New England is a place with more than its fair share of ghost stories, and the same is true for Liberty Square. This land of the Magic Kingdom is of course home to the 999 ghostly residents of “The Haunted Mansion,” but during the Halloween season the area is visited by one more. However, this specter is just passing through and is certainly not of the “grim grinning” variety. In fact, this frightening character is responsible for one of the most exciting chase scenes in Disney history.
The Headless Horseman, a character immortalized by Washington Irving in his short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” can be seen riding through Liberty Square, as well as Frontierland and Main Street USA, as part of “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.” This journey down the Magic Kingdom parade route heralds the beginning of the popular “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade.” Although this procession is filled with plenty of ghosts and villains, The Horseman has even stronger ties to the holiday itself than most, as shown in 1949’s “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.”
In the film, Brom Bones recounts the legend of The Headless Horseman during a Halloween party at the van Tassel farm. As he explains through song, The Horseman can be found in Sleepy Hollow every Halloween night searching for a new head. Among those attending the party was the superstitious Ichabod Crane, who was particularly flusters by the tale since he had to pass through the Hollow on his way home that night. Sure enough, just as Brom Bones warned, The Headless Horseman appeared and perused the terrified Ichabod, who, according to the townspeople, was never seen again after that night. While the experience of watching The Headless Horseman’s ride through Magic Kingdom is more of a not-so-scary one compared to Ichabod Cranes encounter with him late that Halloween night in Sleepy Hollow, it’s still a thrill to be sure.