1. Visit the Merchant Museum
In the 19th century, death was fashionable, mostly because death tolls rose with the unhygienic and diseased conditions of urbanization. People often wore black mourning clothes, had elaborate social mourning etiquette, and visited spiritualists in an attempt to contact those who had crossed over to the other side. Victorians set a high bar for melancholy melodrama. Re-visit the Victorian time period by stopping by the Merchant Museum, the house that once belonged to the wealthy Treadwell Family. It is one of the most well preserved Victorian homes in the city. Admission for students is 5 dollars. Currently the museum is exhibiting traditional mourning clothes and a victorian coffin. The best part of this museum ... it's believed to be haunted! They are located on East 4th street between Lafayette and Bowery, just a short walk from Ludlow. Check out their site here.
2. Washington Square Park
Just a short walk from the Treadwell House is Washington Square Park. You may have visited this site before and thought it to be a lovely place to relax for a few hours, but don't get to comfortable. Washington Square Park used to be a Potter's Field. If you are not familiar with the term Potter's Field it is graveyard for the poor or unidentified. To this day there are still bodies underneath Washington Square Park. Think about that next time your have your coffee there. Also, a block to the South is 84 West Third Street, the former residence of Edgar Allan Poe and the location where he penned "The Raven" and "The Cask of Amontillado."
3. The Houdini Museum
Up on 33rd street between 6 and 7 Ave is a small hidden shop on the 3rd floor of 421 building. It is basically a magic shop but has the second largest Houdini collection in the world (second only to the private collection owned by David Copperfield.) You may ask what is so spooky about Houdini's collection, but let me assure you he spent much of his life debunking spiritualists and mediums and often participated in seances in genuine attempts to prove life after death. Houdini was a member of the Scientific American Committee which offered a cash reward for anyone who could prove genuine psychic abilities. Access to the collection is completely free.
4. The Ear Inn
For those of us who are over 21 years of age, here is an option to hang out at a hole in the wall bar. 326 Spring Street between Greenwich and Washington features a historic house that has been a boarding house, smuggler's den and brothel at various times in it's history. It is, of course, haunted. Check them out here.
5. The Morbid Anatomy Museum
The title is self-explanatory. In case you don't get your fill of death and disgust this Halloween, you can visit this place dedicated to the accurate anatomical representation of everything morbid. They are located on 424 Third Ave, in Brooklyn, at the corner of 7th street. Admission for students is 6 dollars. Check them out here.
6. Showing of Crimson Peak at the SVA Theater
You may have seen it in your email, but the SVA Theater is showing Crimson Peak, a film by Guillermo Del Toro, this Friday at 8 PM. It's completely free with your SVA ID and SVA students are allowed to bring 3 non-SVA guests. Though, the SVA Theater is not haunted (disappointing, I know) you can still enjoy this horror film from one of the masters of horror.
7. Hart Island
The title of this article is 6 Spooky and Haunted Places to Visit This Halloween, but here we are on list item number 7. Why you may ask? Because this last place CANNOT be visited. It is Hart Island, a small island just north of Queens and easily the most haunted place in NYC. The island is named so because it resembles the hind leg of a stag. This Island started as an internment camp for soldiers in the Civil War. Subsequently it was also used as a grave site for unidentified bodies. It is the largest Potter's Field in the World. The island has also been home to a Women's Mental Hospital, a quarantine zone in the 1870 Yellow Fever epidemic and a Boy's Workhouse. It is currently owned by New York Department of Corrections and is the place used to bury those who die in prison. It is unknown exactly how many bodies are buried on Hart Island. Burial records on the island were lost in a fire in 1977 due to an act of Vandalism. There is an ongoing investigation into exactly how many bodies there are on Hart Island. Only those working for the New York Department of Corrections and those who can prove a family member is buried on the island, are allowed to visit. What is even worse, in 2009 four teenagers mysteriously lost their lives on the island. Hart Island is, without a shadow of a doubt, haunted.