(Photos by Lauren Thomas)

(Photos by Lauren Thomas)

The crisp fall air is upon us and with it, Halloween. The festivities will begin this weekend in New Paltz, Highland and Rosendale. A special history-based haunted scavenger hunt will take place on the grounds of Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. Registration is at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center, 81 Huguenot Street, where sleuths will receive the first clue. In addition to the scavenger hunt, there will be prizes for everyone and devilish, yet yummy refreshment. The cost is $8 per child; adults are free. For more information, call Rebecca Mackey at 255-1660, ext. 105 or e-mail [email protected]

The Lions’ Club Halloween parade in New Paltz will take place on Thursday, Oct. 31 beginning at 6 p.m. For more than 40 years, the New Paltz Lions have been staging the Halloween Parade, which begins at the middle school and winds its way down Main Street to the Station One Firehouse on Plattekill Avenue where Lions members hand out fresh apples donated by local farmers and treats to kids in their costumes. The New Paltz Police Department, the village volunteer fire department and the New Paltz Rescue Squad all contribute to the safety and security of the Mardi Gras-like event that draws thousands of community members to Main Street, singing and dancing in scary, creative, clever costumes. Adding to the celebratory feel of the traditional Halloween Parade has been the New Paltz Middle School band, the New Paltz High School band and a cadre of drums, which provide cadence and eerie sounds at the head of the march.

The annual “Night of 100 Pumpkins” will take place at The Bakery on North Front Street in New Paltz on Thursday Oct. 31. For more than a decade, the Bakery has sponsored a pumpkin contest with every imaginable category for various age groups that has inspired some of the most provocative gourd/squash creations that Paltzonians of all ages have dreamed up. Bring a decorated pumpkin to The Bakery on Oct. 30 and you will get a free Jack O’ Lantern cookie in exchange. Following the parade on Halloween night, The Bakery will serve hot cider, cocoa and freshly baked pumpkin bread and the winners of the pumpkin contest will be revealed.