In October, not even the water is safe. Halloween fans can now get terrified on the haunted Carmans River in Brookhaven.
“This is a different adventure than a regular haunted house,” says Brad DeSantis, owner of Carmans River Canoe & Kayak II, which is organizing the experience. “When you go out on the river in the dark, it’s very scary because you hear everything. Then we add other factors to make it even more intense.”
The fictitious premise of the haunt is that someone on the Moonlight Paddle tours got separated from the group and has gone missing.
“The patrons who are coming to the Haunted River Tour are part of the search party,” says DeSantis. “Then they realize there’s an evil spirit out there that is taking people off the river.”
A film clip featuring the character Sir Hugh Harrington, Professor of Mythology, Paranormal Activity and the Occult, sets the stage for participants, filling them in on the tale of a jilted bride who was left at the altar by Samuel Carman because he went on to marry into a wealthy family. Now she seeks . . . revenge!
“There are tales of her in forest isolation, embracing the dark art and forming a cult of witches that became one with the trees, the moss and the waters of the river,” Harrington says in the video. “Embark from the dock at your own risk!”
The tour starts on land where guests might run into a familiar horror film face near a well before venturing onto a boat that holds four to six people, led by a driver who narrates as he navigates the river.
“You get to see the porthole to the underworld, where the spirit came out of, making the entire river system haunted,” says DeSantis. “Halfway through the ride, things go awry.”
Along the way, illuminated spooky scenes float in the water and live actors are submerged in the river ready to attack. The boat goes through two tunnels underneath Sunrise Highway, then heads south under Montauk Highway venturing a quarter-mile out.
Guests get off the boat and head into the woods along a trail where the intensity increases with each frightening scene. There’s a “graveyard boatyard” where more evil awaits, building up to the potboiler corn maze before the surprise ending.
“The maze is tight, so you feel claustrophobic,” says DeSantis. “It’s really dark and dreary.”
Brittany Damasco, 22, of Bay Shore appreciated the way boating was combined with a haunt as she got her biggest scares on the water.
“The actors were entirely in the water jumping out, banging on the boat and hang on it,” says Damasco. “It was very eerie, but exciting.”
Still, there’s one image she can’t get out of her mind.
“They had these two little girls who were dressed as the twins from ‘The Shining’ who were very committed,” she recalls. “They would follow people around, scream at them and whispering things. The girls even followed you to your car!”
Ailsa Massini, 27, of Middle Island says going through the tunnel under Sunrise Highway was intense.
“People come out in different directions to scare you,” says Massini. “I liked the feeling of never knowing what to expect.”
For Carieann Portelli, 39, of Shirley, it was the corn maze that caused tingles up her spine.
“The corn maze has tons of jump scares that can totally make your heart stop,” says Portelli. “It brought me back to the ’80s watching films like ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th.’ I’m ready to go back and do it again.”
HAUNTED RIVER TOUR
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Oct. 17-18, 20-21, 23-31, Nov. 1-4, Carmans River Canoe & Kayak II, 2979 Montauk Hwy., Brookhaven. Ages 13 and younger must be accompanied by a guardian, not recommended for young kids.
INFO 631-803-8698, eventbrite.com
Tickets are sold in time slots and must be purchased in advance. No sales at the door.