Most Halloween-season tourist attractions in our region emphasize rural harvest celebrations or live dramatizations of scary screen scenarios; Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) in New Paltz adds an educational element to its popular Haunted Huguenot Street tours that compounds the creepiness factor by being steeped in documented history and hair-raising local lore. A corn maze or a slasher-movie set can be fun to visit, but you can’t beat three-century-old stone dwellings or a genuine Colonial-era graveyard for vividly chilling New England Gothic atmosphere.
“Every year we strive to top the previous year’s tours,” says Kara Gaffken, director of public programming at HHS. “Huguenot Street has such a storied history that we can do this year after year. As always, these stories have roots in actual facts, fears and events from the past.” This year’s version of the tour brings guests into four historic houses while exploring the history of oppression, particularly in the case of oppressed women in the 17th through the 19th centuries. Guests will bear witness to the legendary true story of a tormented mother and an unorthodox macabre wedding ceremony, while also learning about sexist witch trials, kidnapped wives, mourning brides and the curse of infertility.
Rated PG-13, special Haunted Huguenot Street nighttime tours will run on Friday and Saturday for the next three weekends: October 14 to 15, 21 to 22 and 28 to 29. Tours will depart from the DuBois Fort Visitor Center at 81 Huguenot Street on the hour beginning at 5 p.m., with the final tour each night leaving at 9 p.m. The entire street will be decorated, including a campfire, for an immersive Halloween experience.
Preregistration is strongly encouraged, as these tours sell out quickly. Guests may register at www.huguenotstreet.org for $25. Without preregistration, admission costs $30 at the door.