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Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses
Photograph: Courtesy Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses

The scariest haunted houses NYC has to offer

Scream your way through these terrifying haunted houses—NYC is full of things that go bump in the night

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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The scariest haunted houses NYC has to offer are waiting for you to visit. It’s the freakiest time of year and we couldn’t be more excited to scream our guts out at these frightening haunts. If you’re like us and looking to get shaken to your core this season, check out these immersive experiences that will bring out your darkest, deepest fears from killer clowns to claustrophobia. To get you in that creepy mood, or if immersing yourself in the world of goblins and ghouls is too much for you, try prepping with one of the best horror movies on Netflix beforehand.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween in NYC

Spookiest haunted houses in NYC

  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Tribeca

Garish zombies, monsters and other ghoulish creatures await in this 5,000-square-foot labyrinth of horrors, deemed too scary for children under 14 to enter without supervision. Pass through themed rooms such as The Crypt (where no one rested in peace) and Hannibal’s Hell (with 1,000 ways to die). It’s popular, so lines are likely to be long—consider shelling out for an “R.I.P.” express-access ticket.

Ulster Park's Headless Horseman Haunted Hayrides and Haunted Houses is replacing its hayrides with a haunted walk called "The Haunting of Pumpkin Jack" that'll give New Yorkers an opportunity to slowly pass the creepy crawly things in the darkness and see the headless horseman himself.

"Are you brave enough to walk into the darkness of the Horseman's trail to find Pumpkin Jack and come face to face with the Headless Horseman? It can be done, but can you do it? How fast can you walk? Will the Horseman catch you? Some questions can't be answered until you Walk the dark trail!"

The experience is not kid-friendly, so no one's surprised. There's no doubt that new rules about social distancing are behind the new experience—the park says all guests and staff will be wearing face masks and distancing throughout the event.

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  • Things to do
  • West Village

The now-abandoned Jekyll & Hyde Asylum is haunted. No one has entered in decades, but nearby residents have complained to authorities of unexplained sounds and moving shadows coming from within the asylum. Back in 1961, Dr E. Revel, the dean of the asylum, was taken into custody and charged for morbidly experimenting on his patients. The aftermath was gruesome, when the authorities discovered that most of the patients had been lobotomized. You decide to break into the old asylum to see if the rumors are true; but you arrive, you immediately get more than you bargained for. The first thing you see is a woman with long black hair in front of her face and her mouth opening ajar to reveal hundreds of sharp incisors. 

If you want to stay around after that, there's live entertainment at the Jekyll & Hyde Club, where creatures and memorabilia come to life and interact with you while you enjoy your meal and drinks.

  • Things to do

The historic oceanside Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park, NJ is transforming 13 of its rooms into immersive haunted scenes later this month. Guests who check into The Haunting experience will be guided through the rooms on the "haunted" floors of the hotel with their cameras to capture "unexpected frights, spine-tingling thrills, and surprises around every corner."According to organizers, the hotel has been the center of Asbury's paranormal activity for over 100 years and in 1934, the S.S. Morro cruise ship exploded and washed ashore "in a fiery blaze" yards from the hotel entrance. Safety precautions include temperature checks, regular cleanings, mask requirements, sanitizer stations and no physical contact from performers. There's also a 21+ VIP experience with seating at an exclusive Halloween speakeasy that comes with a welcome cocktail, passed appetizers, and spooky drink specials.

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Walk three floors of a real house (including a basement) that's been transformed into a haunted nightmare, plus two pitch-black outdoor mazes with more than 20 live actors at A Haunted in Hollis. 

"We dare you to enter the REAL Haunted House in Hollis where you're sure to have an eerie fright you won't forget. As goblins & ghouls and hungry zombies try to get a piece of you, make your way through the horrific mazes and into the experimental labs where zombies chase you and all things go wrong. Or.... opt to say the safe word (peanut butter) if you're too scared. We also have zombie laser guns, where you can "kill" the ghoul that's chasing you. Having been set up by the most imaginative people on the planet, you definitely won't be disappointed and you'll want to come back every year!"

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