The nights are getting colder and longer, the dying leaves are falling from the trees and pumpkins are growing fat on the vine, ready for carving.
That’s right, it’s the time of year when the spook is in the air and our thoughts turn to all things … deadish.
Halloween is just around the corner and at several venues around the state and the region volunteers and workers are busy putting the finishing touches on the frightful happenings, spooky woods, haunted houses and other attractions that will soon open their creaking doors to the public.
There are numerous terrifying venues to choose from this year, ones that will scare the pants off you, so much so that some don’t allow small children and others warn away adults with heart problems.
Here’s a rundown of the major haunted attractions and some quick facts on each:
Trail of Terror, Wallingford. Now in its 22nd year, the Trail of Terror this year was named the best haunted attraction in Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine. This nighttime attraction opens Sept. 29 at 7 p.m., and runs Fri-Sun., throughout October.
West Hartford Hauntings. Operated by the Noah Webster House, these nighttime cemetery tours have proven so popular that the museum now recommends buying tickets ahead of time. The event features lantern-lit, theatrical, nighttime tours of the Town's North Cemetery on Oct. 20, 26, 27, and 28. Tours begin every 15 minutes from 6-8:45 p.m. “The program was created in 2005 to offer a different perspective on West Hartford's past residents and has been a hit ever since,” the museum’s Website says.
Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam is hosting Not-So-Scary Halloween Hay Rides October 19, 20, 26& 27 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. for evening hay rides. Tractor-pulled wagon rides tour the dark and spooky woods. Illuminated Halloween decorations and path lights keep the ride mild enough for small children, but sightings of witches and scarecrows will keep you on your toes! Refreshments will be available. $6 per person suggested donation goes to the farm's animal rescue efforts.
Halloween Party- Take part in the fun and games at Ray of Light Farm's Halloween Party on Saturday, October 20. There will be face painting, pumpkin painting, pony rides, crafts, games and plenty of candy to fuel the work. Admission is $10 per participating child (adults are free) with all proceeds benefitting our animal rescue efforts. The farm will be open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, but participants should arrive between 11:00-1:30 to allow time to complete the activities. The event will take place rain or shine.
Also kid-friendly is Pumpkintown USA, operated by the Peszynski family in East Hampton, owners of Paul’s & Sandy’s Too on Route 66. Each year since 1990 the Peszynski family has turned a large portion of their business property over to dozens of pumpkin “people,” including Duncan MacPumpkin, Leroy Butternut and Penelope Parton, who make up the small village of “Pumpkintown.” The attraction, which opens Sept. 22, includes food, rides and dozens of pumpkins for sale.
Decimation Scream Park is a new, year-round haunted attraction in New Haven that opens Sept. 28. It bills itself as a “professionally designed haunted attraction that is ahead of its time.” It features a “gaslight sanatorium,” zombie laser tag, and an “undead” arcade.
Located in the village of Baltic, just outside of Norwich, The Dark Manor haunted house marks its 8th year in the fright business this year. The Norwich Bulletin has called it the “scariest haunted house in Connecticut,” and the Dark Manor actually is two attractions in one; a two-story haunted house and an outdoor graveyard/haunted village. The Dark Manor opens for the season on Oct. 5.
The Dark Walk Lantern Tour is a spooky, lantern-lit nighttime tour through the forlorn woods of Coventry where tour guides will tell you local ghost lore and other tales. The tours right now are confirmed for two weekends in October, Oct. 12&13 and Oct. 19&20. Advanced tickets are required.
“Legend has it that somewhere in the woods behind the Trolley Museum (in East Haven), lurk the things that nightmares are made of.” The Haunted Isle is a haunted trail attraction through the woods behind the museum. It starts Sept. 28 and runs each weekend throughout October.
At Flamig Farm in Simsbury the farm’s annual popular Halloween Hayrides will kick off this year on the weekend of Oct.19 & 20 and will resume again on Oct. 26 & 27. Tickets must be purchased in advance and went on sale Sept. 4. The haunted hayrides are not recommended for kids under 6 but the farm also offers daytime kid-friendly Halloween hayrides.
Mystic Seaport in Mystic will once again this year host its Sights & Frights Halloween attraction on Fridays and Saturdays, October 19-20 and 26-27, from 6-9:30 p.m. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes as they walk through the recreated 19th century whaling village where they'll meet characters in period garb, here ghostly pirate stories and "be entertained by musicians singing eerie tunes of long ago."
On the weekend of Oct. 28-29 the streets of New London will turn decidedly spooky when the downtown is transformed into Halloween Town. Open Oct. 28th from 6-10 p.m., and Oct. 29th from 3-10 p.m., Halloween Town will include free events, such as a pirate ship, hayrides, trick-or-treating, ghouls and goblins.