New York City is the perfect place to eat, drink and be terrified, but this year, skip the rowdy parades and tacky costumes and celebrate in style. Sip scared-stiff cocktails at some of New York’s finest establishments, party at a sophisticated Halloween gala or lose yourself in some of the city’s eeriest live theater. Here are our top picks for high-end Halloween celebrations around the Big Apple.
Immersive theater is all the rage in New York City. So get onboard and take a trip into a fantasy world like no other with Sleep No More (October 27 through 31), a noir interpretation of Macbeth. Masked guests are asked to remain silent as they wander the fictitious McKittrick Hotel (essentially a six-floor interactive stage) at their own pace. You can follow performers through a creepy fun house filled with abandoned hospital corridors, candy stores and tons of spooky surprises. There will be Halloween parties directly following special performances on October 30 and 31 that go into the early morning hours. Inferno, as the function is lovingly referred, will include mayhem, bottomless libations, live music and surprise entertainment.
For a Cirque du Soleil meets experimental dinner theater experience, consider getting tickets to Queen of the Night. A Halloween spent here promises to be a ghoulish gala of ghastly proportion — cast members will steal guests away for private adventures and acrobats will perform overhead while patrons feast. And this is all while a show loosely based on Mozart’s Magic Flute takes place. You are always encouraged to dress your best whenever there’s a performance (through January 3), but on Halloween, you will be asked to put on your swankiest (and spookiest) outfits. There will be special Halloween performances on October 29 and 31, which will feature Pamina’s Pumpkin, a special bourbon and pumpkin concoction. The best-dressed visitors will be invited to a secret post-show extravaganza with dangerously delightful desserts. Special tickets for the post-event are also available for limited purchase through Facebook and Instagram.
For an extremely intimate experience in a former mental institution in Williamsburg, check out Then She Fell, which limits its audiences to 15 guests per show. Tumble down the rabbit hole for a “curiouser and curiouser” experience (through December 30) inspired by the life and writings of Lewis Carroll. Expect an evening of secret keys, mysterious elixirs and one-on-one experiences with performers. They’re all mad here!
Head to The Box, one of New York’s most exclusive nightclubs, for its Blood Ball: a Blood Cancer Benefit for Halloween. Spend a little time and money for a good cause while partaking in Halloween treats courtesy of Godiva, Belvedere Vodka and Veuve Clicquot. The circus-themed event will feature burlesque performances and devilish surprises, so dress to impress. The witching hour begins at 8 p.m. on October 29 and ends at 11p.m. One hundred percent of the proceeds go towards costs associated with registering potential bone marrow donors.
Join El Museo del Barrio for its annual arts education benefit celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. This year’s event on October 29 is putting a twist on the traditional celebration, using marriage vows as inspiration to celebrate love — both gained and lost. Enjoy specialty cocktails by Tequila Don Julio, Mexican culinary treats by the famed Hecho en Dumbo restaurant, a DJ set by Nina Sky, art by the Fortoul Brothers and video installations by Nat Castañeda.The event will be held at the Angel Orensanz Foundation located at 172 Norfolk Street.
Dance the night away at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The NoMad Hotel‘s annual Masquerade Ball. This is not your average costume party — black tie and masks are a must. The October 31 soirée promises to be a classy one filled with expertly poured cocktails, decadent treats from chefs Daniel Humm and James Kent, and even a few tricks for good measure. Though the popular event has technically sold out, the hotel has an active waitlist going should anybody mysteriously disappear before the fright-filled fun begins.
The New York Botanical Garden is hosting Dia de los Muertos Weekends (October 24 to 25 and October 31 to November 1) to close out the Frida Kahlo exhibit in terrifyingly fun fashion. The show highlights the richness of Mexico City’s heritage by showcasing the aspects of it that inspired Kahlo’s work. There are more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and works on paper. For the festival, you will enjoy live music, a craft workshop featuring mask making, skull face painting and a procession of oversized skeletons, stilt dancers and La Catrina, the mascot of the holiday.
Now, if you want to get out of the city, head to Westchester for a night of eeriness and elegance at Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester. While you’re there, experience The Great Jack O’Lantern blaze where visitors can meander through an elaborate walkway of over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins. Though tickets sell out quickly for this event (every weekend in October), we won’t be stressing about anything because we’re planning a visit to the Four-Star spa while we’re there, too. It’s scary how calm you can get after a yam and pumpkin enzyme peel or apple-and-pear-packed Fall Surrender foot treatment.