Halloween creatures have arrived early at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum – and they’re camped out in the luxurious rooms of the 24-room Vanderbilt Mansion, waiting to welcome visitors. The mansion tour guides, too, will be dressed for the occasion, titled “Ghosts of Eagle’s Nest’s Past.” Joining in the spooky fun will be Vanderbilt family staff and a few famous historic guests.
Guides in costume will give tours of the decorated mansion on Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28. In addition to the general-admission fee, visitors pay $5 per person for a mansion tour. Treats for children will be included. Visitors will find human-size zombies as well as funny-creepy things placed in many rooms.
The fun includes mansion guides dressed up as members of the Vanderbilt family, guests and staff. Among the characters will be billionaire Howard Hughes, bandaged from his airplane crash; Mrs. Lancaster, Willie Vanderbilt’s mother-in-law; and Delia O’Rourke, the tippling Irish cook. Also on hand will be some famous literary characters. These include Mrs. Danvers, the crazed housekeeper of the manor house from the novel Rebecca and Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, and Miss Havisham, the wealthy spinster from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and numerous movie versions.
Every room of the mansion has subtle touches of the eerie and the macabre and the ghoulish. Visitors surveying a room may suddenly become aware of a small skeleton sitting amidst the fireplace logs, or a realistic rubber snake slithering from a hiding place. Other touches include motion-activated sound effects, and mice where you would least expect them.
“Our talented guides, who also are characters for our summertime Living History tours, enthusiastically use the mansion to create a bit of ghoulish fun for our Halloween visitors,” said Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the museum. “Adults will enjoy it as much as kids do.”