So we've had a chance to play around with the new Team Fortress 2 Halloween Update , which adds two maps, lots of hats, a new weapon, and a murderous AI known as the Horseless Headless Horsemann. There's a lot in it, and the way it works isn't like any other update, so we'll explain how to get all the new hats, masks, achievements and the revered Horsemann's axe.
Probably the easiest thing to get. The Horseless Headless Horsemann is the new AI-controlled boss character who pops up frequently on the Mann Manor map - look for servers playing cp_manor with at least 10 players. He has masses of hitpoints and kills you in one chop, but if you keep your distance and keep shooting him, you have a good chance of dealing some damage shortly before he dies. If you manage that, you get the Achievement and the Horseless Headless Horsemann's Head - a giant scary pumpkin that looks particularly awesome on the spy. Unfortunately it's only wearable during the Halloween event, and you can't trade it.
This is the Horsemann's axe, a Demoman weapon that has the same stats as the Eyelander but looks much cooler. It can only be crafted, and the tricky part is, you need an Unusual Haunted Metal Scrap, and that's an item you can only find once. If you've got one, you need to combine it with 2x Refined Metal and a Scottsman's Skullcutter. The Skullcutter itself is crafted by mixing an Axtinguisher and a Jarate. If you don't have the Haunted Metal yet, here's how you get it:
Only useful for crafting certain special Halloween items. You get it if you hit the Horsemann with a melee attack, and stay alive until he dies. You don't have to kill him yourself. That gets you the Achievement, and the Achievement gets you the Haunted Scrap. Since you can only get Achievements once, this is the only scrap you'll get.
If you're feeling cheesy, you can actually cheat to get this on a private server you create. There are instructions on the Steam forums here . It hasn't worked for everyone, and be aware that Valve have sometimes been harsh on people who get items in ways they didn't intend.
The crafting recipe for all four hats is the same: when you combine one Unusual Haunted Metal Scrap with four Refined Metal, you get a random one of these four. It bears repeating: you can only ever find one Unusual Haunted Scrap, so think carefully about how you use it.
There are ten of these, one for each class, and one for Saxton Hale. They're just paper bags with a crude picture of the class's face on it, a slightly weird departure from last year's amusingly scary faces. You only find them in Haunted Halloween Gift boxes that randomly crop up on the Mann Manor map - they pop up fairly regularly, but since you don't know where they are, someone else will often get there first. They're the only thing you can find in a Gift box, so you have a one in nine chance of getting the one you want.
The exception is the Saxton Hale mask, which can only be crafted. And you need all nine of the class masks to do it. Combining them all gets you the burly Australian's smug face on a paper bag to wear. The real advantage of this mask over the others is that it's the only one you can still wear after the event ends.
Luckily all the masks are tradable, so you can swap dupes in your quest to find all nine. And you can even trade Saxton's, which'll give you the Achievement for crafting it.
The Noisemakers are 25-use items that play a sound to everyone on your server, annoying them slightly. They're cheap - 29p or $50c - and only available from the Mann-co store. Gift Wrap just disguises an item as a gift, so when you give it to someone they won't know what it is. It's also only available through the store, for 99p.
Most of this info was figured out on the awesome official Team Fortress 2 wiki and by folks on the Steam forums , and verified by us where possible. I haven't tried the cheating for haunted metal thing, and probably won't risk it - getting it legitimately doesn't seem that hard.
We had a hilarious time dealing with the Horsemann at lunchtime - he's genuinely terrifying when he comes for you, and he disrupts the normal capture-point game mode so completely that the servers have a real atmosphere of daft fun about them at the moment. He's only around till November the 8th, so I definitely recommend getting in some time on Mann Manor before then. How are you guys finding it?