You Decide Your Scare Level

By Alicia Dziak

This time of year means falling leaves, shorter days and of course, Halloween fun! Whether you’re looking for family-friendly activities, or thrills and chills, you’ll find it in Western New York!

Family Fun

Fun for the whole family starts at Pumpkinville, located at 4844 Sugartown Rd. in Great Valley. Pumpkinville, open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Halloween, offers a giant corn maze, hayrides, a corn cannon, cow train, and loads of tasty food options. Enjoy the all-new pedal car track with tractor-themed cars, new a pumpkin “house” big enough to enter, new eatery building and the fabulously fun Jumpin Pillows. With gift shops galore and thousands of pumpkins to choose from, you’ll leave with everything you need to be ready for the season, plus fantastic memories! For more information, visit

Wendel’s Poultry Farm, located at 12466 Vaughn St. (Route 240) in East Concord, offers weekend hay rides, a variety of apple products and hundreds of pumpkins. Stop by before Halloween to take advantage of their famous chicken barbecue! For more information, visit

The second annual HallowScream Spooktacular takes place on Sunday, Oct. 26 in Little Valley. This festive event includes the obstacle run Monster Dash, beginning at 3 p.m., where runners try to complete the course as they’re being chased by monsters ($15 entry, register as either a runner or a monster), and the Pumpkin Derby, where participants decorate a pumpkin and insert two axles and attach four wheels and race them downhill on South Court Street ($5 entry).

There are also several free events like the pumpkin carving contest, a costume parade at 2:15 p.m., a haunted house for the older set held 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. downstairs in the fire hall, and a trick or treat trail for children 12 and under. The day concludes with a martial arts demonstration and a dance performance, both upstairs in the fire hall. There will also be food and craft vendors in the fire hall parking lot throughout the day. For more information, visit

Sky High at Holiday Valley is an experience you won’t soon forget — tackle it at night and it’s even more spooktacular! Night Crawlers After Dark in the Aerial Park takes guests through its ropes, obstacle and zip line courses in the dark, using the provided headlamp as your guide. The 2.5 hour night climb offers start times beginning at 6 p.m. Reservations are required for this unique adventure, available Sept. 26-27, Oct. 3-4 and Oct 17-18. For more information, or to make reservations, call (716) 699-2345.

Head to the Olean YMCA, at 1101 Wayne St. in Olean, for the annual Boo Bash on Oct. 24, a free family event that includes a costume contest, games, crafts and more.

Head north and get up close and personal with the animals during Spooktacular Days at the Buffalo Zoo, Oct. 17-19 and Oct. 24-26. Guests will enjoy indoor treat stations, free train and carousel rides, games, apple cider and donuts. Activities will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $5 plus the cost of zoo admission, free for children under 2. Tickets are available online at, by calling 1-800-838-3006 or at the gate.

Can’t get enough animals? Check out Hidden Valley Animal Adventure on Sept. 28 for their annual Fall Fest. The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., includes loads of family fun and entertainment, including safari tours, live animal demonstrations, an antique tractor cruise, craft show, pumpkins, games and a huge bonfire at end the day. For more information, visit

Scary Fun

Feeling brave? Check out the Nightmare Hayrides, a 25-minute tractor-drawn ride down a creepy path with live creatures haunting the way. From there, guests will exit into a haunted maze sprawling over an acre of land, followed by a trip through the haunted barn, featuring a vortex tunnel. Nightmare Hayrides are held at the location of the Ellicottville Championship Rodeo, 6319 Sommerville Rd. in Ellicottville on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through Halloween. Admission is $17, and is free for children under age 5. A cook shack is also on-site in case all that teeth gritting makes you hungry. For more information, visit

Discover for yourself if Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater is really haunted during Horror at the Hollywood 2014. The tour takes place at the Historic Hollywood Theater at 39 W. Main St. in Gowanda on the following dates and times: Friday, Oct. 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 26 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $3 per person, free for ages 5 and under, and all proceeds benefit the restoration of the Hollywood Theater.

Not horrifyingly far from Ellicottville, Darien Lake theme park is ready for the season. For four October evenings (Oct. 3-4, and Oct. 10-11), the park will turn into a spooky delight. In addition to the usual lineup of rides and games, guests can check out the zombie haunted house, as well as Halloween-themed rides, included with park admission. For more information, visit

Post-Halloween Fun

Sad that October is over? Here’s your chance to get one more day out of that costume! Take part in the EVL Half on Nov. 1. Choose from a half marathon, 5K run and kids’ race with a Halloween theme (yes, that means you can choose to wear your costume!) and enjoy an after-party with live entertainment at Ellicottville Brewing Company. The fun begins at 11 a.m. on Monroe Street in the village. For more information, visit

With so many fun and scary options for Halloween-themed activities, the next five weeks are sure to have you busy and screaming for more!