Conner Prairie’s Headless Horseman is probably our number one favorite Indianapolis with kids events. Harp and Indy have been talking about it since the first spring leaves sprouted. One part fall festival, one part spookfest, there is something for all my kids to enjoy, regardless of their age or interest in being totally creeped out. Harper would prefer we skip anything mildly scary. She gets the heebie jeebies walking through the Halloween section of Home Depot. Indy on the other hand, well he’s more than happy to talk about spiders and gross stuff all day long. And Hank is still unphased by most things but I’m not sure if that’s his age or his personality. Harp invited Grey for a early birthday celebration since he turned 9 years old a few days after we attended.
There’s too much to do in a single night but we always try to mash in as much as we can. This is what Headless Horseman 2019 looked like for us along with some tips and tricks to make a visit to Conner Prairie’s Halloween fest a spooktacular success.
Last year, we made the mistake of doing the corn maze in the dark. Even the small kid’s version had us so flipped around that we gave up and headed back through the way we came without completing the maze or finding the hidden scarecrows. The event lights set up around the perimeter of the maze didn’t do enough. This year we headed there first, knowing that at 6:30 the light was already fading, even then it took us a good while to find our way out. This year the small maze closes when the haunted maze opens so if you don’t want to get spooked or spend an estimated 75+ minutes in the long maze, get there early.
Professor Steve’s Science Show
Locals might know Professor Steve from school or library presentations but this 20 minute science show is Halloween themed and pretty funny. There’s lot of toilet paper and electricity and cooky mad scientist stuff. If you think you want to check it out get there at least 10 minutes early because the tent packs full fast.
Putt Putt Golf and Other Games
We always end up with a late hayride time so we have time to kill between the main activities and our time slot. This is when we let our kids go crazy n the putt putt course, plinko, ring toss, and whatever else they’ve got setup for the year.
Ok, Harp is technically too old for this but Grey wanted to go on it and since the cut off is 8 and she just turned 9 in July, we let her fib. By the time we wandered over that far, there was no one else waiting and the operator looked pretty excited to have some riders. Indy was off getting a pair of dry pants because potty training is not an exact science but this ride is pretty low thrill even for toddler so it’s a good first stop for littles who frighten easily.
Headless Horseman Haunted Hayride
This is by far the coolest haunted anything I’ve ever been too and the very best part of the event. It’s legitimately spooky. The preamble before you board your wagon leads you through Sleepy Hollow complete with creepy pioneer kids, eerie musical ensembles, and other effects to get you good and worked up before you even climb aboard. On the actual ride stuff pops out of the woods, and it’s pitch dark out there, so even when you are braced for it you’ll still flinch. I won’t ruin it but there are horsemen on horseback and they get so close, on a cold night you can see the horse’s breath turning to frost in the air.
Day time rides are considerably less creepy but tickets for early time slots go fast and people often line up an hour before the admission gates open to snag a daytime ticket. If you get their too late acquire, check the ticket trade tent to see if anyone isn’t using there’s or traded for a later time. Likewise, as the night goes on, you can check to see if someone has traded in tickets with an earlier time slot. We ended up getting a time half an hour earlier than the ones we received when we checked in and it saved us from any exhaustion related meltdowns.
Headless Horseman 2019 runs Thursday-Sunday starting October starting October 10th and wrapping up the weekend before Halloween, October 27th. Check their website for more specific information about membership admission and ticket prices.
-Most activities are included in the price. Food, sweet treats, certain vendors like face-painting and, of course, the air balloon rides are extra but most everything else come along with your event ticket and members get in free (days of admission for member’s depends on membership level).
-Conner Prairie closes at 5pm and Headless Horseman doesn’t open until 6pm. If you are spending the day at Conner Prairie, you can just jump in the line and bide your time but since you line up in a roped off parking lot, it might be a big ask for young kids. We have one parent stake out a spot in line while the other takes the kids to pick out provisions at the Apple Store. Cider slushies,
-It’s dark and often crowded. Conner Prairie does their best to keep pathways lit but on a cloudy night or a new moon, it can be hard to see kids as they get more than a few steps ahead of you. We decked our kids out in a slew of glow bracelets and looped a few onto the stroller handle so we could find it in the dark. We also stash a flashlight in the diaper bag just in case someone wanders off.