How to Spend a Spooktacular Halloween-Themed Day in NYC

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Want to get into the spooky season spirit, but you don’t know where to start? Then follow this guide on how to have a Halloween-themed day in NYC! The NYC Halloween activities I’ll talk about don’t get too scary, so this will be the perfect Halloween itinerary if you’re an easily spooked scaredy-cat like me.

Start the day off with a chilling walk through one of NYC’s spookiest parks.

Washington Square Park, Van Cortlandt Park, and even Central Park all have a history of supernatural occurrences. The area that is today Washington Square Park was at one point a potter’s field, and it’s estimated that over 20,000 bodies are still buried there. Do you think their spirits enjoy the antics of the NYU students? As for Van Cortlandt Park, it is said to be haunted by the ghost of Native Americans who are protecting the park’s forests. Central Park’s ghosts are more interested in recreation. It said that a pair of sisters have been haunting Woolman’s Rink since the late 1800s.

Dare to take a tour of one of the city’s most haunted historic homes.

If you ever wanted a ghost as your tour guide, there’s a possibility of that happening if you visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion or the Merchant’s House Museum in Manhattan, the Van Cortlandt House Museum in the Bronx, or the Conference House in Staten Island. All of these historic homes have reports of paranormal activity, with the Merchant’s House Museum even embracing its rumors of undead residents by holding candlelit ghost tours and selling a book called “Some Say They Never Left: Spirited Tales and Ghostly Legends of the Merchant’s House Museum.”

Split your lunch with a spirit.

As if there weren’t enough opportunities to meet a ghost so far during this Halloween-themed day in NYC, you can also seek out the supernatural while you have lunch at Fraunces Tavern or the Ear Inn. Mickey, the ghost haunting the Ear Inn, is said to be particularly friendly. If you’d rather not have a side of spirits with your salad but you still want an undead ambiance, have lunch at Lillie’s Victorian Establishment near Times Square instead.

Judge which houses have the best Halloween displays.

The residents of these neighborhoods don’t just put a pumpkin on their stoop and call it a day. When you walk through the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, Dyker Heights, and Astoria, you can count on seeing spooktacularly creative Halloween displays, from giant spiders scaling up the front of townhouses to skeletons peaking out from the bushes, waiting to startle the next passerby.

Take shots with spirits at a Halloween-themed bar.

Happy hour at Beetle House, the Cauldron, Flying Fox Tavern, or Madame X will certainly get you into the spooky season spirit. From their decor to their drink menus, these bars would make a vampire feel right at home.

Stay up all the night watching horror movies set in NYC or swapping spooky local stories.

If you don’t know where to begin, check out my article on vampire movies set in New York, or my article on NYC books perfect for spooky season. I also highly recommend listening to one of the Bowery Boys many podcast episodes where they retell NYC ghost stories. Extra points if you do this while waiting for the ghost train to cross over the Hell Gate Bridge.

I hope this spooktacular Halloween-themed day in NYC gets you into the spooky season spirit. What else do you do to celebrate Halloween in NYC?

But before you go, if you liked this article on how to spend a Halloween-themed day in NYC and want weekly articles on NYC history, culture, and things to do, sign up for the Shiloh in the City email list and follow me on social media. Thanks for reading!

One response to “How to Spend a Spooktacular Halloween-Themed Day in NYC”

  1. olive La Mothe Avatar
    olive La Mothe

    Spooky, but entertaining and interesting.

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