Trick or treat in the Big Apple

By James Shrimpton

Halloween in America is a time for trick or treating, some tricks being tame, others terrifying.

And nowhere more so than in New York City, where the night of October 31 and the evenings leading up to it see the city at its thrilling best, with haunted houses, scary shows and films, costume parties and parades.

Forget the traditional idea of youngsters knocking on doors and demanding "Trick or treat?" and accepting treats from householders in return for not tricking them.

That's kids' stuff. The Terror takes Manhattan show at Blood Manor, which is billed as New York's premier haunted attraction, at 542 West 27th Street, began on October 6 and continues five nights a week until and including Halloween. The manor's realistic haunted attractions include the Hotel Asylum, the 3D Circus of Death, the Dusk 'til Dawn Room and Skull Alley.

The Merchant's House Museum at 29 East 4th Street hosts several events leading up to Halloween, including tours by candlelight of Manhattan's most haunted house. One event is "From Parlor To Grave: Recreating a Mid-19th-Century Funeral", and on Halloween, Simon Loekle reads grim poetry from Edgar Allan Poe and "other masters of gothic horror".

Poe's bone-chilling tales will also be scaring audiences during "An Evening with Poe", hosted by the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden at 421 East 61st Street.

Poe re-enactor Kevin Mitchell reads from the letters and tales of the author, the bard of the macabre who penned scary stories such as The Fall of the House of Usher and The Tell-Tale Heart.

You can uncover the mysteries of one of New York City's most famous districts during the "Macabre Greenwich Village" tour offered by Joyce Gold History Tours. Guides describe the hangings, murders, graveyards and ghost sightings in the area.

Year-round, the Jekyll and Hyde Pub at 91 7th Avenue South boasts spooky special effects, live entertainment, a collection of oddities, monster burgers and a cast of spooky characters, including Claw the Gargoyle, Tobias the Werewolf and Dreadmina the Vampire.

Fans of scary movies have been packing the New York City Horror Film Festival featuring classic and new horror films, sci-fis and thrillers at TriBeCa Cinemas 2.

And aspiring witches and wizards can learn how to make potions, practice pranks and create treats under the guidance of world renowned Professor of Frightology Dr Terwiliger at the Scare School at Madame Tussauds New York until October 31.

- AAP

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