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Accessible Travel Series: Halloween in Dutchess

Date Published: October 13, 2023

Halloween is full of spine-chilling fun for kids and adults alike, and here in Dutchess County, there are all sorts of frightfully fantastic events and attractions to celebrate the occasion. From haunted mansions and horror films to cemetery tours and costume parties, Dutchess has something for everyone this spooky season. 

In fact, some of those attractions offer specific features to help those with mobility or sensory challenges get in on the fun. Here is a list of some accessible Halloween events in Dutchess County. 

Have fun and take lots of photos! Share them here and tag @DutchessTourism on social media.  

Sensory-Friendly Shows at the Haunted Fortress of Stanford  

Oct. 15 and 22, 2–4 p.m. at the Haunted Fortress of Stanford, Stanfordville

Created by Peter Wing (of Wing's Castle fame), the Haunted Fortress has been scaring visitors since 1997 and will be open this season on four consecutive weekends beginning Oct. 6. Those brave enough to walk all the way through the creepy swamp will encounter the Train Yard, the Carriage House, the Crooked House, the Caves, the Bottomless Pit, the Village, the Church with its Graveyard, and the Lab. Free, sensory-friendly shows are scheduled on Oct. 15 and 22 from 2–4 p.m., during which guests of all ages can be guided through the entire attraction during the light of day with no creepy music, no actors and no strobe lights.  

The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Poughkeepsie
The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Poughkeepsie

“Hocus Pocus” Sensory-Sensitive Movie Event  

Friday, Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m. at The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Poughkeepsie ThinkDIFFERENTLY invites residents of all abilities and their families to a free, sensory-sensitive screening of the classic Halloween movie, “Hocus Pocus.” The Bardavon will adjust both the lighting and sound to make the experience more enjoyable for those on the autism spectrum or who experience sensory sensitivities. The program will also include closed captioning. Seating is limited; registration is required. 

Cart Available at St. James Episcopal Church Graveyard Tours  

By reservation only at St. James Episcopal Church, Hyde Park 

Tour this 200-year-old churchyard during their seasonal graveyard tours by lantern light and "meet” some of the iconic people who are buried there! Characters dressed in costumes appropriate to their times tell their stories through interactive dialogue. Each year features new stories with connections to local history. Appropriate for ages 5 and older. While not ideal for wheelchairs, walkers or strollers, there will be a golf cart available at no additional charge for those with mobility issues during the 6:30 and 8 p.m. tours. Call the parish office at (845) 229-2820 to reserve the cart. 

Woodland Trail at Stony Kill Farm, Wappingers Falls
Woodland Trail at Stony Kill Farm, Wappingers Falls

Wheelchair Accessible Woodland Trail  

Year-round at Stony Kill Farm, Wappingers Falls 

Stony Kill’s eight-plus miles of scenic trails are open to the public 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. That includes the quarter-mile Woodland Trail, which features an even surface and a gentle incline. It is compliant with the standards laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act, so it can be enjoyed by all! With the splendor of the fall foliage bursting forth and the forest creatures busily preparing for winter, this is a great time of year to venture into the woods! For accessible parking, enter the farm from the south entrance near the pond and follow the signs. Plus, Stony Kill will be hosting its kid-friendly Halloween event, the Stony Kill Spooktacular, on Oct. 28 from 4 – 7 p.m. Enjoy a costumed tour of the not-so-haunted barn, hop on the hay wagon for a ride through the fields at dusk, sit by the fire and enjoy s’mores and treats from the Donuts for Days and Cider Bros. food trucks. Stop by the greenhouse for Slithers and Scales, and if it’s a fright you’re after, dare to walk the Haunted Gardens at night (6 – 7 p.m.).


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