164 Eleventh Ave., nr. 23rd. St.; through Nov. 10; $65; blackouthh.com
By now you might have heard of, or been warned about, Blackout, the holy grail for the psychosexually curious (and Neil Patrick Harris, who called it: “Terrifying, intense [and] a little horny”). Friends won’t be there to help you as you walk through alone, get thrown around, and interact very closely with actors, some of whom are naked, many of whom are bloody. If you choose not to accept the challenge, there’s always a safe word, but what’s the fun in that?
Scare rating: 4.0 (out of 5.0). You heard what Neil said.
669 Eighth Ave., nr. 42nd St.; 212-586-7829; $27 adult, $22 child; timesscarenyc.com
This permanent three-story mansion of the macabre has authenticity on its side, not only with its past life as a crematorium, but with its clientele of goths and menu of absinthe-laced cocktails. Beyond the high-end and highly frightening haunted house you’ll find a morgue-themed restaurant called the Crypt Café, a candelabra-lit bar, and a theater hosting campy illusionists, among other spooky things. Note: There’s no fee to enter the restaurant, so if you’re not gutsy enough for the house, stop by for some of Satan’s Sliders (with fries, $12.95) or a Witches Brew (soup of the day, $4.95). For while the ghouls and goblins trolling through the halls above Times Square may terrify you, the prices for grub are decidedly not so scary.
Scare rating: 3.1. Possibly higher depending how afraid you are of goths.
163 Varick St., nr. Charlton St.; 212-290-2825; through 11/2; $30–$60; bloodmanor.com
Proving that you never know what’s happening behind closed doors in NYC, you’ll find this 5,000-square-foot visual phantasmagoria that goes heavy on butcher-shop gore, 3-D visuals, and UV paint (it’s best not to wear white) on the second floor of an unassuming office building. In addition to animatronics and actors waiting to scare you in movie-quality costumes, this year they’ve added a few new “attractions”: a cave of Jungle Terror, a Carnival of Souls (starring the Jack-o-Terror), and a Shocktorium featuring you as the patient, in case you ever wondered what it was like to star in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Scare rating: 3.0. You get to walk through with friends, and we advocate sacrificing them if necessary.
Clemente Soto Velez; 107 Suffolk St., nr. Rivington St.; 855-235-2867; through Nov. 2; $30–$60, with $20 student rush tickets available; hauntedhousenyc.com
Now that Dexter is over, where oh where will you get your serial thriller fix? Nightmare to the rescue! For the second year in a row, the house is basing its schtick on real-life offenders, this year with the added cinematic bonus of a score tracked by award-winning film composer Chris Thomas. Venture in with pals and get into the psyche of Charles Manson or Harrison Graham. Or better yet, help a haunted house out—volunteering to have an X painted on your forehead assures you’ll be asked to assist a murder along the way. Don’t volunteer for an X and, well, you might still be poked and prodded by the actors. Because, after all, nothing is definite when it comes to real life.
Scare rating: 2.7. This stuff could actually happen!
Jekyll and Hyde’s Chamber of Horrors
216 West 44th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-869-4933; through Nov. 2; $18–$23; jekyllandhydeclub.com
The award for most elaborate backstory goes to this spot, attached to the campy Times Square restaurant and said to be Jekyll’s quarters turned Hyde’s lair after the split, where visitors go but never come out. You’ll tour through with a guide and encounter actors who will help you solve the mystery of the disappeared. It all happens in two shifts: noon to seven is the less scary time slot for ages 8 and up (and adults that we are not going to judge); after 7 p.m. is recommended for ages 10 and up.
Scare Rating: 2.5 Did you notice the two shifts? Also Times Square?
Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel
Voorhees Theater, 186 Jay St., nr. Tillery St., Downtown Brooklyn; 718-260-5588; 10/24–10/26 and 10/31–11/2; $5; gravesendinn.org
Yes, yes, we get it: One day the machines will rise up. We’ve seen Terminator! But for now, we’re still the dominant, uh, species, so we might as well enjoy the animatronics while they’re still held captive. Like at this super-high-tech house (built every year since 1999 by New York City College of Technology), where sensor-operated pirate skeletons pop out to interact with visitors. If you get scared, don’t hesitate to pummel them with one-line zingers. They might not be able to appreciate your wit, but your companions will.
Scare rating: 2.0. Unless one of the skeletons decides to poke you in the eye, you’ll be fine.
For a more high-brow bent to your spooky situation, hit up Sleep No More: the tried and true Jazz Age haunted house for grown-ups (loosely based on MacBeth). This October 30 and 31, they’re throwing a Halloween “Curse of the Mummy” bash, that, if you let it, will probably cause you to unravel.
Or tumble through the immersive experience of Then She Fell, inspired by Lewis Carroll and his rumored obsession with Alice Liddell (his muse for Alice in Wonderland), which immediately ups the chill factor with its location: an abandoned hospital in Greenpoint.
But if the most you can take is having a spaghetti strand thrown at you while you’re sitting in the front row, head to Coney Island for Creep Show at the Freakshow, which digs up criminals like Clara Bow and Al Capone in an original play. If the thrills of the show don’t do it for you, you can always take a ride on the Cyclone.