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Not-too-scary haunted houses for younger kids: Bayville Adventure Park, Tanglewood, more

Halloween was traditionally a kids’ holiday — but it’s been co-opted by grown-ups who have made haunted attractions scarier and scarier. Here are five locales that realize that, and have created toned-down “not-so-scary” versions to let the littlest kids continue to have fun as well.

Tanglewood Preserve: Friendly Halloween Walk

Friendly scarecrows along the " Not Spooky Walk"
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

WHEN | WHERE 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 14, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at The Center for Science, Teaching and Learning at Tanglewood Preserve, 1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre 
COST $10 per person
INFO 516-764-0045;
The Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Tanglewood Preserve offers a non-scary option of a lighted walk with friendly ghost and monster scenes. “They’re smiling, inviting, cartoony,” says the center’s Michele Anselmo. New this year is a children’s maze with non-scary Halloween decor such as cobwebs, she says. There are also Halloween crafts, face painting and live animals, including owls and a blue-tongued skink lizard. That’s all in contrast to the center’s scarier options of Haunted Woods and Maze of Zombies.

Medford Haunted House: Non-Scare Show

HANDOUT, 2009 ---- Photo from the Medford Haunted
Photo Credit: Medford Haunted House

WHEN | WHERE 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through October at Medford Haunted House, 79 Middle Island Blvd., Middle Island
COST $8 per person donation requested
INFO 631-466-8096;
Visiting the Medford Haunted House for the daytime non-scare show is “kind of like an introduction to what a haunted house is,” says owner Jerry Groskopf. “We tell them it’s a behind-the-scenes tour for little VIPs.” The scary music is off, and there aren’t any actors on duty. The kids are given the challenge of finding Kermit the Frog, who is lost somewhere in the Haunted House, Groskopf says. Kids can also get their photo taken by the skeletons. “It’s all very low-keyed for the kids,” Groskopf says, ending about two hours before the nighttime hard-core scary stuff begins.

Manor Farm: Not-So-Spooky Trail

Austin Kinglsey of Northport northport volunteers at the
Photo Credit: Christopher Occhicone

WHEN | WHERE 5 p.m. Oct. 27 and 28 at Manor Farm, 210 Manor Rd., Huntington
COST $7 per child; accompanying adults free
INFO 631-885-3491;
This walk follows the same path as Manor Farm’s Haunted Trail Nights, but it happens in daylight, and kids will see characters such as a gorilla pop out along the way, says Rich Brundige, program coordinator at Manor Farm. The walk starts at 5 p.m. and lasts about a half-hour, he says. “It’s a nice walk in the woods. There’s jokes involved,” Brundige says. “It’s almost cartoonish and silly.”

Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse: Not-So-Scary Kids Adventure

Gateway Playhouse will host a Haunted Playhouse of
Photo Credit: Gateway Playhouse

WHEN | WHERE Noon to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October at Gateway Playhouse, 215 South Country Rd., Bellport
COST $10 per person
INFO 631-286-1133;
A guide takes families on a walk through Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse. “It’s a kid-friendly version of what we do at night,” says Gateway staff member Phyllis Kaye. “It takes about a half an hour to walk through the rooms. It goes inside and outside, up and down stairs.” Strollers and infants aren’t allowed; the tour is recommended for children 3 and older and all children must be accompanied by an adult, says Judy Bianco, box office consultant. Participants are encouraged to come in costume. The tour includes a pumpkin bounce, face painting, balloon creations and a hay-bale maze. Refreshments are available for sale.

Bayville Adventure Park: Not So Scary Days

The Funhouse, Bayville Scream Park during Halloween, Bayville,
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 5 at Bayville Scream Park, 8 Bayville Ave., Bayville
COST $24.75 per person; $31.75 includes Halloween themed attractions as well as unlimited Bayville Adventure Park rides
INFO 516-624-4678;
Bayville’s attractions geared to younger kids include the Halloween Express Train Ride around the park, the Pumpkin Bounce, the Pumpkin Patch, where kids can choose and purchase a pumpkin, Halloween arts and crafts, Halloween witch and pirate characters for photo opportunities, Halloween storytelling and hermit crab races. The price also includes Uncle Needle’s Fun House and Mirror Maze as well as the Temple of Terror, both without the usual live actors, says co-owner Anne Finley. These attractions are separate from Bayville’s six scarier nighttime options, which include, for instance, Bloodworth Haunted Mansion, Curse of the Zombie Pirates and Uncle Needle’s Fun House with live actors.

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