By Zach Dunkin
For 31 years a black-caped rider mounted on a charging horse has terrified the passengers on the hayrides that each October roll through the 1800s town and apple orchard of Conner Prairie. And the result is always the same: 30,000 children and adults annually lose their minds when the Headless Horseman cruises their tractor-pulled hay wagon.
Based on the classic Washington Irvin tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie has become as classic as the lighting of Monument Circle’s “world’s largest Christmas tree” in downtown Indianapolis. It’s just not Halloween without it.
Sleepy Hollow is a small, enchanted town in New York that is terrified by a resident ghoul, the Headless Horseman. Rumored to be a Hession soldier who was decapitated by a cannon ball during a battle in the Revolutionary War, the raging menace races through the area in search of his head. The hayride is included in the cost of admission but requires a timed-ticket.
The Headless Horseman isn’t the only activity that turns Conner Prairie into Conner Scarie.
Other family activities include “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” marionette show, ghostly vortexes, fortune telling, scary-o-ke and more.
New this year, guests can help make history in the craft area by folding 6,000 origami bats, a feat large enough to get Conner Prairie into the Guinness Book of World Records.
When: Gate open 6-9 p.m., Oct. 9-11, 15-18, 22-25. Activities and hayrides may operate post 10 p.m.
Where: Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers
Tickets: Thursday & Sunday tickets: $10 presale, $12 at gate Thursday and Sunday (members free; $14 presale, $16 at gate Friday and Saturday (Plus-Level and above members free). Presale tickets available at select central Indiana Marsh and O’Malia’s stores.
Info: connerprairie.org, or call 776-6000