The haunting season is here and live-action attractions on Long Island are ready to scare. Keep in mind each venue has been rearranged for safety and social distancing. Remember: masks are a must! Here’s a ghoulish guide to help you through:
WARNING Each of these haunts are very scary. Venues tend to post age guidelines, however it’s up to each parent or guardian to determine what their child can handle. Adults, this style of entertainment is not for the weak.
Boo (1 skull)
Scary (2 skulls)
Intense (3 skulls)
Terrifying (4 skulls)
GATEWAY’S HAUNTED PLAYHOUSE
THE LOWDOWN This year, Gateway has moved its main haunt to Southaven County Park in Yaphank for an immersive drive-through horror experience in place of its traditional indoor Haunted Playhouse. "The intensity will be the same as it’s been," says managing director Paul Allan.
Follow a storyline through your car radio as over 40 live actors perform from sets outside your window in this 30-minute attraction. "We are going for a certain creepy vibe," says Allan. "There’s abandoned campgrounds, old carnival grounds, an old graveyard and existing stories in the area that we are going to be building on."
NEW THIS YEAR Continuing with the outdoors theme, "Brigand’s Run" is a wooden industrial warehouse-style maze entrenched by evil pirates on Gateway’s property in Bellport. Try to get out as you dodge live actors, animatronics and special effects. In the daylight, the attraction turns into the "Not-So-Scary Halloween Adventure" where little ones can meet the Mummy, Frankenstein and a witch.
For more horror, catch a throwback late-night horror drive-in movies such as "Saw," "The Cabin in the Woods" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" on Gateway’s grounds. Early evening family-friendly Halloween selections ("Hocus Pocus," "Halloweentown" and "Frankenweenie") are offered as well.
FRIGHT FACTOR Terrifying (4 skulls)
TIPS Advance ticket purchase required for timed entry, no sales at the door.
WHEN | WHERE Oct. 2-3, 9-11, 15-18, 22-25 and 29-31; Drive-in movies (held at 215 South Country Rd., Bellport): 7 and 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays; "Brigand’s Run" (held at 215 S. Country Rd, Bellport) and "The Forgotten Road" (at 761 Victory Ave., Yaphank) will be open 7 to 11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays ("Brigand’s Run" only Oct. 1 from 7 to 10 p.m.); "Not-So-Scary Halloween Adventure" (at 215 S. Country Rd., Bellport) will be open on Oct. 17-18, 24-25 and 31 from noon to 4 p.m.
INFO 631-286-1133, fearli.com
ADMISSION Drive-in movies: $40 per car; "Brigand’s Run": $20 per person (minimum of four per group); "The Forgotten Road": $40 per car; "Not-So-Scary Halloween Adventure": $10 per person. Tickets are set for specific times and must be purchased online in advance.
CHAMBERS OF HELL
THE LOWDOWN Be prepared for triple scares in this three-part horror extravaganza. First up is the "Funhouse of Fear" featuring a circus of chaos run by carnival freaks. Move onto "Primevil," which is set in an underground mine shaft where primordial creatures reside in catacomb tunnels. The trilogy concludes with the ‘70s slasher film vibe of "The Redhook Massacre," which is set in a southern mansion run by a family of cannibals.
"There’s even an audience interaction portion in the haunt," says co-owner Robert Frankenberg. "You get to choose how the storyline plays out."
NEW THIS YEAR Check out the new merch store online selling Chambers of Hell cellphone cases, leggings, tote bags, T-shirts, hoodies, pillows and stickers.
FRIGHT FACTOR Intense-plus (3.8 skulls)
TIPS You'll have your temperature checked and be scanned with a disinfectant wand as you enter as part of coronavirus precautions.
WHEN | WHERE Thursdays: 8-10 p.m. Oct. 22 and 29; Fridays: 8-10 p.m. Sept. 25, 8-11 p.m. Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; Saturdays: 8-10 p.m. Sept. 26, 7-11 p.m. Oct. 3, 10 and 17, 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 24 and 31 (Halloween); Sundays: 7-10 p.m. Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25 and Nov. 1, Monday (Columbus Day): 8-10 p.m. Oct. 12 at Matt Guiliano's Play Like a Pro, 1745 Express Dr. North in Hauppauge
INFO 516-710-1845, chambersofhell.com
ADMISSION Sold in 4-packs $140 ($35 per person). Tickets are set for specific times and must be purchased online in advance.
SCHMITT’S FARM HAUNT
THE LOWDOWN After years of experimentation, Schmitt’s is pulling out the classics in this greatest hits haunted house.
"We brought back our clown room as well as our gigantic spinning tunnel," says co-manager/co-designer Joey Simpson. "There’s also a big animatronic head coming at you at one point."
Don’t miss a trip into the haunted corn trail where live evil characters are lurking in the 13-foot corn stalks plus creepy animatronics at every turn.
NEW THIS YEAR Try your hand at the new Zombie Brain Smash Carnival Game. Use the hammer to catapult a brain to the top of a zombie’s head ($5 for 5 tries).
FRIGHT FACTOR Terrifying (4 skulls)
TIPS For the ultimate scary vibe, go through the Haunted House on one of the Lights Out Nights (7-10 p.m., Oct. 12 and 22).
"The entire house is pitch dark — there’s no lights or animatronics," says Simpson. "You are in small groups of 2-3 people with a battery powered lantern as your only source of light to guide you through. The actors can go completely wild!"
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays (Oct. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 30-31), 7-11 p.m. Sundays (Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25) and Thursdays (Oct. 22 and 29), 7-10 p.m. Monday Columbus Day (Oct. 12) at 26 Pinelawn Rd. in Melville
INFO 631-271-3276, schmittsfarmhaunt.com
ADMISSION $37.99 for haunted house and corn trail. Tickets are set for specific times and must be purchased online in advance.
BAYVILLE SCREAM PARK
THE LOWDOWN Six haunted attractions await on the North Shore ranging from Bloodworth Haunted Mansion to Uncle Needles' Funhouse of Fear in 3D to Temple of Terror maze.
"You can spend an entire evening here. It’s an event," says owner D.R. Finley. "We utilize animation, special effects, sound effects and professional live actors. There’s also a detailed mythology and history of all the characters for each attraction."
Get caught in an outdoor walking path filled with escaped lunatics as part of Evil in the Woods. If you dare, enter The Cage to face bloodthirsty cannibals while Bayville Haunted Asylum features patients who have been experimented on by the evil Dr. Barrington Bay.
NEW THIS YEAR Stay in your car for the outdoor Drive-In Horror Movie Experience, where something goes wrong during a screening while you are trapped in your own vehicle.
FRIGHT FACTOR Terrifying (4 skulls)
TIPS Best to come on off-peak nights (Mondays-Thursdays, plus post-Halloween) when it’s less crowded and the tickets are cheaper.
WHEN | WHERE Open off-peak nights: Sept. 25-27, Oct. 2-4, 12, 15, 20-22, 26-29 and Nov. 1, 6-8; Peak Nights: Oct. 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30-31 (times vary each night) at 8 Bayville Ave., Bayville.
INFO 516-624-4678, bayvillescreampark.com
ADMISSION Three attraction combo Non-Peak Nights: $42.75, Peak Nights: $47.75; six attraction combo Non-Peak Nights: $49.75, Peak Nights: $54.75; Drive-In Horror Movie Experience: $29.75 per person. Tickets are set for specific times and must be purchased online in advance.
DARKSIDE HAUNTED HOUSE
THE LOWDOWN Old-school is the theme of this year’s haunt as Darkside is dialing back to its late ‘90s roots.
"As time went on and people got used to being in haunted houses, the interaction got closer and more personal. Because of COVID, we’ve had to step back from that," says owner Mike Meola. "But, we know how to scare, it’s just a different type. Our environment is so immersive. Once you come inside, you are in our world."
NEW THIS YEAR The haunt has redesigned all its rooms and hallways to be more roomy and spacious to allow for proper social distancing.
FRIGHT FACTOR Intense-plus (3.5 skulls)
TIPS Due to reduced capacity there’s a limited number of tickets this year therefore it’s good to buy them early.
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays (Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30), 6 p.m.-midnight Saturdays (Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31) and 6-10 p.m. Sundays (Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25) plus 7-11 p.m. Oct. 15, 22, 28 and 29 at 5184 NY-25A in Wading River (GPS users: put in Calverton)
INFO 631-369-7227, darksideproductions.com
ADMISSION Sold only in 4-packs $140, 5-packs $175 and 6-packs $205. Tickets are set for specific times and must be purchased online in advance.
THE LOWDOWN Everything ranges from frightening to family-friendly at Spooky Fest, which benefits The Center for Science, Teaching and Learning in Rockville Centre.
The Scary Walk goes deep into the Haunted Woods where you never know what's waiting.
"Things haunt you from ground level and above," says director RayAnn Havasy. "The story goes … some people got lost in the woods and were victims of a chemical mishap. Now they are living there because they are no longer truly human."
For the younger set there’s the Not-So-Spooky Walk in the open part of the preserve.
"The emphasis is on the colorful part of Halloween," says Havasy. "It’s with friendly dinosaurs and happy witches in a fun maze."
There’s also an arts & crafts area by the entrance courtyard picnic tables where pumpkin art will be made.
NEW THIS YEAR Make sure your kids don’t miss the Halloween UFO.
FRIGHT FACTOR Scary Walk — Intense (3 skulls), Non-Scary Walk — Boo (1 skull)
TIPS Keep an eye out for noted photo stations.
WHEN | WHERE 6:30-9:30 p.m., October 16-18, 23-25, 30-31 and Nov. 1; 1450 Tanglewood Rd. in Rockville Centre
INFO 516-764-0045, cstl.org
ADMISSION $15 all-inclusive, $10 non-scary activities only. Tickets are set for specific times and must be purchased online in advance.
SPOOKY WALK’S HAUNTED DRIVE-THRU
THE LOWDOWN COVID-19 changed Spooky Walk to a Spooky Drive-Thru when 200 volunteer actors put on 10 frightening scenes throughout Camp Paquatuck, a camp for children with special needs, in Center Moriches.
"Each exhibit will have its own scenario like Alice in Zombieland, the Living Hell Hospital, Club Boogie and the Haunted Picnic Shelter," says volunteer Marcella Weiss, who has been running the attraction since 1989. "Make sure to have a driver that doesn’t scare easily!"
NEW THIS YEAR Have grab-and-go snacks delivered to your car including homemade candy apples.
FRIGHT FACTOR Scary-plus (2.5 skulls)
TIPS Best to pick a later time slot to ensure less waiting. Check the website for an app to download a scary soundtrack to use in your car.
WHEN | WHERE 7-10 p.m., Oct. 16-17 and 23-24, Camp Paquatuck, 2 Chet Swezey Rd. in Center Moriches.
INFO 631-878-1070, spookywalk.com
ADMISSION $45 per car (no buses). Tickets are set for specific times and must be purchased online in advance.