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Upstate Scares

Try one of these daylong jaunts for Halloween chills or family-friendly thrills.

The Tunnel O’ Pumpkin Love at Van Cortlandt Manor’s Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.  

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, Croton-on-Hudson
Van Cortlandt Manor, 525 Riverside Ave., nr. Croton Point Ave., Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.; 914-366-6900;
Check out a dazzling display of 7,000 pumpkins at the Hudson Valley’s historic Van Cortlandt Manor, all hand-carved by a small group of local artists (with pumpkin-scooping and lighting by 1,000 volunteers). The ornate, lighted gourds line the estate’s wooded paths, orchards, and gardens, accompanied by an original soundtrack by The Howard Stern Show’s Richard Christy.
Through November 15.
Tickets: $20 ($25 on Saturdays); $16 for children ages 3-17 ($20 on Saturdays); free for children under 3.
How to get there: From Grand Central Terminal, take the Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson Line to Croton-Harmon station (one hour). From there, it’s a five-minute cab ride or ten-minute walk.

Ghost Tour of Hyde Hall, Cooperstown
Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Rd., nr. Country Rd. 31, Cooperstown, N.Y.; 607-547-5098;
An hour-long candlelit tour illuminates the 150-plus years of ghostly history lurking in this Colonial mansion, a National Historic Landmark. The same eerie tales of phantom piano keys, secret tunnels, and a cursed widow appeared on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters Halloween special a few years ago.
October 23-24, October 29-30. Every night tours depart at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20; reservations required by phone (607-547-5098).
How to get there: By car, via I-87 North (three hours, 40 minutes).

Boo at the Zoo, Bear Mountain State Park
Trailside Museums and Zoo, 55 Hessian Dr., Highland Falls, N.Y.; 847-786-2701, ext. 265;
Stop by the bear den at 10:30 a.m., when visitors can make treats for the black bears; Halloween feast at 11 a.m. Throughout the museum, kids can learn about bats and owls, touch real animal skulls, and make fall-inspired arts and crafts. Take a hike afterward to see the foliage.
Saturday, October 24, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rain date: Sunday, October 25.
Tickets: $1 suggested donation.
How to get there: From Grand Central Terminal, take the Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson Line to Garrison station (one hour, 30 minutes). From there, it’s a ten-minute cab ride.

Ghost Stories & Legends of Fire Island, Fire Island Lighthouse
1 Burma Rd., Bay Shore, N.Y.; 631-321-7028;
Bring blankets and flashlights to the lighthouse terrace for an evening of hair-raising ghost stories. Arrive early for the Tower Tours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors can ascend the 182-step lookout for panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, tour exhibits within the two-floor lighthouse-keeper quarters, and see the 19th-century lens that beamed from the tower until 1933.
Saturday, October 24, at 7 p.m.
Tickets: Free. Tower tours for regular admission: $7, $4 for seniors, military personnel, and children under 12.
How to get there: By car, via Ocean Parkway East (two hours).

Little Lucy’s Halloween Pet Parade, Southampton
91 Jobs Ln., at Hill St., Southampton, N.Y.;
Costumed dogs compete for titles like “Best Political Pup” and “Best Hampton Sea Creature” in this charity parade that supports the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. Adopt a rescue dog or stop by the after-party at Little Lucy’s Canine Couture Boutique. Tunes will be provided by a local Doors tribute band.
Saturday, October 31, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets: Free for spectators, $10 per parade dog.
How to get there: Take the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk line to the Southampton station (three hours).

Haunted Isle, East Haven
The Shore Line Trolley Museum, 17 River St., East Haven, Conn.; 203-467-6927;
Passengers take a five-minute trolley ride to the museum’s Haunted Isle, where they embark on an hour-long trek down a dark wooded trail haunted by ghouls and goblins creeping in the shadows. This one is strictly for adults and children over 5.
Through October 30. Each night trolleys depart continuously from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Tickets: $12, $20 for limited timed express tickets (available online or at the door).
How to get there: By car, via I-95 North (two hours, 30 minutes).

Hip Hop Halloween Celebration, Rockaway Beach
Hip Hop Community Garden, Beach 59th St. and Rockaway Beach Blvd., the Rockaways;
Rockaway Waterfront Alliance hosts this free beachfront festival in its fifth year, with pumpkin decorating, face painting, and lots of food.
Sunday, October 18, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: Free.
How to get there: Take the A train to Beach 60th Street station (one hour from midtown).