Houses of Horror

This man will infiltrate your nightmares. Photo: Courtesy of Blackout Haunted House

Blackout Haunted House
54 W. 39th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; through 10/31; $40
For a glimpse into the twisted tension of Blackout you need look no further than the list of rules, which instruct you to walk through alone, wear a protective mask, and do exactly as the actors (who definitely get invasive at times) command. You will get grabbed and you will have to run or crawl at various points, but no worries: There’s a safety word if you think you’ll break. And many have broken. Not for those afraid of the dark or prone to mental instability.
Scare Rating: From 5 to 1, where 5 is blood-curdling and 1 is a walk in a slightly startling park
4.5. Let’s just say we still have bruises.

Blood Manor
163 Varick St., nr. Charlton St.; 212-290-2825; through 11/5; $25
A visual phantasmagoria on the second floor of an office building on Varick Street, Blood Manor goes heavy on the UV paint and the butcher-shop gore. The impressively high production value mean you’ll encounter everything from animatronics to a 3-D room, with over 40 actors—some resembling the animatronics, for added disorientation—fawning over you at every corner. Also, a gift shop, should you want a shot glass to take home and fill with blood.
Scare Rating: 3.7. But don’t worry, you can walk through with friends, and they make great shields.

Snow White is waiting for you at NIGHTMARE: Fairy Tales.Photo: Jon Wasserman

Nightmare: Fairy Tales
Clemente Soto Velez; 107 Suffolk St., nr. Rivington St.; 212-352-3101; through 11/5; $30
The most conceptual of the bunch (and a nod to the original perverse fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm), this is the one both for nostalgists and those who really hated their childhood. Prance through a spooky forest while popping in and out of scenarios with wolves, Pinocchio, Snow White, and Rumpelstiltskin (but don’t tell him your name!) The second floor is full of scientific “experiments” exploring fear, where the visitors are the subjects. If you need reminding that you are indeed an adult, you can always grab a drink at the bar.
Scare Rating: 3.0. We won’t say any more, but there is an opportunity for them to target your fears specifically.

Creep Show at the Freakshow
Coney Island USA; 1208 Surf Ave., at W. 12th St., Coney Island, Brooklyn; 718-372-5159; Through 10/31; $10
Part of Coney Island’s charm is that it’s sinister, so it’s already ahead when it comes to scares. In this haunted house—set in a landmark building for above-average creakiness—you’ll wander through the macabre nightmares of a “drug-addled” ride inspector, stumble upon zombies and decapitated bodies of tourists, and take part in the jury at the trial of the negligent inspector. For extra thrills, dare yourself to ride the Cyclone after.
Scare Rating: 2.8. This could (sort of) happen in real life!

Sweet bonus at "Sleep No More": You get to keep the mask.Photo: Alick Crossley

Sleep No More
The McKittrick Hotel, 530 W. 27th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 212-352-3101; 10/26–10/31; $75–$95
In addition to its usual immersive theater shenanigans inspired by a noir-ish Macbeth, Sleep No More is adding a week of masquerade performances.Considering the space is already equipped with a graveyard, creepy hospital room, and insane amounts of blood, the elements for a pretty eerie haunted house are already in place. Note: Regular tickets are sold out, but a limited number of premium tickets will be released for each show. E-mail premiumaccess@sleepnomorenyc.com if you’re interested.
Scare Rating: 2.6. Because nudity scares us.

Gravesend Inn
Voorhees Theater; 186 Jay St., nr. Tillery, Downtown Brooklyn; 718-260-5588; 10/20-10/22 and 10/27-10/30; $5
Built every year since 1999 by New York City College of Technology, this one will scare the crap out of those afraid of all things high-tech. First of all, it uses sensors built into the animatronics to interact with visitors. Second of all, they are machines that don’t have feelings, so you can’t hurt them with your wit.
Scare Rating: 2.4. Machines! Like the evil Terminator!

Stumble down the rabbit hole at the Steampunk Haunted House. Photo: Chad Heird

Steampunk Haunted House: Through the Looking Glass
Abrons Arts Center; 466 Grand St., at Pitt St.; 212-598-0400; 10/22 thru 10/23 and 10/26 thru 10/31; $20
In its third year, the creators behind the Steampunk Haunted House have once again eschewed the usual blood, guts, and scare tactics for a highly stylized—and seriously beautiful—neo-Victorian theatrical experience. You’ll be separated from your group at first but you’ll easily find them again as you roam through the Abrons Art Center’s three floors of mechanized dreamscape, encountering actors exploring this year’s theme: the dark side of Lewis Carroll.
Scare Rating: 2.2. Suck it up, they let kids 8 years old and over in.

After Dark: The Haunting
Madame Tussauds 234 W. 42nd St., nr. Seventh Ave., 866-841-3505; 10/20-10/23 and 10/27-10/30; $22
With their cold, uncaring eyes and uh, waxy complexions, the figures at Madame Tussauds are already super creepy. Encounter them in the dark—a situation only possible in this limited nighttime event—and they’re downright frightening. You’ll hear screams coming from the darkness, but sometimes, it might just be you.
Scare Rating: 2.0. Unless Kim Cattrall really scared you when she went lifeless in Mannequin, you can handle this.

Real Scary: Touring the City’s Haunted Spots
Looking to chill with some apparitions? The Merchant’s House Museum will once again be offering their Candlelight Ghost Tours, where you can hear spooky first-person encounters, while the Cathedral of St. John the Divine gets in on the action with their Crypt Crawls. Meanwhile Green-Wood Cemetary—known as the final resting place for famous NYers like Boss Tweed and Leonard Bernstein—is taking you on tours of the Catacombs. The NYC Adventures Haunted Manhattan Tour does all the work for you, taking you to the spookiest spots in the borough, but you’ll have to put a little effort into Watson Adventures’ Ghosts of Greenwich Village Scavenger Hunt, featuring the spirits of Mark Twain, Aaron Burr, Edgar Allen Poe, some skeletons, and more.

Houses of Horror