Halloween is just a couple weeks away and if you still haven’t tapped into the spirit of the holiday, fear not because New York City is filled with upcoming spook-tac-ular events (we couldn’t resist the pun) leading up to the big night. This year, some of our Untapped Halloween picks include haunted tours of old New York mansions, Green-Wood Cemetery and Fort Totten in Queens. Not to mention, there’s an all-night horror movie fest in Brooklyn and a reenactment of Michael Jackson’s Thriller in Times Square. Here’s a list of some of the off-the-beaten-track events we’re excited about for this year’s Halloween.
10. Merchant’s House Museum Haunted Tour
Do the spirits of the Tredwells, who lived in the Merchant’s House for over a hundred years, still haunt the building? According to the Merchant’s House Museum, ever since the building was converted to a museum in the 1930s “odd happenings” have occurred. Staff, neighbors, and visitors have reported strange sights, smells, and sounds. Be a part of the paranormal investigation with candlelight tours in what The New York Times has called “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House.” Tours begin October 23rd.
9. Murder Mystery In Mount Vernon Hotel and Museum
An unidentifiable skeleton was discovered under the floorboards of this 1799 carriage house and it’s your turn to figure out whodunit. The Mount Vernon Hotel and Museum will be hosting murder mystery parties by candlelight. Explore the grounds and collect clues to unravel the truth behind this mysterious Jane Doe. For tickets and details, click here.
8. Boroughs of the Dead Historical Tours
The Boroughs of the Dead offers ongoing haunted tours throughout the month of October. We’ve previously covered their haunted tour of lower Manhattan, where we learned about the dark history of Lower Manhattan. They also offer “The Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour,” a 2-hour tour through East and West Village that promises to be “all killer, no filler.” The stories have been handpicked by veteran tour guides and are guaranteed to give you goosebumps. The tour meets at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery and ends near Washington Square Park. For details and tickets, click here.
7. Green-Wood Cemetery’s Into the Veil
On October 24th, Green-Wood Cemetery in partnership with Atlas Obscura will be hosting Into the Veil: An After Dark Exploration. The cemetery proclaims that their Gothic arch serves as a portal between “the land of the living and the realm of the dead.” Cross over and discover for yourself. With just a flashlight, attendees can explore the 478 acres on their own, weaving through 30 historic mausoleums along with the catacombs and cemetery chapel for a variety of candle-lit programming and entertainment to experience hidden passages of music, history and time. Stargazing, musical performances and readings will also unfold throughout the night.
This event will take place on October 24th from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am. Pop-up speakeasies will be run by some of New York’s leading bars, including Attaboy, The Drink, Broken Land, Sea Witch, Stop Time and Gold Star. Cocktail attire is encouraged, but remember it will get chilly at night. Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and, of course, bring a flashlight. Tickets can be purchased here.
6. NiteHawk Cinema’s “A Nite to Dismember”
Brooklyn’s premier dinner-and-a-movie theater, NiteHawk Cinema, will be holding an all night horror movie fest on All Hallows Eve. Starting at midnight, A Nite To Dismember will travel through the decades of horror with the following movies: House on Haunted Hill (1959); A Bay of Blood a.k.a. Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971); Poltergeist (1982); Scream (1996); and a top-secret film that won’t be revealed until the night of. Tickets can be purchased for $50 on their website here.
5. Haunted Lantern Tour at Fort Totten Park
Built in 1862, Fort Totten Park is a Civil War-era fortress located in Bayside Queens. On October 23rd and 24th, the Urban Park Rangers will be giving their annual lantern tour of the historic Water Battery. The tour combines both history and Halloween fun. Participants should line up at the Battery by 8:15 to guarantee admission. For more historic buildings, check out our articles on The Forts of NYC and 20 Abandoned Places in NYC.
4. Critical Halloween: DEMO
Interesting in testing your expression of radical thought this Halloween? For the past several years, Storefront for Art and Architecture’s Critical Halloween has been bringing together New York City intellectuals who wish to participate in “critical discussion through music, dance, and costume design” on Halloween night. This year, they invite guests to examine ideas and issues in art, architecture, and design surrounding all things DEMO – DEMOstration, DEMOlition, and DEMOcracy.
Put your intellectual curiosity to the test! Costume prizes will be awarded to the Best Overall, Best Group, Best Individual, Best Duo, and three special prizes for Best Demolition, Best Demonstration and Best Democracy.
3. Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest
Luna Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn holds its Halloween Harvest every weekend, starting at noon, until November 1st. This year’s family-friendly festival will be bigger and better than ever as they have expanded the fun into Scream Zone section of Coney Island Park. Events will include Grandma’s Hay Maze and Pumpkin Patch, where you can pick and paint a pumpkin, Kooky Spooky Karaoke, Jack’s Pumpkin Shack, where you can win $1,000 by guessing the correct weight of their giant pumpkin, and a Monster Mash.
You will also be able to enjoy the park’s other regular attractions like the Coney Island Cyclone Rollercoaster, the Brooklyn Barge, Power Surge, and WindstarZ.
Check out Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest’s full schedule of events here.
2. Thrill The World’s NYC Zombie Masquerade Ball
Have you ever wished you could go back in time and partake in the music video for Thriller? Well, apparently, you’re not alone. Every year Thrill The World brings together Michael Jackson fans to recreate the video. This year, on October 24th, Thrill The World is going above and beyond with a Zombie Masquerade Ball. To register for the event, click here.
1. Dia de los Muertos at New York Botanical Garden
If you’ve had enough of ghouls and ghosts, celebrate the Mexican tradition of the Dia de los Muertos at New York Botanical Garden. Concluding its critically-acclaimed Frida Kahlo exhibit, the Garden will be celebrating this holiday for two weekends. While the Day of the Dead may sound spooky, the holiday is actually a festival that brings together family and friends to remember loved ones. The Botanical Garden will have “a procession of larger-than-life skeletons, butterflies, and La Catrina — the grande dame of this colorful holiday.” In addition, artists in residence The Villilobos Brothers will close at the fiestas with performances on October 31 and November 1st.
Check out more of the botanical gardens throughout the city with our list here.
Bonus #1: The Untapped Cities Remnants of Penn Station Tour
Though not Halloween specific, we will be honoring the lost original Pennsylvania Station with a special anniversary tour of the Remnants of Penn Station – of which they are many. This tour, led by Justin Rivers, playwright of The Eternal Space and Tamara Agins, project manager at the NYC Department of City Planning, will take guests on a quest tracking down obscure architectural fragments. Guests for this tour will also get a special reproduction of the ticket for the first train that came into Penn Station.
Bonus #2: New York Adventure Club’s Halloween Bash
The New York Adventure Club will host a Halloween Bash at a secret bar in Manhattan (we know where it is and it’s worth the $80 ticket to experience it, we think). There will also be a 3 hour open bar, small bites, and a judged costume contest for best individual and group costumes.