Headless Horseman is a farm in Ulster Park, NY that does a Haunted Hayride, 3 Haunted Houses, and a Haunted Corn Maze. Harknell and I made the 2.5 hour drive from New Jersey to Ulster Park, NY to check this out on this past weekend. It was voted “#1 Haunt in America” by Hauntworld.com and featured on the travel channel.
If these guys are #1, the bar must be set at my ass.
Headless Horseman has a lot of ridiculousness. The first one I encountered was the “NO CAMERAS ALLOWED” rule. You can’t snap any sort of photo of anything at all inside their facility. They will confiscate your cell phone if you so much as take one photo of you and your friends in line for a haunted house.
This is not a deal-breaker by itself, but it sure takes the fun out of going to a Halloween event. There was a cool demon guy with a pet vulture that I would have loved to get my picture with, but since I didn’t have a camera I didn’t even care that he was at the event. They don’t even have photographers there so that you can buy a photo. This is inexplicable to me.
Parking and Tickets:
Parking went smoothly. There weren’t that many people here since we arrived early, but for some unknown reason, the line of about 40 people wasn’t moving at all. They had 2 windows open and were taking tickets for at least a half an hour, but they weren’t able to complete the transactions very fast at all. They had to open a third window just to handle 40 people. By the time they got the window open, about 100 people were in line behind us.
It was a real mess. People started making their own line to the new window – cutting all of us in line. Security wasn’t there to control the line at all. A customer told the people to get to the back of the line. This worked until 5 minutes later security finally came out and told everyone to make 3 lines. Pandemonium ensued. By that time I was through the line – thank god. I would have been very mad if I were one of the people waiting there all that time who had gotten stampeded by people. It was completely disrespectful to the customers who had been already waiting to tell everyone to just make 3 lines like that.
After going through their metal detector and getting patted down, you enter the main area. This place is actually quite cute. There are about 3 Halloween craft shops. One shop sold some interesting decorations, but the others sold basically dollar store snakes and spiders. There was a baked goods place that sold pre-made items and a hot food vendor.
After a 2.5 hour drive, we had to use the restroom and get some dinner before going on the Hayride attraction. This is where the second Big Problem occurred.
They have 3 port-o-johns, but there is almost no light in the area so you have to use them in the dark. There is also absolutely no way at all to wash your hands. We went to ask if there were sinks or hand sanitizer stations. After being led on a wild goose chase and actually getting a really bad attitude from at least one person, we learned that no, there is no way to wash your hands.
I was really rubbed the wrong way by the nasty attitude I experienced. There is really no need for that.
I’ve been to so many of these farm haunts. I’ve been to many Ren Faires, campsites, and music festivals…they all had some way to sanitize your hands! What is the deal here? No wonder almost no one was buying any food.
It boggles the mind that Headless Horseman spent money on a joke port-o-john that is full of fake poop and explodes when you open and shut the door…but can’t so much as add one portable hand washing station. I guess that shows where their priorities are.
We were absolutely starving, so we ended up ordering stuff that we could eat without touching. This was really Not Fun.
I decided to put the employee’s hostile attitude and the bathroom hands behind me and enjoy myself on the Hayride since I paid over $30 for this. Unfortunately, the Hayride was the worst Hayride I have ever been on. The theme was the Body Farm even though it says “Rage of the Hollowmen” on their website. I have no idea. Did they forget to update their website? Harknell says he thinks that maybe he saw one guy dressed as a tree somewhere. What?
Our hayride was led through some very lackluster scenes of..I don’t know what. There was no real theme tying these all together. We had a guy on the hayride doing a narration that kind of gave us the idea that he was a Mad Doctor who was bringing us to be killed…but the scenes were just inexplicable. First there was some random guy with a white face, then there was some lady spraying water and some talk about water poisoning, then there was some kind of abandoned village. Finally there was a Headless Horseman that chased us…WHY? WHAT DOES THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN HAVE TO DO WITH THE BODY FARM!!? NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE.
Here’s an idea..the farm is called Headless Horseman..how about making the hayride be completely HEADLESS HORSEMAN THEMED?
Not many scareactors came to chase us, and absolutely no one was screaming or getting into it. I tried to get into it…but…I just couldn’t pretend to be scared very long. Everyone on my car was bored. They dropped us off at the first Haunted House. There was another sizable line, where we heard a few other groups talking about how badly the Hayride sucked and got to commiserate about whatever it was that we just saw. We still don’t know.
The first house was Gluttony Slaughterhouse. They should have named it: A Really Terrible Way to Recycle Busted Flashlights.
This house is pitch black. The schtick is that they give your group flashlights, but only one works. I’m guessing that they had a lot of dead lights from last year and rather than spending the money to replace them they decided to write it into the script.
This was the WORST IDEA EVER. They grouped us with 2 guys and Harknell had the working light. Well…HALF WAY THROUGH THE HOUSE HIS LIGHT BURNT OUT AND WE HAD NO WAY OF MOVING OR SEEING ANYTHING! There was no security or anyone there to help us. We even stopped and said “Hey guys, this isn’t funny we seriously just lost our only light and we are stuck” and no one came to help us because we were in an area without any scareactors and no one could hear us. That was actually scary in a Not Cool way. What if something serious happened to us in there? If it weren’t for our cell phones that we thought to use as flashlights, we would have just been stuck there.
The Corn Maze and Greenhouse:
The corn maze was OK, but nothing super special. A few scareactors in here were very funny and gave us a good laugh. One guy chased Harknell for like 5 minutes while I laughed my ass off and another one did this hilarious dance at us. I have to say that these specific employees were the bright spot of the night.
The Greenhouse is being billed as a single haunted house to up their attraction count. It’s really just a 25 ft. hallway with 3 people inside it pretending to be insanely attached to their plants. That was just not worth even going into.
Flesh they Crave and Blood Manor Haunted Houses:
Flesh they Crave wasn’t absolutely terrible like the Slaughterhouse, but I’m not sure it would be scary for anyone above the age of 7. The same thing goes for Blood Manor. BM had this check in desk that sort of functioned as a pre-show area..but did almost nothing with it except for some speech about us checking in. The result of this area was that it made the line longer and didn’t do much at all to add to any story.
Like all the other houses at this event, it seemed that they would just throw the kitchen sink at you with no rhyme or reason. There’s a chainsaw guy, zombie, witch, intestines person, a crazy doll, Freddy….what’s next? Bill Clinton and Liza Minelli? Krusty the Klown? None of the scares were very inspired and you could see them coming a mile away. By the end of the night I couldn’t even pretend to be scared. All of the attractions at HH seemed like a walkway past some vignettes in a museum rather than a haunt.
The worst part about the way this event is set up is that you must go through all the houses in order nonstop. There are no breaks in between until you get to the last house. Before the last house there is a stage area where there is a show and a few gift shops. What they do not tell you is that when you go through the last house – you cannot return to that area. Most people want to get all of the houses out of the way before shopping or watching the stage show. I found out when it was too late that I missed being able to explore that area and that I could not return to it.
This was the point where Harknell and I just decided to cut our losses and never come back to this place. I really wanted to like Headless Horseman, but there is so much wrong with this event that the sum total of my night was just disappointment and the feeling that I was ripped off. Given that I’m such a raging haunt fangirl, you have to go REALLY far to make me feel this way.
In my opinion it is really not worth going to unless you live nearby. It’s certainly not worth the price they are asking. They cost the same as elaborate events like Busch Gardens Howl O Scream and a discounted Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights ticket. That’s INSANE.
Headless Horseman gets 1 Onezumi Head from me:
It gets 1.5 Onezumi Heads from Harknell:
If you want a good farm event like this that is worth a drive – try Bates Motel in PA. Bates has less attractions, but they are all very high-quality and high-scare. I went there last year and had a blast. I hope to go again.
Oni Hartstein is an New Jersey-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Marketing, Music, and Technology. Please direct all business inquiries or technology review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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