Nothing says fall to me quite like the Headless Horseman Festival at Conner Prairie. This festival is a classic for a reason so make sure you get your tickets to enjoy everything it has to offer. Conner Prairie’s grounds are always beautiful, but they look truly fantastic during the festival. This Instagram-worthy event includes midway games, hot-air balloon rides, Halloween-themed shows, fortune-telling, train rides, haunted hayrides, a giant corn maze, food trucks, and more.
So many of my friends haven’t visited Conner Prairie for Headless Horseman because they think it’s just a spooky hayride, but it’s so much more! You’ll easily fill an entire evening or two with all of the fun activities offered.
Dates for the 2021 Headless Horseman Festival
Thursdays – Sundays, October 7th – October 30th, 2021, 6 pm – 10 pm.
Parking at Conner Prairie
Parking is located in the grassy area beside the main parking lot. Conner Prairie has the parking lot game on lock. There are dozens of volunteers stationed throughout the parking lot to flag people into the right spot. Be prepared for inclement weather as you will be parking on the grass.
What Time is the Headless Horseman Festival
- Gates open from 6-9:30 pm. Headless Horseman is awesome so be prepared for moderate lines at the gate. I always think my kids do better when they know they will have to wait ahead of time. Set your kids up for success because this event is worth the wait. Purchase your tickets in advance and reserve the hayride time of your choice.
- Activities and hayrides run until 10 pm or later.
- You will reserve your Haunted Hayride tickets in advance when you buy your tickets. Plan on arriving 45 minutes before your hayride time.
- Tip: Grab early tickets for younger kids so it’s not dark or as spooky, instead it’s just a little startling and funny.
Tickets for Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie
How much are tickets?
- Basic Thursday or Sunday Tickets: $19 (All members get in free)
- Premium Friday or Saturday Ticket: $24 (Plus-Level and Above Members get in Free)
- Access Pass Members can get $2 admission on Thursdays and Sundays
Who needs a ticket?
- Tickets must be purchased for anyone 2 years or older. Check your membership level as members get in free on select nights.
What does the ticket get?
Tickets include access to the festival and time tickets for the Headless Horseman Hayride.
- Haunted Hayride (The Main Event!)
- Headless Horseman Festival
- Midway Games
- Barrel Train Ride
- Spooktacular Shows (magic shows, spooky cooking, science shows, etc.)
- Bounce Houses
- Spooky Storytelling
- Fortune Telling
- 12-acre Corn Maze
Effective September 7, 2021, in accordance with the CDC recommendations, all guests will be required to wear masks while in the Welcome Center and Historic buildings regardless of vaccination status. Guests will be highly encouraged to wear masks while outdoors if a 6-foot social distance is unable to be maintained. Check here for a full list of Conner Prairie safety precautions.
Food at Conner Prairie
There is so much tasty food to eat at the festival. The Prairie Grill has drinks and hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, hot pretzels, etc. Food trucks are available along with carnival-type food such as funnel cakes, lemon shake-ups, and ice cream. Sprinkled throughout the midway were a few tents selling soft pretzels, roasted nuts, kettle corn, and more. Did I mention there is beer? Make sure to try the Sun King Brewery’s Ichabrewed Crane beer when you are at the festival and take a step inside the Witches Den for
The Headless Horseman Festival has amazing family-friendly shows each night. When we were there, the festival had Professor Steve (science and music), a hilarious magic show, a Halloween-themed cooking show, spooky storytelling and so much more. The shows run on set times each night and are located inside tents just off the mid-way. We watched the magic show and my daughter loved it. The magician was truly funny and very good with illusions. There was even a fair bit of audience participation. We peaked in during Professor Steve and the cooking show and saw lots of very happy and amused families. The shows are especially great for those that want to take a seat and rest after a fun evening of running around.
The Headless Horseman Festival has it all. The mid-way games are such a hit among the younger crowd and a great way to spend time while waiting for your hayride. There is everything from Graveyard Mini Golf, Pumpkin Plinko, Pumpkin Bowling, face painting, and more. Make sure you plan to spend some time in the Mid-Way Games area as there are some hidden gems waiting for your family. There are two large Pumpkin Bounce Houses, a spooky karaoke tent, and even a giant pit filled with corn kernels. Have you ever wanted to sing the Ghostbusters song during karaoke? Well, this is your place. Let’s talk about the corn kernel pit. I did not expect this part to be as popular as it was but it was always teeming with kids. It’s basically a 12-foot pit filled with corn kernels and plastic skeletons that kids can unearth. My daughter made at least 3 trips to this area and seriously could not get enough.
Barrel Train Ride
The Barrel Train Rides are SO FUN. This ride is suitable for kids ages 8 and under. Each seat has a seatbelt so this ride can be enjoyed by young children too. A tractor takes the kids on a (moderately) slow ride through a roped-off area. The train rides are included with the price of admission so make sure you set aside time for a few rides. My daughter rode the train at least 5 times and loved it each time.
Headless Horseman Ride
The Headless Horseman Hayride is the main event of this awesome festival, and for good reason. Be mindful of your timed ticket for this event as you will need it to get on the hayride. When it’s almost time for your hayride to start, make your way towards the Featherstone Barn (which is where The Legend of Sleepy Hollow marionette show is) to queue up for your spot. Conner Prairie staff members will tell you when and where to line up based on your ticket time. When it’s your group’s turn to enter the Hayride area, you will slowly move through what is normally the Lenape Indian Camp. During the festival, it is turned into the town of Sleepy Hollow. While waiting in line, you will pass lots of volunteers that are dressed in period costumes moving about and ready to jump out and scare you. Our hayride tickets were for 9:30 pm but we didn’t actually get on the hayride until closer to 10 pm. The line might move a little slower on busy nights, but there was so much to see and be spooked by that it felt pretty quick.
The hayride is awesome. We rode at around 10 pm so it was a little spookier than a daytime ride. My nearly 5 year old loves all things spooky so she was totally into all the jump scares. Be warned though, there were a few frights that had some teenagers in our wagon jumping. It was so cool to ride the wagon through the dark forest on the grounds. Conner Prairie seriously goes all out for this festival. Everywhere you looked along the route were spooky decorations or people waiting to jump out and scare you. The Headless Horseman rides a real horse (really close!) to the wagon which makes this hayride extra spooky/fun. The Headless Horseman Hayride is an Indiana tradition for a reason. Make sure you get your tickets to enjoy this amazing festival.
Hot tip: wear jeans or other pants when on the hayride as you are sitting on actual hay. Why this surprised my daughter, I’m not sure, but she was glad she was wearing jeans so she wasn’t being poked the whole time.
The Corn Maze is included in the price of admission to the Headless Horseman Festival. Did you know this maze is rated among the Top Ten Corn Mazes in the U.S? This seriously cool maze is spread out across 12 acres and full of fun for the whole family. There is even a smaller maze for younger kids as well as a longer maze for teens and adults. During the Headless Horseman Festival, there is even a Headless Hollow Spooky Maze (ages 12 and older). Take a map and practice your patience as you wind your way through this maze. My kids love to adventure through and explore this amazing maze. From a kid’s perspective, this maze must feel enormous. Make sure you save time during your visit to try your hand at completing the maze.
Good To Know
- Kids 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
- The festival is spread out on the grassy areas of Conner Prairie so dress for the weather.
- The 1859 Balloon Voyage will be offered until 10 pm, weather permitting. Tickets for the Balloon are an additional cost of $17 for non-members and $13 for members. Consider checking out the balloon during your visit to Conner Prairie as the fall leaves and corn maze will make for a breathtaking view.
- The hayride is ADA accessible, however, you may want to discuss any questions or concerns with Guest Services in advance by calling (317) 776-6000.
- Bring cash for any food, drinks, face painting, or balloon rides that you may want to take. There is not an ATM on site.