NYC Halloween 2013: A GuideOctober 24, 2013 - by Linda Sheridan
It's fall in NYC and that means Halloween is just around the corner! There’s something for everyone, from haunted pumpkin gardens at NYBG and a special sleepover at Ripley's for little kids, haunted houses for teens, to more adult festivities at Highline Ballroom and Webster Hall. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of NYC's Village Halloween Parade. Check out our roundup of events. Happy Halloween!
Smack dab in Times Square is the popular Madame Tussaud’s New York interactive wax museum, not only with 85,000 square feet of display and party space, but with over 220 eerily real-life clones of Who’s Hot. Bring your camera and have a friend snap your picture alongside the stars and sports celebrities! For a Halloween fun house experience, Madame Tussauds’ Scream is hard to top. When she says, “Be afraid, be very afraid!” believe her! Be brave, but do not go alone! Pick your path and make sure your vocals cords are in working order. The Mirror Maze is scream-out-loud fun, where you’ll feel your heart pumping and your palms becoming sweaty. You never know who’s lurking in the shadows! Will you make it out of the cellblock without succumbing to a psycho killer? For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Many places promise to offer “something for the whole family,” but at Jekyll and Hyde Club Times Square that promise is actually fulfilled. Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and late Victorian England, the stunning interior is cavernous, two-stories-high, and filled to the brim with plush leather seating and live actors who wander about portraying well-developed characters (such as the time-travelling scientist Professor Scuttle). There’s also a plethora of memorabilia, and animatronic creatures that periodically come to life with diners while a stage hosts the occasional reanimation of Frankenstein’s monster, and Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) offers a touching tale about looking beyond one’s physical appearance. Read our full review of the Jekyll & Hyde Club here. 216 W. 44th St., 212-869-4933; jekyllandhydeclub.com
Some of you might be familiar with an all-but-obsolete former American pastime: drive-in theatres, where you could pile the family into your car with snacks galore and enjoy the show in snug comfort in your car. Well, New York's unique interactive guided tour The Ride created a twist on taking you to the drive-in. Their state-of-the-art buses turn the streets of NYC into live theater on wheels with you as the audience. Through November 2, this popular tourist attraction is being transformed into The Ride: Haunted New York ["In the City that never sleeps, the dead never rest!"] with NYC turned into a spooky stage with street performances. Featured, along with all the usual fun facts about the city and entertainers that vary from singing/dancing flash mob to solo and duo performances, are ghost stories and some scary urban legends of New York. There's also a Halloween costume contest, with prizes to the winners.
Reservations are required. Rides leave at various times, but The Ride: Haunted New York has two performances at 7 and 8:30 P.M., Monday and Wednesday-Saturday. For tickets and more information visit www.experiencetheride.com. Have at least two performance dates and times in mind prior to purchasing, however same-day reservations are sometimes available. It's family fun, but children must be at least six years old. Narration is available in five languages. -- Ellis Nassour
NOW THROUGH 10/31
THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN'S HAUNTED PUMPKIN GARDEN
Experience the thrills and chills of the season with a garden full of intricately carved pumpkin sculptures, bugs, bats, parties, and parades. On October 19 and 20, Master Carver Ray Villafane and his team will transform humongous pumpkins into carnivorous plants and unearthly creatures. (Click here to read more about the world-record-breaking pumpkin that will be on display.) Pumpkin sculptures of spooky scarecrows, frightening spiders, sneaky snakes, and more await discovery at every turn in the Everett Children's Adventure Garden. Every day, youngsters can play inside a "gourd-geous" Pumpkin House; look for wiggly worms under a rotting log; go on a scavenger hunt for fall fruits; put on a scary show at the Pumpkin Puppet Theater; and join a Halloween Parade. Weekends offer programs with live bugs and creepy creatures, and ‘Gone Batty! Pumpkin sculptures of spooky scarecrows, frightening spiders, sneaky snakes, and more await discovery at every turn in the Everett Children's Adventure Garden. The display includes more than 500 intricately carved pumpkins that are sure to capture imagination. Special events run throughout the month. Through Oct. 31 in the Everett Children's Adventure Garden. 10am-6pm, plus after-hours evening events (Spooky Nightime Adventures, Oct. 18, 19, 25-26, 6:30pm-8:30pm). New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx NY, 718-817-8700, nybg.org/halloween
EVERY WEEKEND THROUGH 11/3
BOO AT THE ZOO - DRAGONS AND DINOSAURS The Bronx Zoo offers the perfect venue to safely celebrate with all the family with costume parades, musical theater, magic shows with David Levitan, hay mazes, "3-D" intricately-carved pumpkins (at Dancing Crane Plaza), treat stations, the puppetry musical Beasts of the Magical World, and one of the world's largest and greatest wildlife conservancies. You can also take a trip back to prehistoric times on the Dinosaur Safari, with more than 20 snarling and roaring life-like animatronic dinosaurs — some up to 40 feet long. 11am-5pm. Click here for tickets.
SCARY MOVIES AT FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER This is the horror film fest for the real horror aficionado! Presented by Film Society of Lincoln Center, Scary Movies 5 is a veritable bobbing for apples and bloodlust feast.
Films include Ben Wheatley’s genre-crossing Kill List; Ti West’s supernatural caper The Innkeepers; Scott Leberecht’s fresh take on vampirism, Midnight Son; Mariano Baino’s 1993 atmospheric chiller Dark Water; the deliciously grotesque multiple-director omnibus The Theatre Bizarre; the gore classic Re-Animator; and two masterpieces of the occult and the supernatural, The Seventh Victim and Poltergeist. There's a trio of feline frights, including the American premiere of Byun Seung-wook’s The Cat, a rare showing of 1969’s Eye of the Cat, and The Black Cat. Don’t miss the Edgar Allan Poe tribute: Schlockmaster Roger Corman’s horror gem House of Usher, starring the incomparable Vincent Price as Roderick Usher, will be followed by the New York premiere of Nevermore, Jeffrey Combs’ live one-man Poe show.
Throughout the series, signed copies of John Landis's book Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares will be raffled. For the full schedule, showtimes, and film notes, click here.
RIPLEY'S NEW YORK "AFTER GHOUL" SPECIAL The “After Ghoul Special” returns to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square this Halloween for a week-long celebration where kids dressed in costume get in free! From 4pm to 7pm, kids dressed in Halloween costume will receive free entrance to the Odditorium with the purchase of a full-priced adult ticket ($29.95). Trick or treating will take place at several surprise locations throughout the museum. Those who dare can also participate in a Halloween themed scavenger hunt. For more information, visit www.ripleysnewyork.com or call 212.398.3133. Discounts cannot be applied to any other offer.
HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY AT GARAGE RESTAURANT & CAFE Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, where the world-famous parade begins, Garage Restaurant & Cafe will be celebrating Halloween with a live DJ and dancing until 4am on the biggest dance floor in the Village. Call 212-645-0600 for reservations and more info. 99 Seventh Ave. So. (near Stonewall Pl. & Grove St.); www.garagejazz.com
SPIRITS OF HALLOWEEN PAST AT THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Dress up like your favorite historical character and meet the headless horseman, listen to Gilded Age ghost stories, visit a fortune teller, and taste test historic candy. Special guests The Hudson River Ramblers will also entertain families throughout the museum with haunted history songs and tales. Ages 6 & up. 170 Central Park West (77th St.), 212-873-3400; www.nyhistory.org
18TH ANNUAL HALLOWEEN CELEBRATION AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY Olivia, Curious George®, Wild Thing, and Clifford the Big Red Dog® are among the characters who will greet thousands of costumed children as they arrive at the American Museum of Natural History to celebrate Halloween. Guests can wander among “dangerous” dinosaurs, “eerie” elephants, and the “uncanny” universe when more than 30 of the Museum’s halls open on Halloween for trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, fun with roaming cartoon characters, and live performances by David Grover and the Big Bear Band, Louie & Subanda, stilt walkers, and The Spectacular Magic of Robert Austin. Central Park West at 79th Street, Upper West Side NY, 212-769-5100, amnh.org
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING HALLOWEEN LIGHT SHOW
This year, the Empire State Building and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment are coming together to give New York City and the world a special Halloween Trick and Treat. The Empire State Building (located at 34th St. and Fifth Ave.) will synchronize its LED tower lights to Halloween-themed music broadcast on Clear Channel's radio stations Z100 and 103.5 KTU at 8:30pm EST, on October 31. The skyline spectacular will be choreographed by internationally-acclaimed lighting designer Marc Brickman to a Halloween-inspired soundtrack transmitted from atop ESB. The light and music show will also be featured during the 40th anniversary of New York's Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. Once the light show is over, it will appear on the Empire State Building's YouTube page at www.youtube.com/esbnyc.
ZOMBIE PROM HALLOWEEN PARTY AT HOUSTON HALL Themed to the movie Carrie and decked out in creepy cafeteria garb, Houston Hall will host its first-ever Zombie Prom, highlighted by a showing the original 1976-film on their 11-foot TV while a night-long DJ plays everything from "School in Flames" to "Red Right Hand." Come "guised" as whatever you'd like, but be dressed to kill for costume contests and big prizes. (Think scariest, sexiest, and prom king and queen...) Food and drink includes fried mini pumpkin raviolis and Greenpoint’s specialty pumpkin ale, exclusive to the venue. The turn-of-the-century steel mill space will be transformed into a dark and haunted center for telekinetic terror, so remember: Don't push the shy girl too far. 8pm-2am. $10 cover. 222 W. Houston St., 212-675-9323, www.houstonhallny.com
37TH ANNUAL HALLOWEEN COSTUME BALL Theater for the New City hosts this grand coming-together for everyday New Yorkers and artists alike. A carefree fall tradition, it celebrates the creativity that comes with the season. The one-night fiesta takes over all four of TNC's theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues, with over 1,500 wildly-clad celebrants gather for dancing, dining, showing off costumes and viewing acts from the cutting-edge of Cabaret and Theater. Costume or formal wear is required. Visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net for more info.
NYC'S 40TH ANNUAL VILLAGE HALLOWEEN PARADE
All those in costume are welcome to join hundreds of puppets, 53 Bands of different types of music, dancers and artists, and thousands of other New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation in the nation's most wildly creative public participatory event. NYC will also honor SUPERHEROES — the REAL ones: those folks from Occupy Sandy who stepped up to help the city out of that disaster; the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center Transplant Team and Jeff Bratcher—longtime Parade volunteer—who donated a kidney to the Parade Director’s son; and all those who have volunteered to marshal and animate giant puppets throughout the Parade long history and kept this humble arts organization going! Alert - ONLY enter the line-up on 6th Ave. from the East and South between Canal and Spring. 7-10pm. halloween-nyc.com
DOC WASABASSCO'S SPECIAL HALLOWEEN BURLESQUE SHOW
Celebrate Halloween (Thursday, Oct. 31st), with a special version of the greatest monthly burlesque show in New York, Doc Wasabassco's Burlesque! Join us as Wasabassco's sexiest and most innovative performers take to the stage in one of the most illustrious spaces in the city for a night of tease, spectacle, and couple friendly risqué fun. This Halloween Burlesque Show will feature Doc's Naughty Halloween Costume Contest with prizes, as well as his acclaimed show, featuring Amanda Whip, Dangrrr Doll, Medianoche, Mr. Gorgeous, Nasty Canasta, Penny Wren, Doc Wasabassco & more! Please note that instead of the usual late night show, doors for this event will be at 6pm, with the show starting at 8pm. This City Winery mainstay features a monthly rotation of performers and special guests including Evelyn Vinyl, Medianoche, Gal Friday, Go-Go Harder, Hazel Honeysuckle, Kita St. Cyr, Madame Rosebud, Marlo Marquise, Mischief Molly, Mr. Gorgeous, Nasty Canasta, Natasha King, Peekaboo Pointe, Penny Wren, Poison Ivory, Sapphire Jones, Stormy Leather, Doc Wasabassco and many more.
8pm. City Winery, 155 Varick St., NY, 212-608-0555, citywinery.com/newyork
WEBSTER HELL: OFFICIAL NYC HALLOWEEN AFTERPARTY
All 4 massive floors of Webster Hall transform into a twisted mausoleum filled with heart-pounding dance music, hair-raising spectacles, and a Halloween party experience one will never forget. Feel the heat as fire-wielding exhibitionists mesmerize the crowd. Sense the horror as flying flesh-eaters soar high over the crowd in the Grand Ballroom, hungry for blood. Experience the excitement as thousands of party-goers, hidden behind masks and disguised as freakish inversions of their former selves, revel together for what is hands down the biggest Halloween party in NYC every year. $5,000 costume contest. 8pm. Webster Hall, 25 E. 11th St., NY, 212-353-1600, websterhell.com
WICKED AND THE DAMNED MASQUERADE BALL Featuring a performance by a world-renowned DJ. Assorted packages available, $15-$1,880. Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th Street, NY 212-414-5994, highlineballroom.com
New York City's renowned haunted attraction. Ages 14 and up. 163 Varick Street, NY, 212-290-2825, bloodmanor.com
LUNA PARK'S HALLOWEEN HARVEST
Luna Park's Halloween Harvest will take place every weekend in October, in addition to Monday, Oct. 14, Columbus Day. The park will be decorated to the nines with kid-friendly decorations and costumed characters. Families can paint pumpkins together, enjoy seasonal food and beverage and guess the size of Luna Park's giant pumpkin to win cool prizes. As an added treat, sweets will be distributed within the park including family favorites like Welch's Fruit Snacks and Sour Jacks. Luna Park is home to the world famous Cyclone Roller Coaster and has over 28 rides, games and attractions for all ages to enjoy! Through Oct. 27. 12pm-8pm. Luna Park, 1000 Surf Ave., Brooklyn NY, 718-373-5862 lunaparknyc.com
SCARE AFFAIRS - HALLOWEEN AT THE THEATER
While Broadway may be the logical jumping off spot, the more ghoulishly inclined look to Off- and Off-Off-Broadway for their spine-tingling needs. As you can see from the sampling below, 2013’s “Festivities That Go Bump in the Night” are disarmingly provocative.
Dracula - RadioTheatre’s original, live audio-theatre production of Bram Stoker’s classic (adapted by the late Orson Welles and the living Dan Bianchi) performed in fiendishly horrifying detail by a disturbed (and disturbing) cast of storytellers and featuring original orchestral music and sound effects guaranteed to unnerve even the most intrepid. Thru 11/10. radiotheatrenyc.com
Nightmare: Killers 2
Proving that when the subject is haunted houses, a successful theme deserves — no needs — a sequel, last year’s heart-pounding trek through a world of serial killers, both real and fictional, has returned with a follow-up gallery of coldblooded sickos and psychos: Say “hi” to Charles Manson, Aileen Wournos, Harrison Graham, and others. But wait, there’s more: seeing as this is the 10th anniversary of creator Timothy Haskell’s immersive experience, you’ll be able to bide your waiting time in the lobby, where The Killer Acts Stage, a showcase for “artists of the Grand Guignol and beyond,” will be serving up a gallery of different acts every hour. Thru 11/2. hauntedhousenyc.com
Unlike the other productions listed, this inspired eerie-retro-addictive theatrical event — part cabaret, part Macbeth, part hands-on museum, part interactive film noir experience — unfolds at the labyrinthine McKittrick Hotel year-round. The actors appear in 1930s attire while you navigate a warren of rooms and peer into dusty crannies from behind commedia-inspired white masks. Absinthe. Champagne. Sultry and seminal musical performances. And then there’s Halloween and Halloween eve, the Hotel’s two most coveted nights…the details are in the secrets. sleepnomorenyc.com -- Griffin Miller
TIMES SCARE Located just West of Times Square at Eighth Ave. between 42nd & 43rd Sts., this is NYC’s intense and cutting-edge year-round haunted house. The horrors take place in the same rooms that, years ago, were stalked by a notorious killer — and his ghost is said to haunt the place. On a lighter note, there’s “horror” food, and drink, too; try the Cluck You sandwich. Adults can also enjoy Horror Happy Hour, where the Bogeyman cocktail reigns supreme. Those with heart problems or other health issues should proceed with caution. For pricing and combo packages, hours, tour times, to watch video, see photo gallery, and learn more, visit www.timesscarenyc.com. -- Ellis Nassour
HALLOWEEN ON BROADWAY AND AT THE MOVIES
What a fun Halloween party it would be if you’re at the Foxwoods Theatre watching the spectacular flying and acrobatic stunts in Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark and the dastardly deeds of Dr. Osborne, aka the Green Goblin. With music by U2’s Bono and The Edge. And is there anything scarier than mean, ol' Miss Hannigan, who vainly attempts to control a bunch of rambunctious muppets at an orphanage in the classic family musical Annie? It plays at the legendary Palace Theatre.
Is this not the best time of year to revisit famous Halloween spookhouse and horror movies, with everything from zombies and slashers to séances in them? How about Freddy and the Nightmare on Elm Street screamers, any movie with Halloween, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy in the title? Or Poltergeist or the classic E.T.? In the mood for some Stephen King? Rent Pet Sematary! Or, if you like to see heads roll, how about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? For something much milder, try the animated Monsters, Inc. Even less scary? There’s fun for the whole family when you join Lucy, Sally, Linus, and the Peanuts gang for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
3-D seems to be having a much-longer life now than when first introduced. For a great at-home theatrical experience on Halloween, check out the just-released Blu-ray 3-D of the edge-of-your-cushioned-seat 1953 blockbuster House of Wax [Warner Home Entertainment, SRP $40]. Don't spill your popcorn as you experience one of the most incredible finales of any horror flick. Don't get too close to the flames! Vincent Price, so fantastic playing mad men, is ideal for the role of demented Professor Henry Jarrod. The film has been meticulously remastered with a 4K scan, which restored the early 3-D two-projector image alignment. The Blu-ray set includes the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum, on which House of Wax is based.
Prepare to get bit in 3-D! Horror master Dario Argento is back with Dracula 3-D. The classic vampire tale has been reimagined for a sleazy (not for the faint-of-heart or the underaged set), leap-out-at-you, bloody good time. Thomas Kretschmann stars as the Count, Asia Argento (the director’s daughter) as Lucy, and Rutger Hauer as vampire hunter Van Helsing. The film was an official selection in a midnight slot at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Showing, beginning October 4 at least through Halloween on the big screen at the IFC Center (323 Avenue of the Americas, near W. 4th St.) and available on VOD as well iTunes. For a sneak peek, sink your fangs into the trailer here.
And what would Halloween be with Rocky Horror Picture Show costume parties at home with a DVD? The ultimate experience, of course, is participating with the audience at weekend midnight screenings at Chelsea Cinemas (W. 23rd St. at Eighth Ave.) where, for the bargain price of $9, costumed fans yell back lines at the screen and sing along with the cast. Just dropping is the movie original soundtrack on iTunes. For the whole experience, and other screening locations, visit the official fan site at www.rockyhorror.com. -- Ellis Nassour