By Jessica Allen
Get ready, get set, get scared…the haunted houses listed below are some of the spookiest, scariest around. They range from family-friendly to totally terrifying, from bad dream to total nightmare. We’d say “have fun,” but that doesn’t seem wholly appropriate. Instead, we’ll wish you luck. You’re going to need it.
163 Varick St.
New York, NY 10013
Probably the city’s most popular haunted house, if not the most terrifying, Blood Manor has been putting the “horror” in Halloween for the several years. The experience consists of more than 5,000 square feet of blood, gore, guts, dismembered limbs, dripping organs, blood-splattered knives and lots and lots of other evidence that something evil has happened recently, or will happen soon. This one’s definitely not for the faint of heart, delicate of sensibility, or possessed of an impressionable mind (indeed, it’s not recommended for kids under 14).
The Forest of Fear
600 Route 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY 10987
The first thing worth mentioning about the Forest of Fear is that the name is not a metaphor—there are some seven attractions in all, including a cemetery, a slaughterhouse, a garage run by chainsaw-lovers, and a carnival. There’s also a BYOB restaurant, at which the BYOB stands for Bring Yer Own Body. Creeped out yet? You will be disturbed! Definitely! Unfortunately public transportation doesn’t head here (are bus drivers too scared to add this spot to their route? Good call, guys.) Dress appropriately, and be prepared to run.
Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel
186 Jay St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Organized and run by students at the New York City College of Technology, the Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel gives the college’s theater troupe and Entertainment Technology Department the chance to scare the pants off you. Unlike some of the other spots on this list, no one will reach out and grab, maul, crush, or otherwise touch you, nor will you be exposed to the truly violent stuff of nightmares or cable TV. It’s also appropriate for younger children (ages 10 and up). Think creepy and twisted, rather than terrifying and absolutely horrifying.
Haunted Lantern Tour of Fort Totten
Totten Avenue and 15 Road
Bayside, NY 11359
“Prepare to be scared,” note the urban park rangers who lead this nighttime tour of the Water Battery at Fort Totten Park. Tiptoeing around anything in the dark is scary enough, no doubt. But this special event also promises to be informative, led as it is by a guide who knows the area inside and out—and won’t hesitate to mention past paranormal sightings and activities. Lanterns will be provided, and the event is family-friendly. Get there early, as the once-a-year event tends to draw crowds.
This Is Real
153 Coffey St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231
This Is Real is as real as it gets. You will be kidnapped, moved, thrust into a world of psychopaths and psychological torture. No kidding. It’s an “intimate and unnerving simulated abduction,” a cross between a traditional haunted house and a high-stakes escape-the-room game, with each group of participants capped at just eight hearty souls at a time. We’re frightened just describing it, and can only imagine the mental and physical fortitude required to endure this immersive theatrical experience. Sound like fun? We’ll be over here, watching kitten videos.