Last weekend I attended Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses. The attraction takes place on an expanse of farmland in Ulster Park, New York (about a 90-min drive north from New York City). Tickets are steep ($38 each), but the haunt includes a hayride AND several separate haunted houses.

And what a hayride it is! A tractor pulls your group through a long series of movie-quality sets depicting several creepy scenes, including a haunted village, a gallows, a graveyard riddled with ghosts, and a mill exploding in flames (yes, there are pyrotechnics)! After the hayride, you make your way through a scary corn maze and then enter the Lunar Motel, in which each room is in a state of demented disarray (in one, the toilet was endlessly overflowing; in another, a man was digging a hole into the floor to bury his recently murdered victim). The level of detail was amazing; the set designers are clearly very talented. Another haunted house was a “root cellar” that even included a frightening greenhouse of killer plants! And the Glutton’s Slaughterhouse had some terrifying visuals, including an endless hospital-style hallway created by one-way mirrors.

The haunt also featured some excellent use of fog-machine fog, which pooled up everywhere in the still night air and was often pierced with beams of light. In fact, one interior room was filled with the stuff, and a broad, flat laser beam created a “swimming pool” illusion over it. Hard to describe, but extremely cool.

There were also bridges that “collapsed” as you walk over them, hallways with suffocating, inflated soft walls that you have to push through, giant rotten pumpkin heads, and a zip-lining ghoul that swoops out of the dark trees over your head.

So I am happy to report that “H5” was worth the money and the long drive. It offers a great variety of both unique and traditional scares, in a secluded rural setting, with more than enough style and mood to put attendees in the Halloween spirit.

All photos from H5’s promotional video.


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