Boo! It’s the Most Ghoulish Time of Year: Halloween!
By: Ellis Nassour
There’s nothing like a Broadway show for a Halloween treat. While it’s not exactly a horror musical, there is one very scary person in the hit musical Matilda, the school mistress, Mrs. Trunchbull, who’ll have you shaking in your boots. Other treats: Wicked, the tale of how the Good and Bad witches of The Wizard of Oz came to be; that blockbuster still packing theatres world-wide, The Lion King. Disney has pulled out all the stops in creating a colorful musical extravaganza for their stage version of Aladdin, a huge family treat.
Or how about a visit with that masked lovelorn fellow known as The Phantom of the Opera?
Speaking of Phantom, it has opened a pop-up shop and art gallery at the Paramount Hotel (street level, 235 West 46th Street) through October 30 that will be the delight of the musical’s countless fans. It features 26 winning and six grand-prize winning Phantom masks from the nationwide contest. Fans can bid on the masks via a silent auction, with proceeds benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS (BC/EFA). [To date, the musical’s casts have raised in excess of $5.5-million through bucket collections and all manner of fund-raising ideas.]
There’s exclusive POTO merchandise and a create-your-own-mask station. Bring your camera because there are photo opts galore: costume displays, including those worn by original stars Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman/Patti Cohenour; even a recreation of the Phantom’s lair.
In-store events will include a Q&A with current cast members moderated by NY1 News’ Frank DiLella on October 28 at 5:30 P.M.; and, on October 29 at 5:30 P.M., a discussion with associate costume designer Sam Fleming, who worked side-by-side the brilliant late Tony and Drama Desk-winning Maria Björnson.
To bid on masks, live through November 3 at 5 P.M., visit www.BroadwayCares.com/Phantom.
New York’s Grand Greenwich Village Halloween Extravaganza
Nothing comes close to beating the annual Halloween
night tradition of the gigantic people’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, sponsored by the Village Voice for the 41st year. "The nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event" kicks off at 7 P.M. from Spring Street, and marches up Sixth Avenue to 16th Street. Stretching more than a mile, this icon of cultural events that gives freedom of expression new definition draws 2,000,000 in-person spectators, with more than 60,000 wild ‘n wholly costumed participants, giant puppets, dancers, artists and circus performers, dozens of floats, bands, and performing artists Visit www.halloween-nyc.com and www.villagevoice.com for information on how to participate. Watch it live on NY1.
Halloween in New York’s Biggest Park
Sunday, October 26, from 3:30-6:30 P.M, in Central Park at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues, enjoy live music, spooky stories, pumpkin carving demonstrations, parade at 5:30, and the signature event: the pumpkin flotilla, which sets sail across the Harlem Meer at 6.
Out Brooklyn Way
There’ll be fun and jinks at Coney Island’s Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest, where, among many activities, there’ll be magic shows, balloon painting, and a patch where families and pick and paint pumpkins. Within shouting distance is the place for comfort food: the original Nathan’s Famous.
Cineplex Horror Fright Fest
Is this not the best time of year to revisit famous Halloween spookhouse and horror movies, with everything from zombies and slashers to séances in them? How about bad ole Freddy and the Nightmare on Elm Street screamers, any movie with Halloween, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy in the title? Or Poltergeist or the classic E.T.? In the mood for some Stephen King? Rent Pet Sematary! Or, if you like to see heads roll, how about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? For something much milder, try the animated Monsters, Inc.? Even less scary? There’s fun for the whole family when you join Lucy, Sally, Linus, and the Peanuts gang for It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
3-D seems to be having a much-longer life now than when first introduced. For a great at-home theatrical experience, check out the Blu-ray 3-D edition of the edge-of-your-cushioned-seat 1953 blockbuster House of Wax [Warner Home Entertainment, SRP $40], with the colors, pre-digital two-projector image realignment, and sound track meticulously remastered with a 4K scan. Don’t spill your popcorn as you experience one of the most incredible horror flick finales flick. Don’t get too close to the flames! Vincent Price, so fantastic playing madmen, is perfect casting for demented Professor Henry Jarrod.
Scary Movies at Lincoln Center Film Society
This is the horror film fest for the real horror aficionado! Presented by Film Society of Lincoln Center [FSLC], Scary Movies 8, October 31 – November 6 at the Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center, is a veritable bobbing for apples and bloodlust feast. For seven fright-by-days/fright-by-nights jolts of doom and gloom, there’ll nowhere to hide except behind a giant bucket of buttered popcorn. You might find some safety in the arms of directors and actors making personal appearances.
What makes Scary Movies a standout is that it’s not just a collection of popular "Halloween" flicks, but a sophisticated collection of international blood curdlers. The series opener is Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s hilarious reinvention of the worn-out mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows [Unison Films/Paladin, 2014, New Zealand, 86 minutes], a Sundance hit they co-wrote and co-star in about vampire roommates trying to get by in a modern world that’s not hospitable to the undead. As the minutes tick by to the witching hour, join the vampire-themed Halloween party and bob for apples.
For full schedule, synopsizes, and pricing, creep over to your computer and very quietly by low-beam flashlight type in www.filmlinc.com.
Horror Movie Classics in a Classic Setting
Horror movie classics on the huge screen in a majestic setting of one of America’s most magnificent movie palaces [albeit slowly in the process of restoration], Loews’ Jersey, are an annual Halloween treat just across the Hudson, via PATH, to Jersey City. On arrival, just hop, skip, and jump across the street for an eye-popping experience, and not just on the giant screen.
Showing October 24, 8:15 P.M. : the silent vampire classic from F. W. Murau, Nosferatu, with live music for the undead on the giant Wonder show organ; October 25, 6 P.M. Boris Karloff is the original monster created by Mary Wolestonecraft Shelley and the good doctor in one of the grand-daddies of horror thrillers, Frankenstein; and that night at 8:15, Oscar-winning director Robert Wise’s The Haunting, an edge-of-the-seat thriller starring stage and film legends Julie Harris and Claire Bloom.
All shows are preceded by organ concerts on the huge Wonder Morton organ. Tickets are cheap, and even cheaper with senior/student discounts. There’s reasonably-priced concession fare including fresh-popped popcorn. Discount parking is also available. For more information on the not-for-profit Friends of the Loews, visit www.loewsjersey.org.
A post-Halloween extravaganza will be the November 1 screening of Jack Nicolson’s memorable visit to the Overlook Hotel, The Shining at 7 P.M., with prizes for the Best Jack and Best Movie Star at the 9:30 P.M. masquerade dance party in the theatre’s grand marble rotunda.
Six Flags Great Adventure Fright Fest
The largest regional Halloween season event of its kind at the world’s largest amusement park is Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari Park’s Fright Fest (90-minutes away, Jackson, NJ) weekends through November 2. There’re family thrills by day on the largest array of roller coasters anywhere, including the jet-propelled rocket cars of the towering Kingda Ka.
After 6 P.M., things get really creepy and gory as the Fest transitions to "fright by night" as 200 zombies are released into the park at Blood Fountain. There will be six haunted walk-throughs and four scare zones, including the Lakefront with Straw-Man Stalkers, blood-thirsty scarecrows; Voodoo Island; Asylum; Wasteland; and the Manor. New this year is the Total Darkness Terror Trail, a blackout maze.
Come in costume to join the evening’s character parade. There’s a children’s ride park, face-painting, live shows [such as Dead Man’s Party featuring the Zombie Dancers, and dolphin and tiger exhibitions]. By day, don’t miss Six Flags’ Wild Safari, the world’s largest such attraction outside of Africa. For pricing, directions, and transportation options, log on to www.sixflags.com/greatadventure.
Times Square Halloween Central, with Stars
Smack dab on The Duce is Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum interactive attraction, not only with , 85,000 square feet of display and party space, but with over 220 eerily real-life clones of Who’s Hot. Bring your camera and have a friend snap your picture alongside the stars and sports celebrities!
For a Halloween fun house experience, Madame’s Scream is hard to top. When she says, "Be afraid, be very afraid!" believe her! Be brave, but do not go alone! Pick your path and make sure your vocal cords are in working order. The Mirror Maze is a scream-out-loud, where you’ll feel your heart pumping and your palms becoming sweaty. You never know who’s lurking in the shadows! Will you make it out of the cellblock without succumbing to a psycho killer?
Forget 3-D! Don’t miss Cinema 4D, the new Marvel Super Heroes ultra-sensory attraction that delivers amazing 3-D technology with the latest in special effects. Or step up to bat, shoot some hoops, volley some tennis balls, or challenge a rival in the boxing ring at Sports Zone, a don’t miss interactive experience.
Book tickets online and save 15%. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www. www.madametussauds.com/NewYork
More Haunted Houses
Fiends, frights, and grand guignol aplenty will regale you at The Nightmare Haunted House (Killers 2), on Manhattan’s Lower East Side at 107 Suffolk Street [between Rivington and Delancey Streets] in the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center. From 7 P.M., through November 1. Purchase tickets at www.nightmarenyc.com.
Just West of Times Square, at Eighth Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd Streets, there’s New York’s intense and cutting-edge year-round haunted house, Times Scare on. The horrors take place in the same rooms which years ago were stalked by a notorious killer and his ghost is said to haunt the place. On a lighter note, there’s "horror" food, and drink, too. Try the Cluck You sandwich. Adults can also enjoy Horror Happy Hour, where the Bogeyman cocktail reigns supreme. Those with heart problems or other health issues should proceed with caution. For pricing and combo packages, hours, tour times, to watch video, see photo gallery, and learn more, visit www.timesscarenyc.com.
Boo! at the Bronx Zoo
Weekends, through November 2, what more perfect venue to safely celebrate with all the family than at the world’s largest and greatest wildlife conservancy, the Bronx Zoo. There’ll be costume parades, musical theater, magic shows, hay mazes, "3-D" intricately-carved pumpkins, treat stations, shows, hand-made puppets, props, characters, the Creepy Crafts Workshop [where you can create masks and costumes and decorate your costume]. [There’s also a Boo! at the Zoo at Prospect Park, Brooklyn.]
Take a trip back to prehistoric times on the Dinosaur Safari, with more than 20 snarling and roaring life-like animatronic dinosaurs — some up to 40 feet long. The narrated ride runs through two acres and highlights physical and behavioral adaptations many prehistoric species share with modern-day wildlife. A guide helps identify the dinosaurs and explains how animals at the Bronx Zoo use similar adaptations to survive in the wild. Board at historic Fountain Circle.
Step up to a batty bat and other slimy creatures as Friends of the Zoo demystify and celebrate a variety of wildlife associated with the season: snakes at the World of Reptiles exhibit; bats at the Jungle World exhibit; birds, owls, and vultures at the Birds of Prey exhibit; a Komodo Dragon at Zoo Center.
Theater fans will delight in this year’s special family attraction: Broadway at Boo!, presented by BroadwayWorld.com at 11:30 A.M. There’ll be performances from Cinderella, October 19 and On the Town, October 26, and C.S. Louis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, October 31/Halloween.
For event and workshop schedules, ticketing [purchase online and save $5], directions, and transportation information, visit online at www.bronxzoo.org.
Queens residents should check out activities at the Queens Botanical Garden’s Harvest Fest and Pumpkin Patch [43-50 Main Street, Flushing.]
A Bronx Pumpkin Patch
Through October 31, the New York botanical Garden, adjacent to the Bronx Zoo, Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road, is presenting The Haunted Pumpkin Garden. For ticketing, information, and subway, Metro North, and auto travel options, visit www.nybg.org.
Halloween Hi-Jinks on the High Line
A fun family event is the Haunted High Line Halloween celebration on Saturday, October 25 from 11 A.M.-3 P.M. Visitors to New York’s unique above-ground park will be transported to a spooky past, where haunted trains ruled and the ghosts of hungry workers roamed the West Side. Trick-or-treat your way through the park and enjoy an afternoon of art, music, ghosts and ghouls. If you dare, carefully sneak through a haunted train tunnel by puppet master Ralph Lee. Bring your camera to photograph a giant "ghost train" made by school children. Construct your own train cars out of recycled materials. There’ll be dancing to the horns of the Trummytones, and stories performed by the Story Pirates. Follow the High Line on Facebook or @highlinenyc on Twitter for more information. Various locations on the High Line from West 14th Street to West 17th Street, presented with support from the MetLife Foundation.
How About a Rocky Halloween?
And what would Halloween be with Rocky Horror Picture Show costume parties at home with a DVD? The ultimate experience, of course, is participating with the audience at weekend midnight screenings at Chelsea Cinemas [West 23rd Street at Eighth Avenue], where costumed fans yell back lines at the screen and sing along with the cast.es between