Want to be happier than a vampire at a blood bank? Come to New York City for Halloween.
If Gotham is known for anything, it’s the seemingly endless variety of options that present themselves to you at any given moment. So, it should come as no surprise that when Halloween comes around, the city that never sleeps goes into overdrive with a massive array of macabre events that tap into the frenetic creativity that is uniquely New York. So, whether you like to dress up or watch from the sidelines, get slightly spooked or completely freaked out, there is something for every age, taste, price point, and scare level.
In any given October, New York is loaded with hundreds of Halloween events that run the gamut from dog costume parades to full-on immersive horror spectacles. This year is no exception. We sorted through scores of creepy, kookie, and altogether ooky events and came up with our ten favorites.
The Village Halloween Parade
70,000 marchers and two million spectators can’t be wrong. Now in its 50th year, this mother of all Halloween events is the largest of its kind in the country and is open to any marcher in a costume. Known for its giant puppets and over-the-top creativity, the Parade is listed on the “100 Things to Do Before You Die.” For more information on this not-to-be-missed event, check out our Guide to the Village Halloween Parade.
Call the pup-a-razzi! After a near miss that could have prevented this year’s event, the party that’s been dubbed as “the Met Gala of the Canine Community” is back with a 33rd edition. Bring your dog or just bring your camera. As Time Magazine said, “Where else can you see a corgi dressed as french fries and a bulldog triceratops strutting down the runway?”
Travel out to Brooklyn and drink your way through a scientific séance experience featuring a series of otherworldly experiments and interactive games to meet the plastered paranormal. This month-long 21-and-over party promises an intimate, immersive experience where guests transform into scientists, conduct experiments, and compete in exciting games for free shots and bragging rights.
Come up to the Harlem Meer in Central Park during peak leaf time for a family-friendly event full of magic, entertainment, and music featuring the city’s largest pumpkin flotilla. Drop off your carved pumpkin and head to the picnic area to listen to not-so-spooky stories, enjoy a hair-raising magic show, and adorn your own trick-or-treat bag with Central Park–themed decorations.
Take a nighttime trip through this historic 19th-century cemetery’s hills, valleys, glacial ponds, paths, and collections of mausoleums. This not-to-be-missed walking tour ends with a visit to the Catacombs, which are normally closed to the public. Who knows? You may run into the ghosts of Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Civil War generals, and sports legends–all permanent residents of the property.
The halls of nightclub Musica in Hell’s Kitchen have been transformed into a choose-your-own-adventure-style journey through the intricate details of Bram Stoker’s original classic vampire novel. The event promises hypnosis, tarot readings, scary tales, darkness, flashing lights, thunder, lightning, and more. The dress code is black. A version of black tie is highly suggested on Friday and Saturday nights, but basic black will always get you in the door.
Are you ready to walk with the ghosts of New York City? See why the City That Never Sleeps really never sleeps. Experience guided tours as they unveil over 400 years of New York’s history of plague, war, and turbulent times. Visit haunted places like the homes of Mark Twain and infamous former Vice President Aaron Burr, and hear stories and hauntings resulting from the Revolutionary War to a Prohibition-Era speakeasy.
Long before the Off-Broadway hit “Sleep No More” transformed a West Chelsea warehouse into the McKittrick Hotel, the space was the famed Sound Factory (and later Twilo) nightclub. So it seems only suitable that for three nights this October, the multi-level event space reverts to its nightlife roots. The Monster Party invites revelers to dance, drink, unleash their inner beast and explore a forbidden dreamscape filled with live acts ranging from intimate to epic in scale throughout the floors of the “Sleep No More” environment.
All the fun with none of the fear. If you love the atmosphere and décor of a haunted house but don't want the stress of being touched and scared out of your wits, Halloween House is for you. Located inside the Oculus Transportation Hub at the World Trade Center, Halloween House boasts a fully immersive experience as visitors visit impeccably detailed and fully realized Halloween environments that include the "Trick or Treat" Room, the "Glow In the Dark" Room, the Horror Movie Graveyard, Vampires Lair, and more.
If Halloween House at the Oculus is a low-key immersive experience, Blood Manor is on the opposite end of that spectrum. Designed to be the most intense, creepy, and scare-inducing haunted house attraction in the city, Blood Manor is comprised of 10,000 square feet of labyrinth passageways and themed rooms designed to maximize fears. While it’s highly recommended for fright junkies, it’s not recommended for anyone under 14. And this place lives up to its name, so unless you want to take a trip to the dry cleaner the next day, don’t wear white.