Autumn on Long Island offers the perfect blend of outdoor activities and spooky fun. Let our guide help plan your fall adventure. Be sure to call ahead as event and venue details are subject to change.
Tour Long Island's real "haunted" spots
By now, you know the dark tale behind the Amityville house that inspired "Amityville Horror." But legend has it other Long Island spots are full of spooks, including the Fire Island Lighthouse in Fire Island, the Kings Park Psychiatric Center in Kings Park, Oheka Castle in Huntington and the Glen Cove Mansion in Glen Cove.
Find the perfect pumpkin after dark
Searching for that perfectly shaped pumpkin under the glow of a flashlight is an annual tradition at Organics Today Farm in East Islip. Moonlight pumpkin picking is typically available the last two Friday nights in September and every Friday night in October from 6 to 9 p.m. (169 Washington St., 631-480-6497)
Hear ghost stories at the shop
Fall looks slightly different at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury this season as hayrides, crafts, games and other annual contests won’t be offered due to the pandemic. But a family favorite, Otto the Ghost, will return to tell a new animated story titled "Otto’s Safe Adventure" from Sept. 12 through Nov. 1. Otto will be available for socially distant photo ops on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fall festival treats including apple cider and kettle corn will be available to go. (100 Jericho Tpke., 516-334-0066)
Visit a cider mill
Long Island still has a few cider mills that press fall apples into fresh cider that's a staple of many family traditions. One of the oldest — and busiest — is the Jericho Cider Mill, where people line up to buy it by the gallon. If the mill's signature frozen apple slushie is on offer when you visit, it's worth the sugar rush to try it. (213 Route 106, 516-433-3360)
See a spooky movie under the stars
This past summer, the drive-in movie returned with a splash. Keep the family fun going into the fall with spookier flicks. Bayville Adventure Park screens horror and Halloween-themed movies each Wednesday. Past offerings include the original 1984 "Ghostbusters," "IT Chapter 2" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Tickets are $20 per car; must purchase a minimum of $50 worth of food and beverage to be delivered to the car. (8 Bayville Ave.,516-624-7433).
Eat an apple cider doughnuts
Grab a bag of fresh-baked, warm apple cider doughnuts to go from your favorite East End farm, whether it be Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue, Wickham’s Fruit Farm in Cutchogue or another spot along the way. Call ahead to make sure they haven't run out.
Go on a boozy bike tour
Pedal tours passing by farms and vineyards offer a chance to take in the scenes of the North Fork’s wine country and expanding craft brewery landscape. Reserve a 14-person bike with Brew Crew Cycles, currently accepting private reservations, or bring a group of eight or more for a private cruise around Mattituck with Pour & Pedal. Tours often include various stops at wineries, tastings and lunch. East End Bike Tours offers both private and self-guided bike tours, which sometimes include beachside stops and olive oil tastings.
Walk through a not-so-spooky corn maze
Let a flashlight guide you through a nighttime corn maze that won’t spook the kids. Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck has one that isn’t too scary. Costumed guides will help you through should you desire. ($4-$4.95 admission, 715 Sound Ave., 631-482-7641)
Immerse yourself in a haunted house
Is it really fall if you haven't experienced a good haunt? Long Island is brimming with haunted houses. Of note: Gateway Haunted Playhouse in Bellport, opening Oct. 2, offers a theatrical experience with theater folk entertaining throughout. This year, capacity will be limited to enforce social distancing guidelines. Admission is $35 ($30 advance) and a kid-friendly experience is also available for $15. (215 S Country Rd., 631-286-1133)
Solve a spooky food mystery
Food Done It? mystery tours take over Patchogue this fall, offering a three-to-four-hour experience for private groups of two to 10 people. A $53 per-person scavenger hunt-bar crawl tour gets you a full meal, plus five small bites and two sweet treats along the way. Reserve a tour at fooddoneit.com.
Go on an autumn art walk
Walk the Nassau County Museum of Art's expansive outdoor sculpture exhibit in Roslyn, which offers a downloadable map on its website. The grounds are free admission and include nature trails plus a formal garden. Bring a blanket to sit outside and enjoy the sun. (One Museum Dr.,516-484-9338)
See a scarecrow.
The 30th annual Scarecrow Competition returns to Stony Brook Village, bringing unique characters and other fun-dressed scarecrows to the shopping center through the month of October. You can make your own scarecrow and enter the contest for $25 per entry through Sept. 27. Or, you can drop by and cast a vote for your favorite anytime between Oct. 1 and Oct. 26. The winners will be announced on Oct. 30. Visit stonybrookvvillage.com/what-to-do/events to enter and for more information. (111 Main St. Stony Brook, 631-751-2244)
Go on a historic kayak tour
Paumanok Tours and Tri-Spy Tours offer a 90-minute kayak trip by appointment through October. Get a historical look at marine life and history in the Three Village area while experiencing the beauty of Setauket Harbor and learning about its role in George Washington's spy ring. Tours are $60 per person (631-404-6447).
Shop "Witches Week"
"Witches Week" will take place Oct. 27 through Oct. 30. Shop sales at local stores in Cold Spring Harbor. Every person who patronizes a store in the village will get a raffle ticket for every $25 they spend. Those tickets will be dropped off at the realty’s office at the end of the night, and three raffle winners will be announced on Halloween.
See fall foliage on horseback
Seeing fall’s changing colors doesn’t have to mean heading out for a walk. Take in the sights on horseback during the Babylon Riding Center’s one-hour rides through Belmont Lake State Park. Riders should be at least 12 years old ($75 a person;1500 Peconic Ave., West Babylon; 631-587-7778).
Spend the night glamping
Take camping to a luxury level with tents that include nearly every amenity you’d find at home, including a queen bed, TV, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a refrigerator and a full bathroom and shower. Eastern Long Island Kampground’s Safari Tents include it all, and are remain open for reservations through Oct. 31. Rates vary but are around $250 to $350 per night. If you stay on one of the designated "Halloween weekends" in October (Oct. 16, Oct. 23 or Oct. 30), your experience will include a costume contest and trick or treating within the campground (690 Queen St., Greenport, 631-477-0022).
Hike to Long Island's highest point
The Walt Whitman Trail will bring you up Jayne’s Hill, Long Island’s highest point at 401 feet above sea level. Pack for a hike and take in the views of chestnut, birch, oak and hickory forest while walking the same path famed Long Island poet Walt Whitman took. Starting from the picnic area at West Hills County Park, it's a 3.7-mile loop that's moderately hilly, but rewards with vistas of the trees and the Long Island Sound like no other. (Sweet Hollow Road, Melville)
Go night fishing
Serious anglers go for the biggest catches after dark. On Long Island, that's striped bass, boomer fish known to be two and a half feet long that stay active in our waters until the end of the year. Newbies can get an introduction to the sport aboard any number of party fishing boats, including the Captree Fleet, whose vessels make nighttime excursions that include bait, tackle and expertise. (3500 Ocean Pkwy., Babylon)
Paint a ceramic Halloween tree
Ceramic trees aren't just for Christmastime anymore. DIY arts class company Yaymaker has virtual events slated for this fall that'll have you donning a ceramic creation with whatever Halloween colors and lights you desire. Supplies are shipped to your door after registration. Classes are $79.
Step back in time at Old Bethpage Village Restoration
While there's no Long Island Fair or formal fall season events on the slate this year, the living history museum is a marvel even if you need to see yourself around. The historic grounds are open for self-guided tours Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors must reserve a time slot and purchase tickets in advance. ($15, 1303 Round Swamp Rd., 516-572-8401)