It's a scientific fact that a person either really enjoys haunted houses, or they really don't—like emotional cilantro. Even if you fall into the latter category, chances are you know someone who adores them. You might even be sitting next to them right now. Or they might be creeping quietly...up...BEHIND YOU. Sorry, but there's nothing more fun than scaring people who hate being scared. Just ask this Trader Joe's employee.
Blackout: You've probably heard a thing or two about Blackout: There's nudity, there's used tampons, there's some Abu Ghraib business with a sack and dribbling of water. Some or all of these things are true, but that's why you signed that lengthy, lengthy waiver. The precise mechanics of Blackout alter from year to year, but the premise remains the same: You'll be alone, you'll be groped, and unless you're the sort of freak who enjoys these things (or slightly drunk, as I was when I tried it several years back) you'll be, at best, terrified, and at worst, litigious and possibly soiled. In any case, Neil Patrick Harris described the experience as "terrifying, intense, a little horny." If NPH can do this, by God, you can, too.
Blackout is located at 164 11th Avenue, and runs until Sunday, November 10th. Tickets start at $65.
Nightmare Killers 2: Nightmare Killers (2!) is designed to guide you through the worlds of some of history's most ignoble murderers, one gruesome scene at a time. If you're a man, you might be dragged away from your group to spend some quality time in John Wayne Gacy's basement. If you're a woman, you might be gently kissed by the rusty implements of Jack the Ripper. Everyone, regardless of gender, will avert their eyes from the crazed ecstasy of Harrison Graham pleasuring himself with a Cookie Monster doll. The house isn't so much scary as it is amusing, and excellent for the attention deficit: Super bored by Patrick Bateman and his lackluster business cards? You'll be grooving with Squeaky Fromme before you know it. When done, head to Pok Pok around the corner and analyze the methods of your favorite serial killer over some hoi thawt.
Killers 2 is located at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center at 107 Suffolk Street, and runs until November 2. Regular tickets are $30 online or $35 at the door.
Blood Manor: Blood Manor is regarded in the city as the Haunted Housiest of Haunted Houses—the "grains" portion of a healthy Haunted Food Pyramid. Here you'll find all the conventional scares: A butcher covered in (human) blood, a bride covered in (human) blood, deranged clowns covered in (clown) blood. Critics complain of monstrous lines for nominal scares, but for $30, this may be just the thing to finally get your fear-loving significant other/child/parent to shut up about the [expletive] haunted houses already. Until next year.
Blood Manor is located at 163 Varick Street, and runs until November 2. Tickets are $35.
Coney Island Criminals: This year's Coney Island Creepshow is dedicated to Native New Yorker Al Capone, documenting his stint as a bouncer and bartender at the Coney Island saloon, Harvard Inn. Though Capone would make his name as a Chicago gangster, it was during his time in Brooklyn that he acquired the distinctive scars on his face, apparently after he insulted a woman while working the door—a misstep for which he received three permanent slashes to his left side courtesy of her brother, Frank Gallucio. This particular spectacle was written and directed by self-appointed Coney Island mayor Dick Zigun, and promises the following: "cigar smoking, blank gun fire, profanity, anachronism, ethnic stereotypes, sexual situations, dramatic license and ballistic pasta."
Coney Island Criminals is located at 1208 Surf Avenue in Brooklyn, and runs until October 31. Tickets are $15.
Haunted High Line: Kid-safe amusements at the Haunted High Line will include a hay-bale maze, pumpkin decorating, and, as an homage to the High Line history, constructing an (environmentally-friendly) train car from recycled materials, because nothing is scarier than industrial waste. If it's not Halloween without a few blood-curdling screams, creep through the haunted train tunnel.
Enter the High Line at any location between West 14th Street to West 17th Street. This event takes place only on Saturday, October 26th from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.