It’s officially spooky season, and Boo York City knows how to celebrate the right way, every single day of October. We’ve conjured up a hauntingly spectacular list for you, your ghoul friends and any Halloween enthusiasts to dig through—and we’ve got your dog covered too. These macabre tours, bone-chilling events and prospects for potion making (and drinking) will cast a monthlong spell. You won’t want to miss any of them—they’re to die for. ⚰️
Have a cow at the Amazing Maize Maze
The annual favorite returns to the Queens County Farm Museum with an artistic twist: this year’s labyrinth is the shape of famed pop artist Andy Warhol’s Cow. Those who conquer the cornstalk maze can peer down from Victory Bridge at the farm-appropriate design.
Head into the cryptic at the Green-Wood Cemetery Catacombs
What happens after hours at a cemetery? Sign up for this tour to find out—and explore the grounds, graves and rarely visited catacombs of Brooklyn’s largest necropolis along the way.
Get in high spirits at Oscar Wilde
Out-spook your Sunday scaries at this extravagantly adorned, Victorian-style eatery and cocktail bar, which channels the spirit (ahem) of its eponym. More than 300 varieties of whiskey are poured at a bar built from an 1819 player piano, ranking high on our list of the City’s “most likely to be haunted” objects.
Plan your costume at Abracadabra
Part magic shop, part Halloween superstore, Abracadabra in Flatiron is a shopping destination for all things macabre. Gory props like severed limbs line glass display cases, but the true test of bravery comes when sifting through the charmingly disorganized inventory to find the perfect holiday getup.
Take a trip to Chip City
Every gooey gourmet cookie at Chip City is worth a try, but their seasonal varieties—like Monster Chip and Frightfetti—are so good, it’s…scary. Look for these festive, fresh-baked confections at the City’s eight locations or flag down the Chip Mobile.
Solve a mystery on Tour Noir: A Dame to Guide For
This walking tour mixes history and histrionics for an enjoyably hard-boiled look at Lower Manhattan. The premise, see, is that tour guide Jason Thompson needs to help his former fiancée Veronica hunt down her missing husband. Tourgoers get to witness the chase and learn about Little Italy, Chinatown and Wall Street.
Step inside Euphoria’s Nightmare on Jefferson Street
Euphoria, an immersive art gallery experience in Bushwick studio Absurd Conclave, is dialing up the sense of danger in their Halloween installation, Nightmare on Jefferson Street. Be prepared for your deepest fears to be preyed upon in the venue’s rooms; we don’t know quite what you’ll see, but the stack of dolls with accompanying wall scrawls in a recent IG post may be a terrifying indication.
Bust ghosts on a Lower Manhattan scavenger hunt
Meet at Fraunces Tavern—a place said to be haunted itself (there’s a tour to that effect on October 30)—and set off on a scavenger hunt around this downtown neighborhood, which over the centuries has seen its share of spooky scenes.
Learn new skills at Old Home Day and pick (or toss) pumpkins at Decker Farm
There’s nothing spooky about the traditional demonstrations at Historic Richmond Town’s Old Home Day. It’s just good, clean fun, as is pumpkin picking at nearby Decker Farm. What sounds like messier fun, though, is the pumpkin chucking. It apparently involves a bungee system that allows you to hurl those gourds pretty far. Sign us up.
Test your nerves at Blood Manor
Dare to enter a labyrinth of fear? This haunted house in Lower Manhattan is not for the faint hearted, nor children under 14 years old. Connected by dark tunnels, the rooms—which have names such as “Thunderdome” and “Killer Clown Room”—are intended to make you scream.
See both sides at Jekyll & Hyde Haunted Asylum
Walk through this long-abandoned asylum where a twisted, morbid dean once lobotomized his patients, and you’ll discover jump scares behind every dark corner. More screams await at the adjacent Jekyll & Hyde Club, a restaurant and cocktail bar where mummies and gargoyles come to life while you dine.
Show who’s boss at The Office Trivia: Halloween Episodes
If “Facebook Jim” and “Katy Perry Kelly” mean anything to you, you’re more than qualified to attend this Office-themed trivia night at the Chelsea Bell. Rally a team (remember, two heads are better than one), register in advance and be sure to brush up on the show’s infamous Halloween episodes; prizes will be awarded to the most knowledgeable fans.
Enjoy your drinks extra chilled at the House of Spirits Soirée
This haunting cocktail experience takes place in a five-story mansion in Lower Manhattan, where guests encounter séances, specters, live music and magic. Experience a dark and chilling tale loosely based on the life of Spanish painter Francisco Goya. Period fashion is encouraged.
Get slimed at Sloomoo Institute
Kids, adults, Vigo the Carpathian—no one is impervious to the awesome powers of slime. Sloomoo Institute, which celebrates the product all the time, adds a spooky twist for the month, with its Slime Cove, costume parties and limited-edition slimes. Among the varieties on offer: Creepy Cobwebs (cotton candy and marshmallow scented, which sounds nice) and Nine Lives (cat fur scented, which sounds . . . interesting).
Scream at Halloween Kills
Jamie Lee Curtis stars in the horror film Halloween Kills, the sequel to 2018’s Halloween. The trailer teases serial killer Michael Myers surviving a house fire to continue his path of destruction. The movie will be released both in theaters and on Peacock Premium on October 15, but there’s nothing like a good scare at a cinema (check listings for shows; AMC Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem and Alamo Drafhouse in Downtown Brooklyn look like good bets), where the communal screams are almost as good as the film itself.
Bring the kids to meet arachnids at Boo at the Zoo
Every Saturday and Sunday in October, the Bronx Zoo offers a seemingly endless count of family-friendly activities at Boo at the Zoo, including magic, pumpkin carving, costume parades and spider mazes—and, of course, the chance to see creepy creatures that go bump in the day.
Be bewitched by the Hocus Pocus Drag Brunch
Winifred Sanderson said it best: “Dance! Dance! Dance until you die!” We can’t think of a better way to get excited for Hocus Pocus 2 than this Hocus Pocus drag brunch at Stella 34 Trattoria. It’s hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Shuga Cain, and we bet our dead man’s toe that attendees will run amok. Amok. Amok.
Conjure some Monday Night Magic at the Players Theatre
You may not know exactly what you’ll see coming into this magic show in the Village—sleights of hand, mentalism acts, close-up card tricks, for example—but you will undoubtedly leave shaking your head. Performers rotate from week to week.
Stay in the picture at Pier 17’s Pumpkin Arch
For one of NYC’s most Instagrammable Halloween moments, check out Pier 17 in the Seaport. The place has built a reputation for creating elaborate, over-the-top pumpkin arches year after year. Perfectly placed to frame the Brooklyn Bridge, this arch, which usually stays up through Thanksgiving, is the photo op you don’t want to miss.
Have a bloody good meal at Beetle House
Beetle House! Beetle House! Beetle House! This East Village bar celebrates Halloween all year long, and we love that. From night to mourning, Beetle House will make you feel like a main character in a Tim Burton film. If you love a delicious crime scene, we recommend the Sweeney Beef served with razors. And just try to summon the courage to pair it with a Blood Bag cocktail.
Undertake a trolley tour with Madame Morbid
Hop on one of Madame Morbid’s Trolley Tours for a bone-chilling ride around Brooklyn, filled with ghost stories and local haunts. Over the course of 90 minutes, you’ll hear about the borough’s dark history, all from a Victorian trolley that eerily resembles a funeral parlor.
Make it tomb time at Woodlawn’s Illuminated Mausoleum Night Tour
The Bronx’s Woodlawn Cemetery is one of the largest graveyards in the City, and its annual Illuminated Mausoleum Night Tour may be its most popular event of the year. And why not? You’ll get a guided moonlight tour of some of NYC’s most extravagant and detailed mausoleum architecture.
Unleash your canine creativity at the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade
Every year, hundreds of pooches and their people descend on the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park for what’s reputed to be the largest pet costume contest in the country. Expect adorable classics like sharks and pirates alongside wildly creative characters—past hits include a Puppuccino and the “Woof” of Wall Street.
Go stark raven mad in Haunted Greenwich Village
Join the “perturbing Professor” on a guided tour of the Manhattan neighborhood’s many haunts. Among the specters you can, er, expect to learn more about are perpetually distraught author Edgar Allan Poe and dueling former Vice President Aaron Burr.
Practice your potions at The Cauldron
Perhaps the most magical bar in NYC, the Cauldron has a potion-making experience that you won’t want to miss. Brew your own molecular potions in an hourglass siphon, all at the wave of your wand. New to the wizarding world and worried about poisoning yourself? Don’t worry; your potion master will be there to guide you.
Sip a seasonal batch of pumpkin ale
Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale is made with nutmeg and real pumpkin, making it an essential fall brew. Sample the ale at their Williamsburg brewery, open for tours and indoor and outdoor service, or order it at bars throughout the City.
Shower your attention on Psycho—Chilling Music for Halloween
Bring a picnic blanket and snacks to Central Park (near the West 66th Street entrance) for an evening of hair-raising live music and tales. Guests will hear and learn about Bernard Hermann’s musical score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, courtesy of the Met Opera’s Aaron Blake and a string quartet.
Take the Super Spooky Candlelight Ghost Tour at Merchant’s House Museum
Lots of NYC places are said to be haunted. But this one really is! Fine, we can’t actually confirm that, but there might be someone who can help. Take this late-night ghost tour with paranormal investigator Dan Sturges to find out for yourself; it begins after the evening’s regular ghost tours finish. That makes it super spooky. It’s just science.
Do the Time Warp at The Rocky Horror Picture Show at St. George Theatre
A 1970s cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the longest-running theatrical release in film history, even playing to some empty houses during the pandemic to keep the streak alive. Its annual showing at the spectacular St. George Theatre is a tradition; come early for the pre-show concert by the Flesh Junkies, a local zombie punk cabaret band.
Spy high-society specters at Morris-Jumel Mansion
Over the years, this old haunted house has been the site of many apparitions. Among the best known are former Vice President Aaron Burr (see October 24 for more) and his wife, Eliza Jumel. See them—if you can, or dare—on this after-dark tour, which affords access to parts of the museum that are usually closed to the public.
Mask Up at the Halloween Parade
Heading to Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village to see this festive traveling costume party is a no-brainer way to round off your month of frights. But there is still a bit of doubt over whether it will take place this year, due to funding issues. In the event there is no event, we have an alternative: seeing Gwar at Irving Plaza. If that doesn’t end your October with a fright, you just might be made of stone. [Update, 10/1: Great news! Thanks to a donation from a generous New Yorker, the Halloween Parade is a definite go. But Gwar still makes a strong alternative for those who like some heavy metal with their costumed revelry.]