Some of Santa’s helpers are hard at work turning an iconic Hudson Valley haunted house into a winter wonderland.

General Foreman Timothy Matthews and the team at Headless Horseman Haunted Attractions wasted no time trading in their pumpkins for presents. The day after Halloween, they got to work taking down the scary displays.

Matthews has been working at Headless for 8 seasons. While the setup for the Halloween “spooktacular” takes several months to get ready, the breakdown is done in about a week.

What You Need To Know

  • The Headless Horseman Haunted Attractions crew has a two- to three-week window to set up the family-friendly Frosty Fest

  • The work takes more than 12 hours every day of the week

  • There are still a few remnants of Headless Horseman along the trail

“I was very surprised how much work goes into setting up Halloween. If you had told me ‘jeez, you're gonna start setting up Halloween and April, and you'll be ready by the time we opened mid-September’ …. how we said ‘jeez, you're crazy,’ ” says Matthews.

The crew has a two- to three-week window to set up the family-friendly Frosty Fest.

“It’s just a process of how fast we have to turn this property over from scary to friendly, and people will come here for Frosty Fest and say ‘wow, I was here for Headless,’ ” Matthews says. “I can't believe the transformation of this property.”

To work around the time crunch, the trail for Frosty Fest is shorter than Halloween. With people, power and dedication, it takes seven-days-a-week effort, working 12-plus hours to finish the transition with quality and care. They’re working until the night before Thanksgiving with the final process called “bulbing.”

“A lot of the bulbs are broken. So they do turn the display off so they don’t get a shock, and they take the broken bulbs out, and then they'll change the broken bulbs and then find out what other bulbs are burned out and change them,” says Matthews.

While the team loves working on the Halloween displays, they say the best part about changing to the festive Christmas theme is the kids.

“What really is the ultimate joy is just seeing this whole property transfer over from a scary haunt to a very happy place that you want to bring your kids, and kids are very happy to be here,” says Matthews.

You can still find a few nuggets of Headless Horseman Haunted Attractions taking part in the holiday trail.

Frosty Fest will open the day after Thanksgiving every Friday to Sunday until December 19. For information and to purchase tickets, visit