The Headless Horseman Hayride and Haunted House Review
By Amanda Celek
The Headless Horseman Hayride and Haunted House is back for its twenty-first year of screams for the month of October, just in time for the Halloween season.
It is a unique, immersive experience with a theme that changes each year. Recognized and proclaimed as one of the top haunted house attractions in America, it is definitely a place to visit if you are ready to get the scare of your life.
It is located in Ulster Park, NY about a two and a half hour drive from Staten Island. The 250 year-old farm incorporates over forty-five acres of naturally landscaped property and features a theatrical one-mile hayride, corn maze, and six haunted attractions all performed by 350 skilled stunt actors and staff that provide a memorable evening of fright. So come and enjoy the headless horseman haunted house if you dare!
The house believes in giving people quick scares and startles, mixed with the wow factor, to be the best method for their haunted house attraction.
They put a lot of detail in each six of the haunted houses to make it come alive to visitors. It continually evolves with unusual monsters, amazing illusions, stunning special effects, unique costumes, makeup, animations and frightening details.
After the long drive to Ulster Park, New York, we anxiously parked and were unexpectedly brought onto a school bus that took passengers to the site of the haunted house.
We were finally put on a wagon that set out on a ride filled with surprises including characters jumping out at us and chasing after the wagon to scare all the people on it.
These characters included the notorious headless horseman that the haunted house is based on. He galloped on his black stallion past the hayride into the dark depths of the woods.
The Witching Hour Hayride takes you on a one mile theatrical adventure through woods and trails to discover the dark and supernatural world of the Coven of Witches that exists in Crow’s Hollow. It exposes their hidden desires to achieve the power to control the Horseman.
After the forty-five minute hayride we entered The Lunar Motel, the first of the eight attractions. With our hearts racing unsure of what to expect, the few steps inside were immediately filled with characters jumping out ready to raise screams.
The motel themed house was decorated perfectly to stay true to its creepy old décor, and had actors transformed into dead bellhops and monster maids with the use of costumes and well done makeup.
The use of props was very relevant in the haunted house and sometimes going through the darker rooms it was hard to tell what was a prop or an actor.
The Lunar Motel led straight into Slithers Pet Shop where adopt a pet was the main theme. The second house was filled with blood-covered cages and aquarium tanks that shook and rattled.
We had to pass through tight hallways as animal-like creatures including lizards and alligators chased us as we screamed from fright out of the house.
Next up was the Gluttons Diner with the theme of “eat like a pig,” which in my opinion was one of the better planned houses. It was decorated as a diner and butcher shop accompanied with old boots and bloody animal meat props hanging from the ceiling and protruding from the walls.
Horror movie type plastic slit doorways smeared with blood separated each room. Roles were reversed as the characters were dressed as pig butchers that had knives and meat cleavers in their hands and went after us ready to theatrically “chop us up.”
Finally escaping the diner, things switched up as we had to pass through the Dark Harvest Corn maze where the evil reaping was ready for us.
The dark corn maze was filled with surprises, special effects of fog, strobe lights, and actors including a large clown creating barricades against us.
Past the corn maze we entered back into a haunted house which was Night Shade, an Alice in Wonderland themed nursery and greenhouse filled with twisted deadly Alice in Wonderland characters including Alice and the Red Queen all performing with each other to creep every person out with loud screams of “off with her head” in the back ground.
We waited on a short line to enter the last two houses called The Feeding and Blood Inn. With palms sweaty and knees shaking I awaited what the end had to offer.
The theme of “flesh they crave” and the mansion of Dahlia’s blood lived up to their names including extra bloody and gory characters and decorations of the houses.
Hidden doors and illusion traps messed with our heads as we passed through each room. Deadly chainsaw killers and stilt walking zombies and clowns walked around the house scaring each haunted house goer.
Along with the haunted house attractions was the magic show by illusionist Ryan Dutcher who returns for his third year at Headless Horseman with a show that bends the fabric of reality.
The performance is located in the main stage and is filled with magic and illusions for everyone to see before they venture out onto the hayride and into the haunted houses. In addition, there are four food concessions, and Fear Gear, Magic Moon, Scare Ware, and Witchy Women gift shops.
The highly redound haunted house and hayride attraction has been rated by Hauntworld.com as top three best haunts in the entire country for the past five years in a row calling it one of the scariest places on earth.
It was also America Haunts’ official selection of the scariest haunted house and attractions in America and Fangoria rated it America’s best hometown haunts.
The Headless Horseman Haunted House will be in effect till November 2nd and the 2014 prices for tickets online are $39.95 and on-site for $45.95. The house also offers a scream pass to avoid lines for an extra $25.00.
Due to the nature of the attraction, it is not recommended for children under the age of 13. The Headless Horseman will be back again and again for years to come, always providing all new scares. Happy Halloween!