SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Sleepy Hollow is probably one of the most famous haunted towns in the world. As CBS 2HD’s Jay Dow reports, the small village in Westchester is still the main attraction for those celebrating Halloween this weekend.

There’s no mistaking the “Horseman’s Hollow” in New York’s Sleepy Hollow for an amateur production. It’s staged with professional actors using movie make up and special effects.

It’s set on the grounds of a spooky 300-year old manor where Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has been taken to it’s darkest extremes.

“I’ve witnessed people of all ages screaming their heads off, laughing, having a blast,” said Thom Thacker, director of Horseman’s Hollow.

“This is not for little kids, but it had a nice blend of horror and history,” said Susan Rubin, visitor from Chappaqua. “It’s intense. It was awesome.”

More than, 3,000 haunted theme attractions open their doors nationwide every Halloween, earning an estimated half-billion dollars.

It turns out there’s a science to creating a good scare. And the most effective attractions including this room, which creates a real sense of claustrophobia, are designed to slowly build a feeling of controllable fear, and anxiety. It works,” said creative director Lance Hallowell.

“It’s just like, you know, it’s the old Hitchcock theory. It’s just like you can never not show the monster and have a perfectly great movie,” Hallowell said.

“Creepy kids. People hate creepy kids,” he said. When Dow admitted “this freaked my out when I walked in here,” Hallowell answered: “then it’s doing its job.”

Experts said it’s in our DNA to crave a good scare. “These are safe thrills. It’s not like climbing Mt. Everest. You know you are going to come out OK,” said Prof. Frank Farley of Temple University.

Sleepy Hollow is not the original name of the village. It was actually called “North Tarrytown” until 1996, when it was legally changed.

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