As the leaves begin to change color and fall from the trees, so, too, does the atmosphere of Western New York change. A lot of people think that once summer is over, there's not much to do, but they couldn't be more wrong! No matter what your age or budget, the Buffalo Niagara region has something for everyone.
>Darien Lake Fright Fest
Offers live shows, costume parades, fun rides, a trick-or-treat trail and a Halloween laser light show for only $19.99! Darien Lake is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Oct. 19. (Optional admission to Haunted House is $3) www.godarienlake.com.
Five haunted houses on the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg; $20 pays for admission to all of them. Open Thursday through Nov. 1.
>Niagara Falls State Park
Take advantage of the beauty that Niagara Falls offers in the fall by taking a voyage on the Maid of the Mist, visiting the Cave of the Winds, or hiking along the gorge. The Niagara International Kite Festival takes place here from Friday to Sunday. Visit www.niagarakite.com.
>Hamburg's Haunted Hayride
The Haunted Hayride on McKinley Parkway in Hamburg will take you around a 54-acre farm and sawmill. Admission is $10 this year, since the Barns of Doom are closed for the 2008 season. www.scaryhayride.com.
Fright World has moved to the Northtown Plaza on Sheridan Drive and is open Thursday through Nov. 2. $20 provides admission to five haunted houses. Discounted tickets are available at NOCO locations.
Get lost in an 8-acre corn field, 3901 Niagara Falls Blvd., Wheatfield. New this year on Friday and Saturday nights is a live gaming military simulation for teens who will be armed with GPS devices and night-vision goggles. ($18) This year's MAiZE is shaped in honor of Niagara Country's bicentennial. Open until Nov. 2. General admission $8. www.cornfieldmaze.com.
>The Great Pumpkin Farm
Located at 11199 Main St., Clarence, the perfect place to get your pumpkins also offers rides, games, face painting, a petting zoo, music and a pumpkin cannon! The Great Pumpkin Weigh-off is this weekend. www.greatpumpkinfarm.com.
Becker Farms, Quaker Road, Gasport, offers a petting zoo, pumpkin patches, fruit and vegetable gardens, hayrides, a maze, homemade goods and more. Becker Farms is open every weekend until Halloween. Admission to the new Haunted Hayride attraction, Phylotec Biogenetic Testing Station, is $9. Call 772-2211 or visit www.beckerfarms.com.
>Marble Orchard Ghost Walks
Find out about the ghosts that haunt Lewiston. Tours are Saturdays at 7 p.m. through Oct. 25 and depart from 476 Center St. Visit www.artcouncil.org for more details. $10, $5 children under 12.
>The Haunted Fortress
Explore Youngstown's haunted Old Fort Niagara. It's only open Oct. 24 and 25 so get your tickets ($10) now by calling 745-7611. If you're under 18, you must be accompanied by an adult. Not recommended for children under 8.
Nicole Fields is a freshman at Brockport State College.