New York’s Capital Region is an annual hotbed of fall activities, particularly during Halloween, when the area’s long tradition of spooky folklore and haunted happenings drives a month’s worth of celebratory events and activities. Whether you’re a parent in search of family-friendly Halloween fun or a thrill-seeker looking to push your threshold for fear, there’s something for everyone in the Albany region once September fades into October.
This year, highlights include multiple haunted hay rides, ghost tours, Halloween parties, pumpkin walks and festivals so massive, entire business districts will be transformed. All of this fun is within a reasonable distance of your Albany, NY apartment! Here are some can’t-miss suggestions for a fright-tastic North Country Halloween.
For some real-life chills, try the Ghosts of Albany Walking Tour, which takes you through some of the region’s legendary paranormal hot zones. Tour guides will give you goosebumps with stories of ghosts, scandals, haunted places, mysterious apparitions and other strange and unusual accounts, combining elements of human interest with historical fact. Tickets can be purchased online, and tours start in front of the Hilton Albany Hotel, 40 Lodge Street, Albany, NY.
For a stroll of a different color (think orange), don’t miss the 13th Annual Pumpkin Walk, to be held at Columbia-Greene Community College on Saturday, October 19. Last year the event drew more than 1,400 attendees, and this year looks to be an even larger draw, featuring a stroll along a Halloween-o-riffic path of lit jack-o-lanterns carved by local children and artists. Cost is $5 in advance and $6 at the event. All proceeds support programs that serve the children and families of Columbia and Greene Counties. October 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Columbia-Green Community College, 4400 NY-23, Hudson, NY.
There’s no shortage of farm fields in upstate New York. Fortunately, though, there’s only one Field of Horrors, which offers several different haunted attractions for the price of one admission. This year guests venture into an ancient Egyptian temple in Return of the Mummy’s Curse, take a trip into a backwoods nightmare on the Trail of Terror Hayride, make their way through the maze of horror known as Death Trap, and explore an underground toxic waste spill in Toxic Terror. You’ve been warned. Tickets cost $27 and can be purchased online. Fridays & Saturdays through November 1. Field of Horrors, 100 Farrell Road, Brunswick, NY.
Only Halloween can turn something as seemingly quaint and relaxing as a country hayride into a trip filled with terror. Double M Haunted Hayrides in Ballston Spa has been scaring visitors for more than 25 years, and is back this season for a Dead-End Road Drive Thru experience! Due to COVID-19, 2020 attractions will be drive-thru, reservations are required. Ticket prices are $30.00+. Double M Haunted Hayrides, 678 New York 67, Ballston Spa, NY.
Fort William Henry is offering Ghost Tours Wednesday-Sunday, August 24 – October 31. There are spirits still roaming the grounds of Fort William Henry. Join this walking tour and learn about some of the spirits still calling the grounds home. This tour is not recommended for anyone with medical conditions as there are stairs involved. Adults $18, Seniors $15, Children ages 5 to 15 $8.
A quick car ride north to Queensbury is well worth the mileage to spend the day at Fright Fest, an annual tradition at the Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom amusement park. On Fridays and Saturdays through October 27, the park is transformed into a Halloween haven that’s kid/family-friendly by day (complete with trick-or-treating for the youngsters), and then becomes extra spooky by night, including hordes of roaming undead and haunted houses to explore. And of course, all of Great Escape’s popular rides will remain open throughout. The Great Escape, 89 Six Flags Drive Queensbury, NY. GREAT ESCAPE & SPLASHWATER KINGDOM IS CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO COVID.
Another great option for family-friendly (and free!) Halloween fun is the New York State Museum’s Halloween Spooktacular, featuring crafts, games, dancing, storytelling and spooky science, amid the museum’s excellent assortment of ongoing exhibits. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes, particularly kids, who can participate in the children’s costume parade at 3 p.m. October 26 from 12 to 3 p.m. at the New York State Museum, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany, NY. NY STATE MUSEUM IS CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO COVID.
Downtown Saratoga Springs will also be a hub for free Halloween happenings on October 26, when it hosts its 2020 Saratoga Downtown Business Association Fall Festival, which is chock-full of events and activities throughout the day. In past years, the event featured magic shows, a costume parade, rock-climbing, live music, photo booths, a petting zoo and pony rides, pumpkin and face painting, a pumpkin-rolling contest down Caroline Street and trick-or-treating at 36 different downtown shops. October 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Downtown Saratoga Springs, NY.
And of course, there are ritzy Halloween options, too, perfect for the upscale adult trick-or-treater or masquerade enthusiast. Most notably, there’s the “official” 2019 Halloween Party at Washington Park Lakehouse in Albany, complete with seasonal decorations, a photo booth, costume contests, music and complimentary craft beer, wine and cider. Who says Halloween is just for kids? Tickets cost $45 and can be purchased online. October 26 from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Washington Park Lakehouse, 1 washington Park Road, Albany, NY.