A variety of family-friendly walks or drive-thru experiences celebrate Halloween 2021, from a journey led by a friendly ghost searching for treats from different countries to an evening walk for families with older kids who might be able to handle surprise characters who make them scream.
Here are four options:
A Not-So-Scary Adventure
Gateway’s Not-So-Scary Adventure for Kids in Bellport is a family-friendly outdoor walk featuring actors playing friendly ghosts and witches or jack-o-lantern man; characters change daily and interact with games, jokes and trivia. Characters may also include children’s theater favorites. The attraction, now in its 12th year, runs between noon and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Halloween and costs $10 per person. Walk takes approximately 20 minutes. Advance ticket purchase is required, as are masks. 215 South Country Rd., 631-286-1133, thegateway.org.
Otto the Friendly Ghost
Otto the Ghost takes kids on an all-new journey this year at Hick’s Nursery in Westbury as the friendly character travels the world in search of tasty treats. An animatronic Otto visits Ireland for Barmbrack (sweet bread made with raisins), China for Tanghulu (a candied fruit snack) and the U.S. Hawaiian islands for shaved ice (fine, snow-like particles of ice covered with flavored syrup). The indoor circuit has five stops and takes about 10 minutes to complete. "Otto’s Sweet Journey" is free, but Hicks asks that visitors bring a nonperishable food item to be donated to Long Island Cares. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily though Oct. 31. On weekends, take a socially distanced photo with a live Otto, also free, from 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. Masks are required indoors. 100 Jericho Tpke., 516-334-0066, hicksnurseries.com.
A View from the Car
Take a five-minute, five-mile-per-hour drive through an area of the parking lot at Stew Leonard’s in Farmingdale that’s been transformed into a holiday-themed route with inflatables and cutouts. Tune your radio to the station playing Halloween music. It’s free and open during grocery store hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, says Joe Lisk, store manager. 261 Airport Plaza Blvd., 516-962-8210, stewleonards.com.
Ready For a Fright
If your kids are a little older and ready for a little more of a scary experience, the Halloween Spooktacular at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown offers a choice of three trails from 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 30 recommended for ages 7 and older. There’ll also be eerie animal presentations, a ghostly graveyard, creepy games and scary music. On the scream trail, hidden figures will jump out to scare people. The tunnel of terror leads to a "science lab gone wrong," says program coordinator Veronica Sayers. And a glowing lantern and jack-o-lantern trail leads to the ghostly graveyard. All events are outdoors, and refreshments are available for purchase. $15 per person. Tickets should be purchased online in advance, as event does sell out. There’s no rain date but tickets purchased for one night can be used on the other night if it rains or there is rain in the forecast, Sayers says. 62 Eckernkamp Dr., 631-979-6344, sweetbriarnc.org.