Dare to be scared! Halloween highlights in Rochester, NY


You might well expect us to say it; but it’s true – Rochester is a decidedly brilliant destination to visit whatever the time of year. Spring, summer, winter or fall; there’s simply so much to see and do in our city. From terrific exhibits at marvellous museums and galleries to delicious dishes at renowned restaurants and eateries, we do excel when it comes to serving up our visitors’ wishes and demands – and that extends too to holidays, not least Halloween. So, if your visit to our patch of Western New York is going to coincide with October 31st you and yours certainly won’t be short of spooky things to get up to; we can guarantee it…!

Pumpkin Fiesta at Becker Farms

(3760 Quaker Rd, Gasport NY 14067/ 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th September and October 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th October; 12noon-5pm)

A great way to get your kids involved in the harvest season, Becker Farms’ Pumpkin Fiesta is a family-friendly event – and then some. Taking place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons throughout September and October, it involves lots of child-friendly activities, as well as live music from 1pm to 4pm and wine-, beer-, cider- and dessert wine-tasting (for the adults in attendance, of course) for a small price. And, indeed, that’s worth noting because general admission to the farm – as well as parking, should you be travelling by car – is entirely free. All the same, perhaps the biggest incentive for attending is the farms’ famed chicken BBQ and ribs. Mmm, delicious!

Trail of Terror

(10042 S. River Rd, Hunt NY 14846/ 29th September and 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th October; 7.30-11.30pm)

A proper ‘scary’ evening out, this one; thus, one designed specifically for teenagers, young adults and those older (not one for the kiddies!). Something of a unique haunted attraction too, in that it sees participants riding a bus to an (ahem) corn field, where they’re dropped off to, yes, find their way out. Entirely safe – don’t worry! – but guaranteed to comprise a roster of thrills, chills and spills, the people behind this event’ll also be running a children-friendly version on Sunday 28th October between 12noon and 4pm), which invites the little tykes taking part to trick-or-treat and collect arms of goodies, get their faces painted and enjoy hearse rides and wagon rides before they return home – or, indeed, to wherever they and their parents are staying (say, in town at the Rochester Riverside Hotel).

Haunted Hayrides of Greater Rochester

(3329 Eddy Rd, Williamson NY 14589/ 28th and 29th September and 5th October; 7-10.30pm)

A long-standing favourite in the Rochester area when it comes to Halloween-themed events, the Haunted Hayride’s been around for years now and shows no signs of, er, giving up the ghost. A 35-minute-long slice of scary, escapist entertainment, it actually has its roots in a once-upon-a-time grisly real-life event. And, yes, it is haunted! Join your wagon master then as he tries to guide you safely through the long, eerily dark winding roads of the DeFisher Apple Orchards. The official blurb announces that ‘Haunted Hayrides of Greater Rochester is not responsible for your long-term mental health’; make of that what you will – but, apparently, in previous years those who’ve gone on the rides have told tales of encountering ghosts, ghouls, phantoms and demons. Hmm, not for the faint-hearted then…?

Nightmare Manor

(3333 W. Henrietta Rd, Southtown Plaza, Henrietta NY 14467/ open: 7.30-9.30pm Thursday and Sunday; 7.30pm-12.30am Friday and Saturday)

Finally, who could turn their terrified nose up at this venue in the run up to October 31st; not when they learn it’s been named Rochester’s best haunted house for four years in a row! And, tailoring to visitors of all ages as it does, it’s also an ideal attraction at the Halloween holiday for kids and teenagers (those aged 9-12 and up), as well as adults who can’t resist the slight jump and bump in the night! Perfect indoor fun for all the family then and great for parties during your time away in Western New York.