Halloween is a big deal in New Paltz & Woodstock

Waiting for the parade in downtown New Paltz (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Waiting for the parade in downtown New Paltz (photo by Lauren Thomas)

New Paltz and Woodstock are two towns that take celebrating Halloween very seriously. Any excuse to make a little mischief, dress up in some outlandish way and share some treats with the neighbors just seems like the usual zeitgeist of these subversively creative communities – just taken up a notch or two.

New Paltz’s annual Halloween parade always starts at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 31 at the Middle School parking lot, at the corner of Main Street and Manheim Boulevard. Led by a pickup marching band playing the theme from The Addams Family, the line of march heads down Main Street until it intersects with Plattekill Avenue. There the marchers, most of them extravagantly costumed, turn left and head for the firehouse, where Lions Club members await them with apples and candy bars to hand out. Come early to find parking nearby, and stroll along or just stand on the sidewalk and enjoy the spectral spectacle.


After the parade breaks up, younger participants typically fan out through the neighborhood for trick-or-treating; others line up at The Bakery on North Front Street to view the Night of 100 Pumpkins display of imaginatively carved jack-o’-lanterns. You’ll have to wait in line, but it’s always worth it; meanwhile you can enjoy a free glass of hot cider and a slice of David Santner’s yummy pumpkin bread, and dance to the infectious beat of live African drumming.

The historic houses on Huguenot Street open their doors to trick-or-treaters on Monday, October 31 from 4 to 6 p.m. Visitors can expect to meet residents who span the street’s centuries-long history, including colonial-era women, Revolutionary-War soldiers, a Victorian-era socialite and her housemaid, flappers from the Roaring Twenties and other costumed interpreters. Refreshments will be available at DuBois Fort Visitor Center at 81 Huguenot Street. There will be a campfire, and the entire street will be decorated for an immersive Halloween experience. Call 255-1889 for further details or visit huguenotstreet.org.

Further uptown at the Teen Seen at 220 Main Street, check out the New Paltz Youth Program’s annual kid-created Haunted House. It runs from 6 to 10 p.m., and there’s a nominal entry fee, which helps support Youth Program services and activities. Call (845) 255-5140 for more info.

Meanwhile, in Woodstock, the Village Green is a happening scene for Halloween. The parade gets underway at 5 p.m. on Monday, October 31, rumored to be led this year by Mary Poppins. Drummers, dancers and hula-hoopers are especially encouraged to participate. There will be prizes for the best homemade costumes.

Stop by the Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) at 59 Tinker Street between 3 and 6 p.m. with your favorite goblins for a photo shoot by Almanac Weekly staff photographer Dion Ogust. Say Boo! takes place right on the Center’s front porch, and you’ll receive an eight-by-ten-inch color archival pigment print for a $20 tax-deductible donation supporting CPW’s youth programs. For more information, call (845) 679-9957 or visit www.cpw.org.

Following the parade, a “Magical Journey” program of activities – not too scary and geared especially for younger kids – will be offered at the Woodstock Library. The Woodstock Playhouse will present free live entertainment beginning at sundown. For more info, call the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts at (845) 679-6234.