2011 Haunted House Reviews


Nightmare (Before Christmas): The Experiment
Los Kabayitos Laboratorio
107 Suffolk Street
New York, NY

To celebrate the holidays, Nightmare creator Tim Haskell is presenting Nightmare (Before Christmas): The Experiment, an extended and revamped version of the second part of October’s Nightmare Fairy Tales. What was a 15-minute assault on the senses is now a 50-minute interactive theatre performance that manages to involve nearly the entire audience in a series of 10 fear-based experiments. As the performance progresses, a strange sense of community develops in the room full of strangers as each audience member becomes a lab rat.

Is it Scary?

According to their website: ” It will be like being in one room in a very scary haunted house that you get tormented in for 50 minutes.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Fear is subjective, but you are pretty much guaranteed to cringe, gag, shudder, and/or squirm uncomfortably in your seat.

What I Loved

There is a lot to love. Not only are the experiments delightfully creepy, but the performance is infused with humor. Many of the funniest moments are courtesy of the research team’s “corporate sponsors.” Other highlights include: a brief (but amazing!) video, a unique take on Santa Claus, and watching the reactions of fellow audience members.

What Could Be Better

We noticed some small opening weekend hiccups, but overall this unique interactive theatre piece is holiday horror perfection. We hope that Nightmare (before Christmas) becomes an annual event. We’d love to see a walk-through style haunted house with a Christmas theme.  

Final Thoughts

The Experiment combines humor and fear to create repulsive holiday fun. Don’t miss this special holiday gift.

The Experiment Runs

December 9 – 23rd

Discount Tickets

Full Price Ticket Prices
Admission: $20.00

  • $10 Tickets – Click Here!
  • $12 Admission with Promo Code: FB1 
  • $12 Admission with Promo Code: LABRAT

Additional Info


Times Scare Haunted House
669 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY

 ‘The Halloween Experience’ at Times Scare is New York City’s only year-round Haunted House. It is also the only haunt in the country that takes you into the psychotic world of Michael Myers. “S” and I have had the privilege to survive the experience twice and it gets better every time.

Is it Scary?

According to their website: “Now, if you dare, groups of 6 to 8 are taken on a one-of-a-kind tour through this cutting-edge haunted experience that is guaranteed to scare even the bravest of visitors… possibly to death!”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Yes. Fear is subjective, but there is something here for everyone. Startle scares, gore, mental patients, and psychotic clowns are just a few of the things waiting for you inside with Michael Myers.

Here’s A Tip

Go early and grab a drink at one of their two deliciously creepy bars. The cocktails are to die for and the liquid courage will help you make it through the haunt. Don’t miss Dan Sperry’s sick and twisted Magic Show every night at 8pm! (For discount tickets use Promo Code: magicshowbb)

What I Loved

There is so much here to love. This is not a one person per room kind of haunt. There are crazies coming at you from every direction. The large cast of actors is supplemented by top-notch special effects that create an atmosphere that is extremely disorienting. The spectacularly committed actors run amok through a detailed set that creates several beautiful moments of cinematic horror. Highlights include the bearded straight jacket psycho, a super scary baby carriage, decapitated clown heads, and the curtain of syringes.

What Could Be Better

This bombardment of horror continues to change and grow so no two visits to Times Scare Haunted House will be exactly alike. Every moment is detailed and incredibly thoughtful until you reach the very end. It was unclear that it was over. I would encourage the addition of something that indicates that you have reached the end. Perhaps asylum exit doors? Our only other complaint is that with so many actors giving committed high-energy performances, it made the two that were unsure or self-conscious (or new?) really stick out.

Final Thoughts

Times Scare: The Halloween Experience is a practically perfect haunt.  Jason Egan’s unique brand of imaginatively detailed horror is a must see!

Times Scare Haunted House Runs

Year-Round! Times Scare is Open Every Day 

Discount Tickets

Full Price Ticket Prices
General Admission: $24.95
VIP Fast Pass Tickets: $39.95

  • Join the Times Scare Mailing List and save up to $15 – Click Here 

Age requirements

No age requirements are specified.

Additional Info


  Blackout Haunted House
54 West 39th Street
New York, NY

No two experiences are alike at Blackout Haunted House (formerly NYC Halloween Haunted House), so we have two walk-through accounts for you. The first walk-through is my experience and the second is written by “S.”

 The Rules

  2. You must be over 18.
  3. Stay on the marked path at all times.
  4. You will be prompted to do certain actions. Please do exactly as you’re told. This is for your safety.
  5. There is absolutely no speaking allowed inside. You can, however, scream as loud as you’d like.
  6. Do not ever touch the actors.
  7. Do not ever touch the walls.
  8. You must wear a protective mask and carry a flashlight at all times.



***My experience of Blackout Haunted House as best as I can remember, due to the terror and disorientation that was experienced.***


I was one of the very first people to experience Blackout Haunted House in September. They were still working things out and making changes and I left with mixed feelings. It wasn’t as scary as it has been in the past and unlike past experiences it failed to create a moment terrifying enough to make me contemplate using the safe word. The following day co-creator Josh Randall e-mailed me and asked about my experience. I responded with a detailed e-mail and described what I loved and what could have been a lot scarier.

On my return visit in October I told them to “bring it.” I challenged them to scare me. I assume that what happened to me was a complete accident and that they have made sure it will never happen again, but I can’t help but feel like I kind of asked for it… and it was unlike any Haunted House experience I’ve ever had.

October 27, 2011 : “C” Returns to Blackout Haunted  House

It’s cold, rainy, and miserable. One of those nights when you really don’t want to leave your apartment.

 …but I have to. I have a second date with Blackout Haunted House. I am grumbling about the rain when I have to stop and laugh. You know there’s something wrong with you when you’re on your way to the scariest haunted house in New York and you’re stressed about the weather.

I arrive at the 39th Street location, check-in, and take my place in line. I have 3 black dots marked on my hand to ensure the most traumatic experience possible, but the anxiety hasn’t hit me yet. I just feel excited.

I update my facebook page one last time. In hindsight, it was probably a bad idea to tell Blackout Haunted House to “bring it.” Before I know it the guy ahead of me disappears behind the black plastic covering the entrance.

I’m next.
The anxiety begins.

I push past the black plastic to reveal a dark hall-way. The walls are covered in more black plastic. I walk to the end of the hallway, turn left, and then walk to the end of another hallway. I stop on the ‘X’ marked at the end of the hall. I am standing in front of a doorway draped in clear plastic. Beyond the door flashes a strobe light. A loud noise makes me jump and the fear sets in.

I am ordered into the room. A flashlight is shined in my face. I put on the face mask that is handed to me. A series of health and safety related questions are shouted at me. I respond appropriately and then I am shoved through a dark passage.

I take two steps and a large piece of plastic is pulled tightly over the front of my face. Disoriented and gasping for air I stumble into a dimly lit room. Several folding chairs sit before 2 stacked television sets. The first showing the graphic birthing of a calf and the second, a surveillance video camera displaying footage of me walking into the room. A woman in a hospital gown sits next to the TVs eating. She approaches me and motions to sit. I sit in a chair and the woman sits next to me. She begins to touch my face and my hair. On the surveillance video I see another woman slowly enter the room behind me. She sits and the two women touch my hair and face. The first woman takes my hand. After a few minutes the second woman snaps handcuffs around both my wrists and I am directed to the door.

As I walk through the doorway large arms wrap around me in the darkness and I am instructed to stay still. Hands move around my neck and then a hard metal object draws a line all the way around my neck. A chill runs down my spine. I am ordered to lift my arms. “Higher!” shouts an angry male voice.

I am roughly led to the next room where a wet bag is forcefully shoved over my head. I am ordered to kneel. Something firm pats my face and I am ordered to tilt my head back. Water pours over the bag forcing the bag to cling to my face. Unable to breath, I desperately force air out of my mouth. The bag raises and then comes crashing down over my face again and again. Next hands rub over my face and neck and then there is more water. Angry voices shout at me. One calls me a c*nt. I am ordered to scream several times and then told to bark like a dog. Struggling for air I am pulled to my feet. A voice orders me by name to turn to the left. I turn left and then a voice instructs me to walk straight ahead. I take a step and then arms grab me and a voice says “Not yet.” I stand completely still. My upper body is soaked with water. Before I know it the bag is lifting off of my head and I am shoved forward. The bag is no longer over my head, but I am still trapped in darkness and I realize that I’m falling.

There is sharp pain as my knees and hands connect hard with a stone staircase. Arms quickly pull me to my feet. A frantic voice whispers “Are you OK?”  I say “yes.” I realize that when the wet bag was lifted from my head, it caused my face mask to pull up over my eyes like a blindfold. I grab the face mask and shove it into my pocket. Then I begin to climb the stairs.

There is a woman at the top. She shouts at me to climb a second flight of stairs. When I reach the next floor a different woman orders me to lie down on my back. She hands me a small glow stick and points to a tunnel and orders me to crawl through. As I begin to crawl, my aching knees scream for me to stop. Pieces of plastic are draped inside the tunnel to make the space even smaller, but any fear of small spaces is currently overshadowed by how much my knees hurt. When I finally reach the end of the tunnel a strange disturbed woman is waiting for me. She leads me into a dimly lit room with a chair. She tells me to sit and then walks over to stand on my left. She groans and takes my hand. She guides my hand between her legs and tells me to pull the string. I pull and she moans and out pops a bloody tampon. She grabs the hand holding the tampon and tells me to open my mouth. I follow her instruction and she squeezes liquid from the tampon into my open mouth. Then she orders me out of the room.

I find myself standing in the dark. As my eyes adjust I see a short completely naked bearded man approach me. He is grinning, so I smile back at him. He greets me by name which is super creepy. He doesn’t appear to be feeling well and this is confirmed when he grabs my hand and makes a run for the nearby bathroom. He leads me inside and then shuts himself into the stall and vomits profusely. When the stall door opens he is smiling again and asks me to come inside. He explains that he needs me to get a key from inside the toilet. Wasting no time I start to reach in when he grabs my hand and coos “Oh … you’re not scared at all now, are you? Well you know some people get the key with their mouth like bobbing for apples. You wanna try that?” I politely decline the suggestion and he slowly guides my hand into the filthy toilet. “You have to savor it.” he says creepily as he moves my hand back and forth through the water.

Then the epic creeper asks “Isn’t this the best sex you’ve ever had?”

“Yeah, sure,” I reply sarcastically as I grab the key from the chunk-filled water.

The bearded man explodes. “That wasn’t sex!” he shouts over and over before telling me to “leave and never come back!”

I make a quick escape down the stairs where a woman barks, “which hand did you use? and then grabs my arm by the elbow and pushes it into a bucket of water.

I make my way into the final room. A small light illuminates a naked woman chained to the floor. She begs for help. “He will be back soon,” she warns. I rush over and try the toilet key in the lock. It doesn’t fit. She points to a sink. The faucet is running into a bucket. I reach my hand into the bucket and find another key. This key fits the lock and the naked woman and I try to make a break for it. We rush down a hallway and then suddenly she’s gone. A voice shouts “Get Out” as I am thrown from the house.

I shake my head and look myself over. My hair and my sweatshirt are soaked. I have a small cut on my hand and my knees are throbbing. I am anxious to get home for a warm blanket and an Advil. I have a sudden need to curl up in the fetal position.



There is nothing like Blackout Haunted House. Each time I entrust them with my safety, I have no idea what to expect. I attended both their 2010 Haunted House & May Off-Season Event, yet never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be water boarded. There are strict rules for those who enter, but when it comes to the content inside the house, Blackout obliterates all the rules of the traditional haunted house.

I was involved in an accident while inside Blackout Haunted House. I admit that I wasn’t thrilled to have black and blue knees, but that split second when I realized that something had gone wrong was terrifying. If a moment like that could be safely simulated, it would be an incredible addition to what is already a sick, twisted abduction experiment. I look forward to what they have in store for us in the future.



Walk-Through by “S”

Blackout NYC is an extreme haunted experience. I’d read all the reviews, watched the teaser videos and was super psyched to live through the terror first-hand.

The wave of a flashlight told me to enter the plastic-covered doorway. As I walk through the tight hallway, feeling my way through the darkness, I seriously wonder what I am doing there. I’d never gone to a haunted attraction on my own and I certainly wouldn’t be able to live it down if I needed to use the safe word.

I’m instructed to wait at the entrance to a dimly-lit room. As I wait in the dark for what seems like forever, I take in my surroundings. The doorway is made of clear butcher-type plastic. I can’t see through it, but occasionally I can see flashes of a hand-held light and hear the piercing sound of a whistle. Surrounded by plastic, I can’t help but draw upon images of a Dexter-style kill room. Suddenly, a bright light blinds me and I’m instructed to enter the dark room, where we go over the rules. No touching the actors, no speaking once inside. I’m asked if I know the safe word, I nod, fearful that if I answer I’ll be sent to the back of the line. I’m asked to say the safe word


He hands me a surgical mask. I put it on and immediately feel the warmth of my own breath.

Am I really breathing this fast already?

I’m told to stand on an X facing a black plastic curtain and countdown from three when I’m ready

Three.. Two…

I’m grabbed by the shoulders and pulled into a dimly lit room. As I try to adjust to my surroundings, a plastic sheet is pulled taught over my face. I can’t breathe. I’m being pushed along the floor to the opposite corner of the room. My abductor releases the plastic enough for me to take a gulp of air through the sterile mask. “when I say, run down the stairs and take a left….”


And I’m off…down the stairs, through a hallway and into a makeshift viewing room.

There’s a row of chairs in front of television projecting gruesome images of some kind of animal surgery. The man that was in line ahead of me is sitting, watching the television with an unkempt-looking girl wearing a hospital johnny. A different crazy-looking girl approaches me and leads me to a chair to view the bloody massacre playing on the television screen. She’s singing, quite eerily, a faint melody to me as she presses my head to her breasts and begins to rock me, stroking my hair. It’s terrifyingly reminiscent of the closet scene in Carrie. Awesome. She removes my hair elastic and runs her fingers through my hair. I open my eyes to see the other crazy girl rubbing my arms with a plastic spoon. At some—I’m guessing—the other guy in the room had been led out. My crazy muse goes behind the television to grab a black strap. She slowly, methodically approaches me and binds my hands. I am pulled off my chair and led to a dark hallway. I’m nudged into the darkness.

I feel my way through the hallway and enter into a pitch black room. Waving my bound hands in front of me, fearful I’ll walk into something—or someone.

Too late.

I’m grabbed by the neck. A forceful man whispers into my ear, “Don’t fucking move!”

So I don’t.

I even hold my breath as he burrows his sweaty face in my neck and proceeds to smell me. I can finally breathe again when he walks away.

And I wait…

In the dark…

…and, of course, my mind is playing tricks on me. I keep thinking I see someone creeping out of the darkness, but if they’re there they never show themselves.

Just as I’m starting to get annoyed, I feel a soft touch on my inner calf. The delicate touch causes me to shudder as the hand makes its way up to my inner thigh. Whoever it was, appears to be gone, but I can’t help but hold my breath and wait for the next assault.

I hear a strange metallic sound, similar to the sound of someone sharpening a knife. Something slides across my throat, raising goose-bumps and forcing me to press my bound arms into my chest.

A man grabs me from behind and begins to push me through the room. “You’re gonna love this…

I’m pushed into a different room.

My assailant forces me into a chair and places goggles over my eyes. A flashlight is placed into my hands, pointing straight ahead of me. The goggles are foggy and I can’t really see anything but the emptiness in the cylindrical glow created by the light. I think it’s my imagination but, no… there’s someone there. I can feel him. I finally see someone appearing in the corner of the room. He moves so slowly It’s hard to notice at first. As he approaches, I can see that he’s wearing a woman’s camisole. He’s so tall and it’s certainly not long enough to hide the fact that he’s naked underneath. He walks up to me, and gently cups my cheek. The softness in his touch and the familiarity with which he gazes at me is unsettling. His hand moves from my face and reaches to the flashlight. He removes it from my hands and slowly forces my legs apart to place the flashlight on the ground between my feet. He lingers far too long for comfort, never moving his gaze from mine. I’m pulled onto my feet to stand. He whispers, “so pretty….so sweet” spins me around and embraces me from behind. Still holding me, he leads me forward.

Suddenly , I’m grabbed by a forceful man, pushed up against a wall and told to stare at the bricks in front of me. The room is filled with the sound of blood-curdling screams. The man grabs my head, cocking my head to the side so he can whisper directly into my ear.

“Do you hear that?”

The screaming has turned into begging. HELP!! PLEASE, HELP!!!

“You’re next.”

I thought the slight yelp that escaped from my mouth wouldn’t be heard over the victim’s screaming but my assailant didn’t miss a beat.


I shook my head NO!!


“Now, what you’re gonna do is back up from the wall real slow…”

I start to move away from the wall.

“I SAID, SLOW!!” He screams.

I’m turned around and told to get on the ground. My captor pulls me to stand on my knees and a wet bag is placed on my head. Before I know it, I’m hit in the face with a wall of water. It drips down my face and chest all the way down into my pants.

I’m drowning.

The fabric from the bag has made its way into my mouth and nostrils. Every breath I take is labored and filled with water. My assailant shoves his fingers into my nostrils, pushing the fabric deeper into my nose, forcing me to breathe through my mouth.

I can’t breathe.

“I wanna hear you scream”

I scream so loud I can’t even believe the scream could be coming from my mouth. They tell me to cry for help.


I am one second away from calling the safe word when he shoves his hand in my mouth, grabbing onto my upper teeth, tilting my head backward. His hands are covered in some kind of chemical. They reek of rubbing alcohol and the smell makes me feel dizzy and disoriented. I’m pulled onto my feet and pushed forward. The bag is lifted off my head to reveal a staircase. I’m told to run up both flights of stairs.

I run as fast as I can, still feeling the effects of the torture.

Somewhere along the way I’ve lost my hair elastic and my hair is soaking wet and sticking to my neck. My surgical mask is damp, but I don’t dare remove it. When I reach the top of the stairs, I’m handed a glow stick and told to get on my knees.


I’m pointed towards a dark tunnel. As I crawl through the misty tunnel a man grabs my foot. I shrug him off and crawl faster, hoping to out-run any other assailants. The plastic above my head begins to shake—someone is trying to get me, but I’m fast and I make it out of the tunnel unscathed.

When I emerge, there’s a crazy-looking girl, wearing child-like pajamas. She takes my light and throws it into a dark hallway, pulling me into a room lit by a single floor lamp. I’m led to a chair. She keeps saying “Don’t look” and pushes my face away from her.

I feel something in my hand—it’s a string. When she tells me to pull, I’m left with a tampon in my hand. She pushes it into my mouth and tells me to suck it. I’m immediately taken out of the scare, the scenario is dumb and the acting is terrible. I’ll say it once, I’ll say it again: menstrual blood is not scary.

She yells at me to get out.

I’m glad to escape.

As I enter the hallway, I encounter a short, naked man. He corners me and begins to heave. He grabs me by the hand and pulls me into a bathroom. He locks himself in the stall as he retches into the toilet. He opens the door and pulls me into the stall…. “the key,” he motions to the toilet.

I hesitate. I know what I need to do, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I shove my hand into the toilet—to my surprisingly sick enjoyment, it’s filled with a chunky vomit-like substance. Gross.

“it’s just a little vomit,” my naked friend encourages me. He then proceeds to grab my arm and shove my hand all the way into the pipe of the toilet bowl!! (I’m glad I chose my right hand and not the hand with my engagement ring!)

I grab the key and pull my arm out of the filthy water.

He tells me to go—and I’m running again.

A stage manager makes me wash the arm I’ve used—which is kind of weird.

I enter a room where a naked woman lies in shackles on a mattress. She instructs me to use the key for the lock on her ankle. It doesn’t work and I’m told to check a bucket in the sink. As I go to reach into the water, she screams—and I’m genuinely startled, thinking I might be electrocuted or something of the like.

I grab the key and this time it works. I set her free and she tells me we have to get out. As we enter a dark hallway, we’re spotted by a man who yells,

“what the fuck are you doing with her?!? GET THE FUCK OUT!!!”

I run down a dark hallway and emerge through a plastic curtain into the safety of the waiting area.

Now, I feel like a survivor.



“C” and I always feel that anticipation is key to an effective scare and Blackout certainly got it right this time. There’s something terribly unsettling about the subtle white noise in the expansive warehouse setting of the haunt. Being left alone in the dark allows your mind to play tricks on you—you have the time to let yourself be scared.

The surgical masks really draw attention to the warmth and speed of your breathing. They’re totally effective and creepy—until they’re soaked with water and you have a wet mask on your face , which is gross and effective in a completely different way.

The roughness with which the actors treat you is exhilarating and frightening. As a small girl (under 5’2”), no one usually dares to push me around. It was scary when the actors grabbed me, but I never felt like they were out of control.

Sliding your hand (or whatever it was) across my throat was terrifying. I hate it when people touch my neck or throat and it was extremely effective.  I had chills immediately.

The creepy, gentle demeanor of the man in the camisole was such a great contrast to all the roughness at the beginning of the haunt. I like that the actor really took his time. His slow and methodical movements made my heart race.

Umm, you water boarded me? Really?!?  That was awesome and terrible. Nice work.

The stairs were annoying.

Menstrual blood isn’t scary.

I don’t understand why that man swallowed a key and why I had to get it—and I definitely don’t understand the connection between the naked man and woman and why he didn’t just save her himself, not that she really seemed to be in any trouble – there were no signs of struggle, abuse or  blood. She looked well fed. I guess I just didn’t understand the second half of the house.

Blackout is not a haunted house for the faint of heart (or stomach, or knees, for that matter!) Its audience is a brave bunch—there are many who are terrified at the idea of entering alone –and trusting the actors to touch you! There is a genuine need for a safety word here; it’s not just a gimmick to sell more tickets. The fact that you enter alone should tell you that ticket sales aren’t Vortex Theater’s main concern. The character development and story line within each room is top notch in comparison with the other haunts out there, but I would love to see the connection between each room next time.


Additional Info

Read My Reviews of Other Blackout Haunted House Events:



Steampunk Haunted House: Through the Looking Glass
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street)
New York, NY

I love Alice in Wonderland about as much as I love Halloween, so I was ecstatic to take in this year’s Wonderland-inspired Steampunk Haunted House. The journey begins in groups of six, which are then reduced to groups of two as you wander through halls and corridors containing different pieces of the Wonderland puzzle. The familiar characters are there, dressed in Karen Young’s beautifully detailed costumes. The environmental design by Christopher Cummings, with Zach Morris, is inventive and does well to set the scene of what lurks beyond the looking glass. If you are an Alice in Wonderland fan or looking to celebrate Halloween without the traditional witches, ghosts, and gore, you cannot miss this.  

Is it Scary?

According to their website: “Back by popular demand for a third season, the visually stunning, lushly designed Steampunk Haunted House returns in October 2011 and takes audiences into the darker, more terrifying aspects of Lewis Carroll’s classic stories. In this immersive experience, audience members are admitted in small groups, suddenly separated, and thrust into a beautiful and terrifying dreamscape of neo-Victorian elegance and phantasmagoric clockwork horrors. The experience sprawls throughout the three floors of Abrons’ majestic century-old playhouse, its innumerable twisting hallways, looming balconies, and labyrinthine cellars.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Steampunk Haunted House: Through the Looking Glass is a beautiful and mysterious maze through Wonderland. While you may be startled or confused at times, this creepy performance art piece does not contain traditional haunted house scares.

What I Loved

Elizabeth Carena steals the show with her electrifying portrayal of the Mad Hatter. She was compelling to watch and very effectively delivered a dose of that well known Wonderland madness. Other highlights are a choreographed mirroring sequence by two of the young Alices and a hallway with a delightful looking glass trick.    

What Could Be Better

There are several young Alice’s in the beginning that read portions of the story and set the scene for the journey you are about to take. Unfortunately, their diction and enunciation is very poor and makes it impossible to understand what they’re saying. Also, given the name of the haunted house, it seemed like a missed opportunity not to come up with a creepy Steampunk take on the large black headsets worn by many inside the house.

Final Thoughts

Steampunk Haunted House once again provides the Halloween season with beautifully creepy performance art for those looking for an alternative to traditional Haunted house fare.

Streampunk Haunted House Runs

October 22-31st

Discount Tickets

Full Price Ticket Prices
Oct 23,26,27 : $20
Oct 22,28,29,30,31: $25
Oct 26 Halloween Party: $50

  • $10 Student Tickets Available – Student tickets will only be sold at the door as walk-up sales. 

Age requirements

No children under 8 admitted.

Additional Info

Production Photographs by Adam Jason Photography


Merchant’s House Candlelight Ghost Tour
29 East Fourth Street
New York, NY

The Merchant’s House Museum is the only 19th century family home in New York City that has been preserved completely intact. Frozen in time on West 4th Street, it is a truly incredible place to visit and catch a glimpse into the past, but the Museum walls contain more than history. This massive time capsule is also the location of what has been called “Manhattan’s most haunted house.”

Each Halloween, a series of candlelight tours are given in which guests are guided through the antique home at night with just a path of tea light candles to light their way. A brief description of each room is given followed by a recording that features detailed accounts of the strange goings on that have occurred in that room and suggest that its original tenants never left. 

Is it Scary?

The official answer on their website: “Come see the house The New York Times called “Manhattan’s Most Haunted” by flickering candlelight and hear about strange and inexplicable occurrences from the people who actually experienced them.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Yes. From the moment you enter the home you can’t help but feel that there is something unsettling happening there. 

Here’s A Tip

The Merchant’s house is currently undergoing a renovation. Since the renovation began last year there has been an increase in strange activity that has been documented by 12 different investigations by supernatural researchers. The Museum is currently holding a raffle to spend a night in the Merchant’s House with the supernatural research team.

What I Loved

This house is amazing. The candlelight ghost tour provides a unique opportunity to explore the home in darkness. I am dying to go back during the day so I can see all the little details that were hidden in the shadows. I am a huge fan of the Victorian era and this house is a perfect example of how terrifying and beautiful that time period can be.

What Could Be Better

The house is perfection even in the midst of a restoration. I strongly encourage the museum to expand on their “spirited” fall events. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to witness a séance held in the Merchant’s House Museum. 

Final Thoughts

It’s so creepy I wish I could live there. Since that is an impossibility, I guess I’ll just have to settle with becoming a museum member. Then at least, I’ll be able to visit whenever I want.  

MHM Candlelight Ghost Tours Run

October 21-22nd & 27-29th

Discount Tickets

Full Price Ticket Prices
6-7:30pm: $25
8-9pm: $30
9:30pm (includes 4th floor servants quarters): $40

  • Merchant’s House Museum Members: $13 all time – Click Here for Museum Membership Info.

Age requirements

 The Merchant’s House Museum is open to all ages.

Additional Info


After Dark: The Haunting at Madame Tussauds
234 West 42nd Street
New York, NY

For eight nights, Madame Tussauds will allow guests to wander the famous wax museum in the dark. This after-hours haunted house encompasses several floors full of dark passageways, wax figures and a handful of members of the living tucked away to catch you by surprise.

Is it Scary?

The official answer on their website: “After Dark is meant to be scary with interactive experiences and will contain some live actors.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Fear is subjective. If you’re still having ‘House of Wax‘ nightmares or are genuinely afraid of wax sculptures during daylight hours, then this is guaranteed to scare you.

What I Loved

Wax sculptures are creepy. Add complete darkness and there is potential for heart-stopping terror. Walking into a pitch black room filled with frozen greasy-looking fake people will definitely send your imagination into over-drive.

What Could Be Better

A few of the more acrobatic actors did an excellent job, but overall the live ‘performances’ were half-baked and under-utilized. Personally, I would have preferred to walk-through alone without the live actors. In a place so undeniably unsettling, it would be easy to scare myself.

Final Thoughts

Fans of Madame Tussauds will love this spooky Halloween offering targeted to please the Times Square crowd. 

After Dark: The Haunting Runs

October 20-23rd & 27-30th

Discount Tickets

Full Price Ticket Prices
Online: $22
At The Door: $25
Groups of 15+: $18

  • For $16 Tickets – Click Here!
  • Save $3 by purchasing your tickets online.

Age requirements

It is not recommended for children under 12 and anyone under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Additional Info

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hujU2pGMt0&w=640&h=360]


Trapped In Purgatory
Hotel 666
5050 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 

 Wizard of Gore
2449 Veterans Road West
Staten Island, NY

Green Side Up Garden Center on Staten island is the unlikely home of Trapped in Purgatory, a two-part haunted attraction for the Halloween season. The first attraction is Hotel 666, a traditional walk-through haunted house filled with clever hydraulic effects and traditional startles scares. The second attraction is a twisted Wizard of Oz themed corn maze called Wizard of Gore.

Is it Scary?

 According to their website: “…Where once you check in you might not be checking out! You might be in for a scare with our tight collapsing hallways and an elevator to the 6th floor; where you will be greeted by the undead that haunt this Hotel. This is not for the faint at heart!”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Fear is subjective. There are several very effective startle scares. If chainsaws, creepy hotels, and undead creatures jumping out at you is what it takes to make you scream then, yes, you will find this scary.

What I Loved

There is a short corn maze before you enter the Hotel 666 attraction. The three ghouls wandering about the maze do a fantastic job terrorizing the guests as they prepare to ‘check-in.’ The first moments inside the hotel are some of the strongest and most inventive. The initial disorienting tactic and the elevator are very effective and set the scene beautifully. 

What Could Be Better

The set of Hotel 666 is chilling and reminiscent of The Shining’s Overlook hotel, but the actors within its walls are very young and provide only a very basic startle scare. A few even broke character and talked to us. I wish that they had taken the time to develop a story for each room and given the performers an action to play. Once the startle scare is over the monsters should have something to do other than just stand there. If they put as much effort into the performance aspect of the house as they do into the sets and special effects they will have an incredible little attraction on their hands.

We attended the Wizard of Gore corn maze on a rainy Sunday evening. We were talking amongst ourselves and one of the actors dropped character to confirm that they were understaffed that night. I did get the full experience of the corn maze, but it seemed to fall victim to the same issues that plagued its haunted house counterpart.       

 Final Thoughts

 Trapped in Purgatory is a small up and coming Staten Island haunt that has the potential to draw large crowds from Manhattan if they can employ more solid story lines and convincing actors. 

Trapped In Purgatory Runs

September 30th – October 31st

Discount Tickets

Full Price Ticket Prices
Hotel 666: $18
Wizard of Gore: $18
Combo Ticket: $30

  • $9 Tickets for Hotel 666 – Click Here! & $9 Tickets for Wizard of Gore – Click Here!
  • Click Here for more Discounts! 

Age requirements

Trapped in Purgatory is for all ages. 

Additional Info


Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse of Horrors
215 South Country Road
Bellport, NY
(Long Island)

Nyctophobia creator Eric Striffler recommended that we check out Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse of Horrors while we were on Long Island and I’m so glad that we did. The final stop on our Triple Feature Friday was at the Gateway Playhouse for a truly fantastic walk-through-style haunted house. The large scale production is 2-3 times longer than the average haunt and covers the 100-year-old estate both inside and out.

“S” and I arrived after getting lost about 3 times. (Don’t forget your GPS!) We rushed to the box office to pick up our Fast Pass Tickets (Click Here to buy yours now.) and headed to the haunt entrance. We were thrilled that we got to walk-through the haunt as a group of two. What followed was the Broadway of haunted houses with the advantage of not only having the massive amounts of space available outside Manhattan, but also the history and ambiance of a setting that’s over a century old.

Is it Scary?

According to their facebook page: “Gateway’s 100 year old Estate provides the setting for the scariest night of your life.

The Raven & Black Cat says: Fear is subjective, but they have a little bit of everything in the epic journey that is the Haunted Playhouse of Horrors. Something if not everything in this haunt will scare you and if it doesn’t you’ll have a blast taking in this intricately detailed valentine to Halloween.

Here’s A Tip

Head over early and have a drink and something to eat at their bar/concession stand. Some may need the liquid courage.

What I Loved

There is so much to love. The detailed sets and costumes, stellar make-up and special effects, actors that can really act, creepy old theater smells, a variety of textured walk-ways, and an extensive variety of horror themes. It is a brilliant marriage of top-notch theater production and the traditional haunted house.

What Could Be Better

The opening video and story line could use a little work. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse of Horrors is more House of Horrors than Haunted Playhouse. If the explanation for everything is just a haunting than based on what I saw the estate would have to have been the setting of a horrific mass murder, built on some kind of mass grave or both. The one ghost theory isn’t satisfying enough.

Final Thoughts

If you love traditional haunted houses you absolutely must attend Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse of Horrors.

The Haunted Playhouse Runs

September 30th – October 31st

Discount Tickets

Full Price Ticket Prices
General Admission: $20
Fast Pass Ticket: $25
Not So Scary Daytime Monster House: $7

  • ‘Like’ them on facebook HERE to get a $5 discount. (Sun-Thurs only)

Age requirements

Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Young children are encouraged to attend the ‘Not So Scary Monster House’ on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm – 5pm.

Additional Info


Nyctophobia Haunted House
1508 Main Road
Jamesport, NY
(Long Island)

Triple Feature Friday continued with a drive to Long Island for Nyctophobia Haunted House. Nyctophobia requires that you enter alone or in pairs. It is almost entirely dark and the people inside will touch you. It also has a safe word.

Twenty-year-old creator Eric Striffler is a member of Blackout Haunted House’s exclusive survivor’s club, but he is quick to point out that his inspiration for Nyctophobia didn’t come from the Vortex theatre’s haunt. In fact, he came up with the concept for Nyctophobia three years ago as part of a high school project, but at 17 he was unable to really put his plan into action. Until now.

As a fellow member of the survivor’s club, I can attest to the fact that while there are some similarities between Nyctophobia and Blackout they each provide completely different experiences. Nyctophobia avoids the sexual and violent themes used in Blackout and instead relies on a physical structure that creates a dark sensory fun house. The actors touch you, but they use an intentionally light touch as you make your way through the dark obstacle filled labyrinth.

Is it Scary?

The official answer on their website: “Yes. Very. This is an intense and unique experience unlike any other haunted house on Long Island.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Fear is subjective. Some may find this terrifying. (They have had many people scream out the safe word.) If being touched in the dark while navigating a maze of tunnels, hallways, and sets makes you squirm then you will definitely enjoy this. 

The Rules

  • You are entering at your own risk.
  • You must enter the haunted house alone or in groups of two.
  • Actors will touch you, but you may not touch them.
  • You will be required to walk, sit, and crawl multiple times.
  • You will be required to remove your shoes at one point.
  • You will be required to interact with your surroundings, so please follow instructions.
  • Use of a light source (phone, flashlight, etc) other than what we provide is prohibited.
  • You may be recorded and photographed for promotional purposes.

    What I Loved

    The opening was fantastic. Each group of 1 (or 2 ) is forced to wait in a dimly lit holding cell. A fluorescent light with poor wiring sputters and struggles to stay lit occasionally going out completely for a second or two. In the distance you can hear retro children’s music so creepy it will make your skin crawl. When an actor finally brings you into the house they explain the premise and then use a simple sensory tactic that made me want to jump out of my skin. The opening set the scene perfectly and was great for building tension, but the highlight of the haunt is only experienced by those who walk through alone. There is an amazingly chilling simulation burial that scared-y cats walking through in pairs will miss.  

    What Could Be Better

    Eric Striffler’s Nyctophobia is brimming with potential, but there are a few things that keep it from being truly terrifying. The first is that there are a lot of missed opportunities where they could take things further and intentionally don’t out of concern that their Long Island audience won’t attend if it is too scary. I believe very strongly that a haunted house can never be too scary. Instead of catering to the fearful they should offer 2 completely different versions. From 7-9 p.m., allow people to go through in pairs for a toned-down version and then from 9-11 p.m., don’t hold back and only allow people to walk through alone. If you are doing something different and really scary people will come.

    Final Thoughts

    Nyctophobia is a haunted fun house with moments guaranteed to give you goose bumps. It is shocking that it was produced by someone so young. I look forward to future incarnations of Nyctophobia and wonder how the haunt will change and grow as its young creator matures. 

    Nyctophobia Runs

    October 6th – 22nd

    Ticket Discounts

    Full Price Ticket Prices
    General Admission: $18
    VIP Premium: $23

    • All tickets must be purchased online. No tickets will be sold at the door. Click Here to buy yours now! (They are nearly sold out for their last weekend.)
    • General admission ticket holders will get $3 back if they go through alone and make it all the way to the end.

    Age requirements

    No one under the age of 14 will be admitted.

    Additional Info


    Nightmare: Z-Day
    1157 Commerce Avenue
    Bronx, NY

     “S” and I kicked off our first ever Triple Feature Friday with a visit to the Bronx for Nightmare: Z-Day, a traditional walk-through-style haunted house, co-created by Tim Haskell and Bobby Ferrara. This brilliant little attraction is exactly what you want in a haunted house. It’s clever, scary, and guaranteed to make you jump. You start your journey in the lab of the crazed scientist responsible for the zombie epidemic. “Come meet my children…” he bellows and invites you to begin your tour through the depths of his undead-infested facilities. What follows is a 15-minute  zombie bombardment as you try to keep your brains from becoming a midnight snack.

    Is it Scary?

    The official answer on their website: “Yes. This isn’t a theme park ride. The whole purpose is to scare you. We have worked long and hard to created the most horrifying experience possible. Get ready for your adrenaline fix.”

    The Raven & Black Cat says: Yes. This journey through zombie land is chock full of startle scares and clever moments of misdirection. If zombies jumping out at you from every direction gives you the creeps then this is definitely for you. 

    What I Loved

    Some of the most effective moments of Z-Day employ techniques to confuse, disorient, and all but gift-wrap you for the horde of hungry zombies. Keep an eye out for some familiar friends from Nightmares past and a glorious use of baby dolls.

    What Could Be Better

    This haunt is wildly entertaining as is, but after the first two rooms it felt like the actors were just sitting around waiting for the startle scare. They were very effective startle scares, but it meant that the action in the room didn’t begin until we entered. It would have had more impact if the characters in each room were engaged in an action or activity before we arrived. Then it would provide an opportunity for them to react to being interrupted or create suspense for patrons if they were not immediately noticed. Adding detail and further developing the characters would help the actors move with intention. It would also add depth to the scenes depicted and take Nightmare: Z-Day to a whole new level.  

    Final Thoughts

    Nightmare: Z-Day has all the horror you’ve come to expect from the Nightmare series. If Nightmare: Fairy Tales wasn’t scary enough for you then take a trip to the Bronx. You won’t be disappointed.

    Nightmare: Z-Day Runs

    October 7th – 31st

    Discount Tickets

    Full Price Ticket Prices
    General Admission: $20 (Oct. 21-31)
    VIP Ticket: $40 (Oct. 21-31)

    • $20 VIP Tickets & $10 Reg. Admission – Click Here!  
    • $5 discount until October 21st with Promo Code: tweet1
    • $5 discount until October 23rd with Promo Code: Zombie1

    Age requirements

    Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted.

    Additional Info

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjdqbWnsv2I?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&w=640&h=360]

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