October is the designated spooky month, but honestly, these last two years have been the ongoing nightmare nobody asked for. Fortunately, Halloween in New York City is poised to be resurrected like a Thriller zombie, and we’re totally here for it.

When we were children, trick or treating was the custom, and some of us stretched it into our teens and beyond, not caring how ridiculous we looked, because who doesn’t like free candy?

For those who are parents to little ones, you’ll be able to relive this fun tradition through the eyes of your own children, and be sure to steal some candy once they’ve gone to bed as compensation for taking them from door to door. Hey, you deserve it! The kids don’t need that entire plastic pumpkin of Snickers, Reese’s, Butterfinger, and Candy Corn, and they won’t notice some of it is missing.

If you like thrills, chills, and things that go bump in the night, you might want to visit some haunted houses, which have the appropriate COVID-19 protocol in place.

Blood Manor bills itself as the premiere haunted house in New York City, BrainXcape offers escape rooms with a horror twist (Rikers 1932 and The Haunted Hotel), and Blackout has a strict 18 and older policy with a waiver requirement.

The New York Times summarized this immersive experience as follows, “the goal is clearly not to give your nerves a safe tickle, it’s to titillate, unsettle, and generally mess with your mind. It succeeds magnificently. But its greatest accomplishment is that most of the shocks take place inside your head.”

Photo by Matt Hill

If you think you can meander through Blackout while bowing your head and clutching your friend’s hand, guess again. You have to go alone, and if darkness, water, enclosed spaces, sudden loud noises, and abrupt physical contact are too much for you, no worries. You can shout out the safe word given in advance, and be escorted out without a refund.

What if your idea of a great Halloween involves dressing in extravagant costume or watching others do it? Go to The Village Parade, which is free to the public, unless you want to pay for access to the VIP areas. It was cancelled last year, so expect it to return with a vengeance, featuring all the glitz, glamour, and fun. The drag queens always go all out in their impossibly high heels and platform shoes, not to be outdone by the dancers, bands, floats and giant puppets. If you want to jump into the parade yourself, you probably can, so long as you’re in a costume.

If you’re not a fan of crowds, or would like to find something else that is family friendly during the month of October, you might enjoy pumpkin picking in Long Island and Westchester, The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, with its elaborate and colorful displays, or Boo At the Zoo, held at The Bronx Zoo.

Not yet comfortable going out to celebrate Halloween with throngs of strangers just yet? That’s valid.

Invite a handful of friends to your house for a classic like Hocus Pocus or The Addams Family, or take in some television alone. Netflix and the other streaming services have no shortage of options. As the name implies, American Horror Story is always a great choice for this time of year. Coven showcases some of Angela Bassett’s best work as Marie Laveau, and she plays a bisexual showgirl in Hotel, another standout season, though her role is less prominent.

Whatever you decide to do this Halloween season, have fun and be safe.