The night of mischief surrounding Halloween seemed to often get out of hand when I was a child. While we were out collecting candy and anticipating the pleasures to follow, fire trucks and police vehicles were constantly on the run. It forever warped for me the definition of mischief. I could only guess that for children it meant rascally behavior like soaping windows, and for young adults it meant burning barns and vacant houses.
I didn’t know at the time that it was nothing new. The region’s old newspapers are filled with articles about Halloween arson, often referred to as mischief, dating back more than a hundred years. » Continue Reading.
Harry Potter rode one during the Quidditch matches at Hogwarts. The Wicked Witch of the West zipped around on one in the Wizard of Oz.
We’re talking, of course, about witch’s brooms. No one knows exactly why witches were associated with with flying brooms. But the trope is remarkably persistent. The witch is the perennial favorite in Halloween costume popularity rankings, and she always carries a broom, generally a twiggy bundle with a handle that doesn’t look like it would do much for a floor.
But there’s another type of witch’s broom. This one grows on trees, or, more specifically, from the tree. It’s a tightly-packed mass of shoots, a deformity caused by organisms that have invaded the tree, or a genetic mutation.
This weekend seems to be the Adirondack kick-off for all things spooky. For my household of scaredy-cats, I look for a range of events that we can enjoy a thrilling adventure without sacrificing my dignity.
One activity that seems to hold the attention of every age is a trip to the corn maze. Getting lost through those corn stalk twists and turns provides hours of fun. Now with Halloween around the corner these various locations are upping the thrills with evening scares and flashlight nights. Here are a few of my family’s favorite spots. » Continue Reading.
It seems that every big city now has a “ghost tour,” but here in the Adirondacks we have our very own ghost town. And what could be more appropriate than a Halloween tour of a ghost town?
Iron ore was discovered on the banks of the upper Hudson in 1826 and two businessmen, Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson, soon developed a mining operation that they conducted with varying success for the next three decades. To house the workers, a nearby village was built and named McIntyre, then renamed Adirondac around 1840.
McIntyre’s Adirondack Iron & Steel Company came to an end in 1858, and so did the village. Reasons for their demise include the difficulty in transporting iron from such a remote mountain location, impurities in the ore that made it difficult to process, a downturn in the global economy, a devastating flood that washed out the dams, and McIntyre’s death. The settlement of Adirondac again changed names, now being called simply “the deserted village.” » Continue Reading.
Right now I have three oversized bags of candy hidden on a shelf in my kitchen, waiting to be opened on Halloween. I’m sure my children are thinking that they will be eating everything that remains after I pass out most of it to the waves of tiny princesses, goblins and super heroes on Friday night. My kids don’t get a lot of candy, but they aren’t feeling neglected either. I’ve always asked my kids to divide their candy into a pile to keep and a pile to give away.
I understand the logic that there is no such thing as “leftover candy.” I do think there is something as too much. I also understand that Halloween candy seems to have an infinite shelf life. Even though every event doesn’t have to be a lesson, I feel that when my children are faced with an obscene amount of treats, it is exactly the time to make sure something is given back. » Continue Reading.
The approach of Halloween together with recent news that the last scheduled criminal case stemming from the arrests of hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protestors had been dismissed, has swung the spotlight of history back on New York’s anti-mask law.
It was one of the first tools used by New York City police to break up the Occupy Wall Street protest when it began in September, two years ago. Within days of donning Guy Fawkes masks, demonstrators were charged by police for violating the anti-mask law, section 240.35(4) of the New York Penal Law. Its origins go back to a statute passed in 1845 to suppress armed uprisings by tenant farmers in the Hudson Valley who were using disguises to attack law enforcement officers. » Continue Reading.
Personally, I prefer to celebrate Halloween passing out the candy while wearing a tiara and a pair of wings without getting any quizzical looks from the neighbors. The other members of my family prefer to look to the pagan holiday as a test of bravery. Haunted houses, corn maze Fright Nights or Zombie Runs aren’t the only means to look fear in eye.
For some Halloween-themed ideas around the Adirondacks try An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe stories at Pendragon Theatre on October 30 at 7 pm and November 1 at 9 pm. Costumes are encouraged for readings of selected works of Poe’s short stories including a Tell-Tale Heart.
I am not one that searches out various ways to be frightened. I have to dial down my 10-year-old’s enthusiastic Halloween decorating, not for lack of creativity, but because I don’t want to be terrified entering my own house.
I’ll compromise with a few fake spider webs draped across the porch because we more often than not have the real thing hanging around anyway. As far as activities go, the Great Adirondack Corn Maze in Gabriels manages to thrill all ages and fear levels of my family. » Continue Reading.
I take a break from economics, tourism and telecommuting this week to honor my favorite holiday, Halloween, and the fear and imagination it is meant to celebrate.
It is a crisp Adirondack morning, barely six AM and the water is glass. A dense mist hangs on the lake and the air is heavy with silence. Just a few yards into my paddle across to Osprey Island the canoe has become enveloped, leaving me to make the trip only on instinct and the experience of dozens of similar journeys. There is nothing but white to be seen, that and the slate gray surface of the water, disturbed only slightly by the ripples spreading out from the bow. » Continue Reading.
Halloween is that time of the year when ghosts, ghouls and goblins roam freely, with scary things that go bump in the night being the norm more than any other time of the year (with the possible exception of Election Day). The Adirondacks are not immune to these horrors either, with greedy land developers, unhappy hunting clubs and a multitude of other concerns terrorizing even the most steely backcountry adventurer.
Unfortunately, it appears another horrifying threat has reared its ugly head in the Adirondack backcountry. No, it is not Bigfoot, the Mothman or even Champie; it is the deadly hantavirus. News of this new threat arrived just in time for Halloween, as if Hurricane Sandy was not enough. But, is this a real threat, or is this just another case of media hype, an outgrowth of society’s rampant hypersensitivity? » Continue Reading.
My family puts a lot of time into children’s Halloween costumes. It seems that my kids start planning the next year’s theme the moment they take off the previous year’s getup. They continue to use those costumes in an ever growing and more sophisticated dress-up bin. Though most scary Halloween events may not be for the very young, we look for opportunities that entertain a wide variety of ages where we can showcase the new costumes.
In the Champlain Valley, the Lakeside School at Black Kettle Farm in Essex has a wonderful treat planned. Award winning author and illustrator Steven Kellogg will be onsite from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm on October 20th. Adults and children alike will enjoy Kellogg’s storytelling as he draws on an oversized drawing pad, quickly sketching one of his stories through a series of vignettes. » Continue Reading.
Over the next two weekends, October 13-14 and 20–21 the Adirondack Scenic Railroad will be hosting it’s third annual Pumpkin Train. The trains will be departing the Thendara (Old Forge) Station at 10 am, 11:15 am, 12:30 pm, 1:45 pm and 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays rain or shine.
Each train will travel North to the former site of the New York Central’s Carter Station. Along the way children will be on the lookout for ghosts and goblins and have an opportunity to win a jar of candy. At Carter Station, families can leave the train at Wally’s Pumpkin Patch. » Continue Reading.
Halloween is a unique time for New York History sites around the state as many of them transform themselves into spooky places to learn a little history. Costumed historic interpreters, cemetery tours, and the haunted history of restless spirits and unexplained events are all on tap for this Halloween at Adirondack history locations.
What follows is a listing of some of the most interesting, scariest, and fun-filled that are occurring around Halloween night. Ticonderoga: Discover the unexplained past at Fort Ticonderoga’s Flashlight Nights, Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29 from 7 pm until 9 pm. This family-fun fall program will uncover Fort Ticonderoga’s layers of history and haunted stories at night in the Fort, on the landscape and in the 6-acre corn maze. The nighttime tours of the Fort will be led by costumed historic interpreters and will allow guests to enter areas of the fort where unexplained events have occurred. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 years and under. To guarantee a ticket, reserve a space for this special program by calling (518) 585-2821. Gates open at 6:30 pm and tours begin at 7:00 pm. Tickets are also available at the door the evening of the event between 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Bring your own flashlights. Flashlights required.
Elizabethtown: Adirondack History Center Museum is offering a program about Paranormal Discoveries on Saturday, October 29 at 4:00pm. The program begins with a report from Champlain & Adirondack Paranormal Investigations on their findings of paranormal activities at the museum. Jim Thatcher, Lead Investigator from Champlain & Adirondack Paranormal Investigations (CHAPI), will talk about their night at the museum on July 1, 2011. He will discuss the CHAPI team, their set-up, equipment and findings. Following the paranormal report, there will be a tour of the upper floor of the museum where unexplained activities occurred. Cider and donuts will be served. Come in costume – you may win a prize. Admission for the program is $5 for adults and $2 for students. The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown, NY. Please call the museum for reservations at (518) 873-6466.
Saranac Lake: Saturday, October 29 at 1:00pm, local storyteller Bob Seidenstein will lead a tour of Pine Ridge Cemetery in Saranac Lake. Pine Ridge Cemetery is a microcosm of the history of Saranac Lake from its earliest settlement, through the village’s busy years as a health resort, to the present day. The cemetery began as a burial place for the Moody family, Saranac Lake’s first settlers. It grew to encompass the old St. Bernard’s Cemetery and the Hebrew Memorial Cemetery, as well as the lots surrounding them. Many of Saranac Lake’s prominent doctors are buried here, along with Norwegian Seamen, guideboat builders, and architects. Admission for the tour is $10 per person to benefit Historic Saranac Lake and the Pine Ridge Cemetery Association, a volunteer organization which maintains the historic cemetery. The tour will meet at 1:00 at the vault on the cemetery grounds.
Saratoga: Halloween Party and Car Show at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, October 29, 10 am to 2 pm. Dress up the car, yourself, and the kids, or don’t dress up at all. Candy bags, goody bags and fun for the whole family. Awards for the Best Dressed Cars and children’s costumes. Vehicle registration of $15.00 includes admission passes for the driver plus one, including the Museum’s new Porsche Exhibit. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located at 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. For more information contact Peter Perry at (518)-587-1935 ext. 17 or [email protected]
Located in the foothills of the Adirondacks, The Ekurb Players are pulling together the last minute details for their annual Mystical Forest at Sellers Park in Burke, N.Y.
Formed in 2007, The Ekrub Players (Ekrub is Burke spelled backwards) is a not-for-profit Children’s performance group focusing on creative ways to bring families together and get children outside. The Mystical Forest event is one of the first programs the group started when it opened its doors in 2007. Co-Founder and President Gina Strachan says, “A lot of our inspiration comes from Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods. My husband and I moved from Vermont and found out that there weren’t a lot of child-related activities in the area. We are developing other children’s programs so check out the website. My family had participated in a variety of productions in other places as well in Vermont.”
The Mystical Forest will take place at Sellers Park in Burke. Over 500 carved pumpkins will light the trails as costumed “Spirit Guides” lead groups of up to 20 people through the woods. A tour leaves every 10 minutes and every tour lasts about an hour.
“This is not a gory, horror trail,” assures Strachan. “This is a story trail. People will be led through the forest for an hour tour to various skits led by costumed volunteers. We even received the rights from J K Rowling to do a Harry Potter skit based on The Tale of the Three Brothers. Snow White, Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood are a few of the other familiar characters families can look forward to seeing.”
According to Strachan a special addition is the group The Tales from Remikreh, sword -fighting re-enactors, that have performed in Alexandria Bay for the past 16 years. She recommends that people dress for a walk in the woods and appropriately for the weather. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and children under 5 are free.
There will be food available for purchase such as hamburgers and hotdogs, drinks as well as a sweet treat vendor. The tour schedule is as follows: Friday, October 21 from 6;30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Saturday, October 22 from 6:30 -.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 23 from noon to 3:30 p.m. No reservations are required. If you bring a canned good to benefit the local food pantry you can save $1 on admission. There is plenty of parking available.
Sellers Park is located on Route 11 in Burke. Strachan recommends you “just follow the ghost signs along Route 11 and you won’t miss it.”
Photo: The Ekrub Players’ Mystical Forest Ghost (Courtesy Diane Chase)
The Adirondack History Center Museum is offering ghost stories, haunting music and a book signing on Saturday, October 30 at 4:00pm. The program begins with stories of Essex County ghosts by storyteller Karen Glass. Ms. Glass is Keene Valley town librarian and a member of the Adirondack Storytellers’ Guild and the League of New England Storytellers.
Haunting music will accompany the storytelling. Following the ghost stories, there is a book signing by author Cheri Farnsworth of her book Adirondack Enigma: The Depraved Intellect & Mysterious Life of North Country Wife Killer Henry Debosnys. Henry Debosnys was the last person hanged in Essex County in 1883. His skull, noose, drawings and a pass to his execution are exhibited at the museum. Cider and donuts will be served at the program. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for members. Students 18 and under are free. Please call the museum for reservations at (518) 873-6466.
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