Halloween is a magical time to be in New York City–as long as you know where to go. If you don’t, you can end up in mediocre bars with lots of drunk New Yorkers dressed in crazy costumes. But there are amazing things to do for Halloween and shows that run all year-round that are the perfect place to celebrate the spookiest holiday. Here are my top picks for the best things to do for Halloween–plus some advice for where to watch the New York Halloween parade.
The Blood Ball Benefitting Delete Blood Cancer at The Box
NYC-area professionals and partygoers seeking unique experiences to showcase their style and get a chance to make a difference. While tickets are a little pricey (they start at $250), it’s worth supporting such a great cause. In fact, 100% of the profits are going to registering potential bone marrow donors who can help save the lives of those with blood cancer. There will be cocktails, circus acts, burlesque and I’m sure a whole lot more. The event is sponsored by Veuve, Belvedere and Godiva to name a few. Celebrities have been known to frequent this A-list costume ball so dress to impress!
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns
Head to Old Westbury Gardens and take a journey along a haunted walking trail that showcases more than 5,000 hand-carved and illuminated Jack’O Lantern faces and groups of Jack O’Lantern patterns! Each unique Jack O’Lantern is a work of a local artist or sculptor who spend anywhere from a few minutes to upwards of 20 hours on the designs. The pumpkins are arranged according to theme along the trail, which range from larger-than-life safari animals (Tigers and Zebras are arranged out of Jack O’Lantern Patterns, it’s amazing) to celebrities!
There was a Taylor Swift, Royal Couple and even Hillary Clinton and Trump Pumpkins! Or as I like to call him, Trump-kin! Click HERE for more pics and my whole review! There was even a proposal pumpkin. There is a spooky soundtrack that’s piped in throughout the walk for the perfect music. It’s a totally scare-free attraction so it’s great if you have kids or just a scaredy cat on your hand. I love this event, originally out in Los Angeles. Highly recommended! Will definitely do this as an annual tradition. I know they’re just going to keep upping their game!
Click HERE to purchase tickets. Adults $26, Children $22.
Sleep No More
It’s no secret how much I love Sleep No More if you’re a regular reader. This interactive theater production takes you through a five floors set you can explore and actors you can follow. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, you immerse yourself in this adult playground all while wearing a mask and silently taking it all in. Nothing is creepier or a better way to celebrate Halloween than a “hotel” filled with insane asylums, crazy hospitals and even a murder or two! And for spooky cocktails before or after the show, head to Gallow Green, the rooftop bar.
Queen of the Night
Queen of the Night is an interactive dinner theater held in the subterranean space of the Paramount Theater just outside of Times Square. The production is loosely based on Mozart’s The Magic Flute, but I do mean loose. The real highlight of the night is the array of bizarre experiences designed to take you outside of your comfort zone. When I was there I witnessed a naked woman in a bathtub, simulated sex on a table and I was even taken to meet the queen. Oh and how could I forget being taken into a bathroom lit only by candles with 17 other cast members where my husband and were asked to convey our undying love for one another. The oddness and interesting adventure is the perfect place to celebrate a classy Halloween.
When I found out that the king of fun, Neil Patrick Harris, endorsed Accomplice in New York City and had done the late night talkshow circuit singing its praises I added this to my list of must-sees immediately. It’s described as being part theater show, scavenger hunt and bar crawl–just a few of my favorite things! You’re broken up into groups of about 10 participants and you work together and solve mysteries as you journey through the city, talk with a cast of characters and even enjoy a few snacks and cocktails along the way.
I have yet to experience this but I hear it’s great! And solving a mystery seems like a fabulous and classy way to enjoy Halloween that does not include dressing up as a slutty nurse or French maid. See the Accomplice website for more details.
Then She Fell
This show is on my list as well, I have read that it is like Sleep No More yet more intimate and its audience members are kept on a tighter path. Audiences are capped at 15 people so you can imagine there is no place to hide. The show goes on in Brooklyn in an old outpatient wing of a hospital so this creepy spot is the perfect place to celebrate Halloween.
BBQ Films Presents Blade Rave
(BBQ Films last event Empire Records Pictured Above) So, it’s clear that I think interactive shows are a great way to lose yourself and enjoy Halloween. BBQ Films, the same crew that brought me to Empire Records’ extravaganza a couple months ago, is hosting the most creepiest of Halloween bashes with a screening of cult classic Blade. There will be tons of (fake) blood and everything that vampires could want! Go as a pureblood if you dare to get the special treatment you deserve as centuries-old royalty, including access to special areas, unique performances, and special one-of-a-kind gifts. Check out the website.
More Fab Suggestions
oh and don’t forget to check out my High End Halloween article for Forbes for a few more suggestions.
Tips for Where to Watch the NYC Parade
There are Halloween parties across the country but none come close to the New York City Halloween Parade, which attracts over 50,000 people each year. There is a new theme every year so be sure to have a look on the New York Halloween Parade’s website so you can plan your costume accordingly. The website is Halloween-NYC.com
If you’re totally gung-ho and want to be close to the action, I recommend arriving at least an hour early to secure yourself a prime location. You can camp out anywhere along Sixth avenue north of Spring street and all the way until 16th street. Streets west of 6th Avenue are often closed down by police so plan accordingly. Also useful to know is that it’s the most crowded between Bleecker and 14th. So, I recommend heading just south of Bleecker, which is a bit less densely populated.
If you want to march in the New York Halloween parade, it’s quite simple. All you need to do is show up in costume on 6th Avenue at Canal street. But note you can only enter this area from the East and South.
Oh and word to the wise, if you go to the parade you MUST dress up! It’s half the fun! And feel free to go crazy with your costume! This is New York, even if you think your costume is crazy, there will be someone in something even more outrageous!
Don’t forget to dress appropriately. Standing outside in the Fall in New York City can get darn cold! Check the weather when planning your costume. New York nights at the end of October can get pretty chilly!
Oh! And don’t forget your camera! This promises to be a night filled with photo opps!
If you want to check it out by don’t feel like braving the masses, the NYC Halloween Parade is televised live on NY1 typically from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EDT. Check your local listings for information.
And feel free to check out this video I did for About.com about where to watch the Halloween Parade in New York City!