves in larger-than-life displays, complete with special effects and an all-original soundtrack. Since 2005, millions of visitors of all ages have been wowed by this magical walk-through experience.

“New this year at the “Blaze” we are our kid-friendly Pumpkin Pals. These mini-pumpkin characters can be found throughout the landscape, adding whimsy and humor to every display. You’ll find them gardening in our jack o’lantern tulip field, quivering in fear of the Headless Horseman, and, of course, riding our first-ever pumpkin Ferris wheel,” says Karen Clark, associate director of marketing at Historic Hudson Valley

Visitors can also view the tribute to the Day of the Dead and take in a circus sideshow, complete with the Croton River mermaid, a sword-swallower, strong man, and much more.




Muriel H. Morabito Community Center
29 West Brook Drive
October 31
6-8:30 pm

Kids are invited to put on their costumes and come trick or treat at the town’s annual Halloween Party. The free event is open to all children through the 5th grade accompanied by an adult.  There will be refreshments and a DJ playing music, and activities will include carnival games and contests. Each child gets to take home a balloon and a goodie bag full of treats.

According to Ken Sherman, director of recreation for the Town of Cortlandt, “The town has been holding this event for more than 30 years, and it’s very popular, always drawing a few hundred children from around the area. We have the town supervisor come in, and he interviews the kids in costume for a show on cable television.”


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About the Author: Laura Mogil