Halloween in New York can be a lot of fun—and a bit of a handful. Here’s your easy escape plan.
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What to Do
Skip out of work early and drive or catch Metro-North to Croton-on-Hudson. About five minutes from the train station is Van Cortlandt Manor, a historic estate that first passed from King William III to the Van Cortlandt family, and later to the Rockefellers. Today it’s a sort of museum, and since 2005 it has been home to The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze, a labyrinth of 5,000 insanely elaborately hand-carved pumpkins (every weekend through November 11; advance tickets required). It sounds corny, but trust us: As you approach the estate and see the great lava-colored glow emerging in the distance, you won’t be able to resist. Carved into the pumpkins are immaculate depictions of dinosaurs, robots, mythological creatures, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. The installation is directed by Michael Natiello, a sculptor who works with more than 1,000 people to carve and compose the display.
Afterward, for a real scare, visit the haunted trail at Philipsburg Manor, in Horseman’s Hollow, for a tribute to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The performance (deemed not suitable for children, the timid, or the claustrophobic, by the way) is much more than a haunted house; as you wander the winding path, the characters that jump out at you, in serious professional makeup and costumes, are just a bit too real for comfort. For something a little less intense, opt for a live performance of Irving’s Legend by candlelight in the Old Dutch Church across the street.
Where to Stay The Kittle House Inn, in Chappaqua, about a 25-minute drive from Croton-on-Hudson, is an appropriately soothing place to end the night. Housed in a 200-year-old building that has had previous lives as a Prohibition-era roadhouse and a school, today the inn offers spacious rooms with modern amenities, incredible food, and one of the most extensive and impressive wine collections in the world (really). There are 65,000 bottles in the cellar, plus a rustic wine tasting room next door—just what you need to steel yourself for the trip back to tourist season in the city.