Frightening fun in Sleepy Hollow

Few American towns have been the setting for a more haunting tale than Sleepy Hollow.

So it’s no surprise that the New York village on the east bank of the Hudson River goes all out to celebrate Halloween and the Washington Irving classic short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

The premier event is Horseman’s Hollow. The grounds of Philipsburg Manor, once a prosperous farm, mill and trade center owned by a family of merchants, are transformed into a frightening landscape “ruled by the undead, the evil, and the insane.” You can walk along a haunted trail and steel yourself for scenes inspired by a town scarred by the Headless Horseman. The popular event is labeled as “not suitable for small or the faint of heart.”

Less frightening but equally fun is the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, a walk through more than 4,000 hand-carved and illuminated pumpkins on the grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor, once the home of a wealthy New York family. Tens of thousands of visitors enjoyed the spectacle last year.

The more literary-minded can take in a performance of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” at the Old Dutch Church, where a frightened Ichabod Crane sought refuge from the Headless Horseman. The church has been in continuous use since 1690 and the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the final resting place of Irving and other American notables.

And you can always visit Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s home on the Hudson River, to listen to ghost stories, hear live music and enjoy treats.

All of it sounds like a great way to enjoy Halloween and an American classic. Check out details at
Historic Hudson Valley.

Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.