There really isn’t a more authentic place to spend Halloween than on the east coast. Not only is it steeped in the nation’s history, but it’s also home to some of the nation’s most beautiful fall foliage. While the golden leaves are softly falling in Central Park, the rest of the city is happily gearing up for Halloween with a delightful mish-mash of spooky festivities.
Village Halloween Parade
Every year, Sixth Avenue in Manhattan yields to the magic that is Halloween and fills with masterful puppetry by some of the best professionals in the business. While the stunning works of creative prowess highlight this parade, what makes it unique is anyone can join the parade–so long as you’re in costume. Each year has a different theme, and as the puppets parade down Sixth Avenue, they’re followed by anyone and everyone off the streets who want to join in on the “most wildly creative public participatory event” in the world. Manhattan gets decidedly crowded, so if you’re coming from outside the city, it’s probably a good idea to skip the dicey traffic and check out the bus schedules instead.
Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade
New Yorkers love their dogs, so it’s only natural that they get the canine counterparts involved on the big day. With over $4,000 in prizes up for grabs, these costumes get elaborate pretty quickly. You won’t find Dachshunds in hot dog costumes at this parade–not if you want to win a prize like a new iPad for the “Best in Show”. If you don’t have a dog, various rescues are present to help you find the new member of your family.
Blackout Haunted House
The Blackout Haunted House at the Vortex Theater scares the pants off you in a slightly sadistic twist: you have to go through the haunted house alone. Yep, no partner to grab onto as you creep through darkened rooms and wait for someone to jump out at you. When you enter, you’ll be given a protective mask and a flashlight before you’re shuttled through to have every ounce of bravery scared out of you. Beware as this isn’t for the young; you have to be at least 18 to enter. Simulated situations can get a little…R rated, and there is some pretty terrifying physical contact throughout. If it gets to be a bit much, you’ll be given a safe word, and someone non-scary will appear and escort you to safety.
Get Spooked by Some Real Ghosts
If simulated horror isn’t your thing, go for the real deal at some of NYC’s most haunted locales. Many of these offer tours, and some even capitalize on their paranormal activities with ghost tours. Go to the Billop House, built in the 1680s, where British loyalist Christopher Billop murdered a female servant because he believed she was spying for the Patriots. Spectral sightings of both Billops and the murdered woman have been sighted, as have glimpses of patrolling Redcoats.
As if NYC isn’t magical enough, they pull out all the stops for the month of October. From raucous parties to their haunted houses, you’ll find it all somewhere in the city.