What to Do for Halloween in NYC

nycgo.com staff

(Updated 09/25/2018)

No matter your age or scare tolerance, the City’s got Halloween fun for you—not just on the day itself, but throughout the month. Read on for our guide to blowout parties, haunted houses, funky costume shops and spooky tours of New York’s many spine-chilling spots.

Halloween Parade. Photo: Alexander Thompson

The Big One

We’ve got a full guide to the Village Halloween Parade, a spectacle you absolutely need to see. October 31

Gravesend inn. Photo: Tod Seelie

Haunted Houses

Blood Manor: For the quintessential haunted-house experience—gore, guts, screams and all that other good stuff—head to this hair-raising attraction in Tribeca. Make your way through a labyrinth of rooms where actors pop out to terrify you. Organizers recommend that visitors be at least 14 years old. Various dates from October 5 to November 3

Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel: Experience the most high-tech haunted house in the City, created by New York City College of Technology students in Downtown Brooklyn. Lights, sounds and robots will spook you in this forward-thinking fright fest. Although there might be some scares, this one should be OK for school-age kids. October 19–20, 25–31

Merchant’s House Museum: This historic Noho brownstone hosts candlelight ghost tours in late October, with guides narrating true stories of the Tredwell family—who occupied the house from 1835 through 1933 (during which time eight members of the clan passed away on the premises). Are they still hanging around? Be on alert for paranormal sights and sounds that others claim they’ve seen and heard over the years. Ghost tours October 19–20 & 24–30; lectures, house tours and other events throughout the month

Haunted House at Queens County Farm: The spookiness is on the tame side in the haunted house at this Queens working farm. Think dark rooms and winding hallways to navigate, plus things that go bump in the night. Organizers recommend it for ages 6 to 12. There will also be hayrides, a pumpkin patch and a corn maze at the museum. October 27

Courtesy, McKittrick Hotel

Parties

House of Yes: This Bushwick nightclub has a whole lineup of Halloween-themed parties, kicking off October 12 with their Dead Sexy Discotechnique (dress code: Zombies of Studio 54). Other events include an immersive theatrical evening, a Halloween-themed modern circus and, on Halloween night itself, a costume dance for the spiritually inclined. Various dates from October 12 to November 2

Haunted Beer Garden at Loreley: The outdoor patio at this popular Lower East Side beer garden gets a Halloween makeover with twinkling jack-o’-lanterns, but the real draw is the pumpkin kegs filled with pumpkin beer. On October 27 there will be a midnight costume contest, and the Halloween day celebration includes pre- and post-parade happy hours. October 17–31

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Inferno at McKittrick Hotel: Enter a wicked wonderland and let loose at the site of spooky theatrical hit Sleep No More. This costume dance bash goes into the wee small hours. October 26, 27 and 31

Madonnathon Halloween Party at Highline Ballroom: Come dressed as your favorite version of Madge (those with the best costumes will win prizes). A DJ will spin Madonna’s hits, fan favorites and remixes, while the Material Band will back live performances from a lineup of talented singers. October 31

Madame Morbid's Trolley Tours. Photo: Matt Zaller

Spooky Tours

The Ride in Masquerade: For the month of October, this immersive trip through Manhattan gets into the Halloween spirit. Performers don elaborate masks while guides tell chilling tales of New York’s past. Multiple tours each day

Madame Morbid’s Trolley Tours: Board this Victorian-style trolley for a ride through Brooklyn; you’ll hear terrifying tales about everything from vampires to aliens. Multiple tours Wednesday through Sunday

Tour Noir: Search for clues to solve the mystery behind a man’s disappearance as you visit landmarks around Lower Manhattan on this theatrical tour inspired by film noir. Daily at 1pm

New York City Ghosts Tour of Greenwich Village: Is there a neighborhood in New York better suited for a ghost tour than Greenwich Village? Take this 90-minute tour to visit notorious spots such as the so-called House of Death, where Mark Twain lived; a house where Edgar Allan Poe wrote some of his creepy tales; and a restaurant haunted by the ghost of Aaron Burr. Nightly at 8pm

Boroughs of the Dead Tour of Roosevelt Island: Today this island between Manhattan and Queens in the East River is a quiet bedroom community—but back in the 1800s it was where New York City’s authorities sent “undesirables.” This tour tells the terrible tales and urban legends of the smallpox hospital, almshouse and lunatic asylum that once stood on the island. October 7, 13, 21 and 27

Illuminated Mausoleums Moonlight Tour at Woodlawn Cemetery: This sprawling burial ground in the Bronx has many elaborate monuments to the dead. For three evenings in October, you can take a guided tour to see the resting places for some of those notable New Yorkers—brightened by colorful lights. October 26–28

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Spirited Stroll at Green-Wood Cemetery: A historian tells chilling tales of murders and angry spirits on this daytime tour of Brooklyn’s largest cemetery. You’ll also get to see inside the usually off-limits catacombs. October 27– 28

Cinematic Events

Night of Noir: A Kubrick Halloween at the Museum of the City of New York: Stanley Kubrick is best known for Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but this event celebrates the director’s earlier noir photography and films. The party includes movies, trivia and a costume contest, all timed to the museum’s exhibit of Kubrick’s photos for Look magazine. October 26; photography on view through October 28

Japanese Horror at the Brooklyn Academy of Music: BAM Rose Cinemas gets cinephiles into the Halloween spirit with postwar Japanese horror films. The lineup includes classics such as Godzilla and Mothra as well as the ghostly Kwaidan. October 26–November 1

Dismember the Alamo at Alamo Drafthouse: The four-film lineup of this blood-curdling marathon at Downtown Brooklyn’s dine-in theater is kept hidden until the event, heightening the thrills and chills. October 27

Get Out with Live Orchestra at Kings Theatre: This Oscar-winning film’s suspense was made even more blood-pressure-raising by Michael Abels’ magnificent score. A full orchestra, conducted by Darin Atwater, performs it in sync with the movie at a historic Brooklyn venue. October 28

Dog Costume Contest at Fort Greene Park. Courtesy, Fort Greene Pups

Events in Parks

Dog Costume Contest at Fort Greene Park: Join the pack at Fort Greene Park’s annual dog costume parade, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018. Dog owners go all out with their creations, which lean heavily on pop culture, and a panel of judges bestows prizes and ribbon rosettes on the canine winners. October 27

Halloween Haunted Walk in Prospect Park: Witches and werewolves stalk the woods on Prospect Park’s Lookout Hill during this family-friendly event (recommended for kids 7 to 12). The park also hosts a fair with food trucks and activities for kids, and the carousel gets a spooky makeover with a soundtrack of Halloween classics. October 27

Pumpkin Flotilla in Central Park: It’s a stunning sight every year when some 50 jack-o’-lanterns float on the Harlem Meer as twilight falls over Central Park. The event also includes a costume parade and spooky stories. October 28, pumpkin launch at 6:30pm

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Family-Friendly Museum Fun

Subway Shindig at the New York Transit Museum: Mask-making, face-painting, and shadow-puppet theater in the window of a subway car highlight this party at the New York Transit Museum. October 30

Spooky City at the Museum of the City of New York: Kids arrive in costume to trick or treat around the museum, which also hosts a scavenger hunt and spooky story times. October 31

Dia de Los Muertos at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum: This event takes place the weekend after Halloween, observing the Mexican tradition of honoring the departed. Families can help decorate the museum’s colorful altar and celebrate with music and stories. November 3

Abracadabra Superstore. Photo: Kate Glicksberg

Costume Shops

Abracadabra: Magic is only half the fun at this zany superstore, which sells costumes all year round. Abracadabra also has its own makeup line, plus specialists to help with application and effects.

Halloween Adventure: This crowded costume store is always ready for Halloween. It’s packed to the gills with all sorts of getups, wigs, props and decorations.

Screaming Mimi’s: Sift through garb from different decades at this West Village vintage clothing store, a perfect place to coordinate a throwback costume.

More Halloween

Festivals & Parades
Halloween Parade Guide

Attractions
Haunted NYC

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NYC Urban Legends

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