Halloween, the one time of year where you're free to obsess over the darker side of existence, life's morbid twin, without fear of judgment or advice to get your head checked. It's also the only time of year where you can cheerfully ransack your neighbor's candy supply with impunity.
But forget tricks, this October’s all about the treats in store - and the Big Apple has plenty on offer. With haunted houses, creepy cemeteries and scary seances galore, it begs the question, which event will you attend this Halloween in New York - the city of hardened folk who refuse to flinch?
Read on to discover our spookiest scoops.
10 Greenwood Cemetery Tours
Gone are the days of sneaking into a cemetery post-sunset, armed with torches and a hysterical best friend in tow. Event planners have caught on quick; the number of cemetery guided tours has increased tenfold in the last 20 years. And with good reason.
What’s more spine-tingling than walking over the sacred, stomping grounds of bodies laid to rest? Your fifteen-year-old self knew it, and now the masterminds behind Greenwood Cemetery Tours do too.
These after-dark jaunts take you through the 478-acre sprawling grounds of Greenwood Cemetery, where the Civil War and World War I casualties are buried. With only candles to light your way, musicians, performers, and storytellers lurk in the dark, eager to relay the tales that live six feet under, where worms and decay are strife.
The Gory Details: October 25th-26th 2019, 8:00 pm - 11:30 pm. Tickets cost $80.
9 Merchant’s House Museum
Do you know what a real-life burial looked like in 1865? If not, this chilling reenactment, hosted by the Merchant’s House Museum, recreates Seabury Tredwell's funeral and is true to the details, right down to the creepy dress-code.
It’s the only nineteenth-century family home in New York preserved with full - original furniture, art and personal possessions to boot, so if you are looking for specters and haunted souls, this historic capsule is a good place to start. If that doesn’t catch your morbid fancy, climb into a 19th century coffin for your own pre-post mortem snapshot.
The Gory Details: October 27th, 2019, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $45.
8 The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
There’s nothing quite like coming together in celebration of the dead by joining the 50,000 ghouls, witches and other supernatural beings who take to the streets in Greenwich Village for the Halloween Parade.
There are giant puppets, crazy costumes and blood-pumping processions. It’s the place to let your wild side out to play (this year’s theme is coincidentally ‘Wild Thing’) and revel in the knowledge that you’re the thing that goes bump in the night.
Even if you’ve got your costume handy, check out Obscura Antiques and Oddities - this kooky little store has every spooky knickknack to make (or break) your getup.
The Gory Details: October 31st, 2019, 6:30 pm–10:30pm. Tickets are free.
7 Blood Manor
Blood Manor is New York’s most haunted attraction, a staple for horror fans to sink their teeth into something rare and bloody. Made up of 5,000 square feet of eerie rooms and labyrinth-like corridors, this murderous manor plays on its visitor's deepest fears, terrifying them with ‘near-death’ experiences and hordes of insects.
It’s no secret that clowns are all the rage right now, thanks to Stephen King’s infamous jester dominating the big screen for his final appearance in IT Chapter Two. Unsurprisingly, it means Blood Manor’s climbed onto this clown-crazed bandwagon, buzzing chainsaws at the ready.
The Gory Details: All year round entry, 18:00 - 01:00 am. Tickets cost $40.
6 Ellis Island Hospital
Used as a stopover for immigrants to be checked for contagious diseases before entering the United States, Ellis Island Hospital was once a state-of-the-art medical facility during the 20th century. Changing laws on immigration meant it changed hands quite a bit, dabbling in psychiatry and incarceration before its full closure in 1954.
That won’t stop us from taking a peek. This year’s Hard Hat Tours to Ellis Island are an unmissable event, where (if you dare) you can explore the hospital’s old autopsy room, disease ward and main grounds. A total of 350 patients lost their lives here, so it makes for a spooktacular - albeit sad - supernatural safari.
The Gory Details: Every Saturday in October. Tickets cost $75.
5 A seance to remember
Ever dabbled in the terrifying science of the Ouija board? Well, we don’t blame you if you haven’t, but if you are ready to graduate from your board game extravaganzas, the Spiritualist Church of NYC is here to help.
Their weekly message circles are aided only by candlelight, where self-proclaimed mediums attempt to communicate with those who have passed over into the Spirit World. It’ll likely scare the bejeesus out of you, cynic or not.
The Gory Details: Every Monday in October. Tickets cost $20.
4 Nitehawk Cinema's witchathon
All month long Nitehawk Cinema is celebrating the season of the witch with midnight screenings of classic flicks like The Witches of Eastwick, The Craft, Hocus Pocus, and Practical Magic, and Black Sunday. They take the opportunity to unravel the lunacy behind witchy fears and explore the tropes related to witchy fashion.
While they’re not particularly scary, it’s a bit of indoor fun for those feeling averse to graveyard foraging.Let the witchy spectacle begin.
The Gory Details: All month long screenings at 12:00 am. Tickets cost $13.
3 Masque of the Red Death Halloween Ball
Do you dig Edgar Allen Poe?
We hope so, because the Masque of the Red Death Ball, hosted by Dances of Vice, is a nod to his 1842 short story of the same name. Masks are mandatory and spectral dancers sway from glittering chandeliers, inviting you to indulge in a night of hedonistic fantasy.
Try to ignore the Red Death banging at the door - there's just one rule: don't let it in.
The Gory Details: October 26, 2019, 09:30 PM. Tickets cost $89.00.
2 The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
If your pumpkin carving skills leave something to be desired, head out to Hudson Valley to witness the pros in action. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze has all the ingredients for a proper pumpkin fest: thousands of these gory goulds are intricately chiseled into glittering ghosts, dinosaurs and ghouls.
Fuel your jaunt along the river with pumpkin beer and cider, or nosh on spooky treats like candy apples and spiced popcorn. The Headless Horseman is likely to make an appearance, so wear your best running shoes.
The Gory Details: October 3-31, 2019. Adult tickets are $22 (Fri–Sat $27). Children 3-17 are $16 (Fri-Sat $20)
1 The Zombie prom
Most high school proms lack blood, guts and undead interruptions. Not this one.
This year House of Yes is hosting an exclusive Zombie Prom - a night to dismember. For this performance-fuelled evening, dress up in your most tattered, blood-soaked digs and leave your inhibitions at the door. Prizes go to the best dressed Zombie Prom King and Queen.
Eat your heart out, Carrie White.
The Gory Details: Oct 24, 2019, 10:00 PM – 4:00 AM. Tickets are free.