New York City has plenty of purportedly haunted locales, but a surprising paucity of that suburban childhood Halloween staple: “haunted” houses. Sure, you can head to a bar downtown and wait for the ghost of Jack Kerouac to manifest itself in a cocktail garnish, or hope to run into a tragic silent movie star on the site of an old film studio in Queens, but there aren’t a lot of places where you can pay for an aspiring actor in passably believable gore makeup to make scary faces at you.
But, the haunted houses and attractions (or, in modern day internet speak, “haunting-inspired immersive experience pop-ups”) we do have come correct. They’ve got your fake blood, your corpses, your jump scares, your actual boneyards, tableaus straight out of your most terrifying nightmares, and it’s all so very Instagrammable. So go ahead and stake out an abandoned hospital to catch a glimpse of the ghost of a mercurial psychiatrist for as long as you want. Then get back in the New York groove, and pay a fee for instant gratification and an artificial thrill at the city’s best fake fear factories.
What do you do with an empty Toys “R” Us store in Queens? Transform it into a House of Horrors, of course. Instead of sugar-mad children, “zombies” now stalk the aisles of the 50,000 square-foot space, lurking “at every corner, ready to attack.” The terrifying walk-through of “Zombies R Back” lasts an estimated 15 minutes, but wait, there are more screams to be had! Expect carnival games and snack stations, too.
Cost: General Admission is $25.