Some might argue that the world is scary enough as it is, so there’s no need to wander around a building strewn with dripping knives and bloody bodies. Others, however, say “bring it.” This list is for those folks who like their houses demented and their hearts racing. Note: that latter category is an awfully big group, and tickets to the city’s best haunted houses sell out fast. By Jessica Allen.
163 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
Halloween In NYC: Best Events, Parties, More
Blood Manor is 5,000+ square-feet of guts, gore, and ghouls. Visitors wander from room to room, down creepy corridors and up creaky staircases, checking out the “residents” of this very special Lower East Side mansion. Expect any and all of the following: bloody latex, torn off cheeks, exposed brains, cut-up cadavers, demented mirrors, extra-long syringes, chainsaw-wielding clowns, and axes splattered with red stuff. Not freaky enough for you? On November 4 and 5, you can visit Blood Manor in the dark—with just a single glow stick to guide you on your way.
Brooklyn Army Terminal
140 58th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
This art installation, the brain child of artist Pedro Reyes and public art specialists Creative Time, combines two forbidding events: the U.S. presidential election and Halloween, in an attempt to “make America scream again.” Calling itself a “house of political horrors,” Doomocracy is an immersive, interactive artwork in which manifestations of our deepest anxieties — from climate change, to GMOs and gun violence — decorate the vast Brooklyn Army Terminal. While the creators want you to gasp, they also want you to come away with your eyes open and mind expanded, ready to dialogue and agitate for real change.
186 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Since 1999, the Gravesend Inn has been scaring people using the latest in high-tech trickery. The haunted hotel is produced by Theatreworks, the resident theater troupe at the New York City College of Technology, with extra support provided by the students and faculty of the college’s Entertainment Technology Department. These are the set designers, lighting all-stars, and magic makers of tomorrow, folks, and you can see their scary talent today. Unlike the other places on this list, this one is child-friendly, but use your discretion when deciding whether to tote your tots along.
New York Haunted Hayride
20 Randalls Island Park
New York, NY 10035
One of the scariest things about haunted houses is the way in which they pervert the everyday and beloved: a haunted house transforms the home, our safest and happiest place, into the stuff of nightmares. Keep this in mind as you board the New York Haunted Hayride on Randalls Island. The most innocent of kid-friendly fall fun gets corrupted into something utterly terrifying, as you’re pulled through a world of “disturbia and terror-in-your face.” Too tame? Try the “House of Shadows,” with only a lantern to guide you through a maze that’s dark in every sense of the word, or “Purgatory,” where members of the Theatre Macabre will ask audience members to help perform scenes from favorite horror movies—if they dare.
This Is Real
253 Coffey Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Just looking at the website for “This Is Real,” a “horror experience” in Red Hook, is enough to give a person heart palpitations (thanks to all the strobes). And then there’s the event—and, yes, it is an event, rather than a haunted house—itself: entering the building transforms you into a kidnapping victim, forced to watch what happens to the person kidnapped immediately before you. You have one chance to escape and be reunited with your friends. We probably don’t even need to say it, but This Is Real is 18 and over, and no doubt requires an 8,000-page waiver before participating. Yes, it’s that scary.
Warehouse of Horrors
OK, party people, here’s a question for you: what’s scarier than a haunted house? Why, a haunted warehouse, of course. The seventh annual event features live music on two stages, from the likes of Dirty Looks, Ott., and Big Wild — a silent disco, a bouncy house, portals into new dimensions, interactive art, a zip line show (the warehouse boasts 30-foot ceilings), and other “abundant ghastly curiosities.” One night only! Get your tickets now! (Must be 21 or older.)