Haunted Halloween Houses and Not-too-Spooky Walks for NYC Kids

Haunted Houses and Night Walks: Boo at the Zoo, Halloween Murder Mystery, Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns, and More Kid-Friendly Attractions

Looking for a not-too-scary Halloween fright for the kids? A tricked-out haunted house or slightly spooky Halloween trail just might be the right kind of boo for you.

Haunted houses long have been a popular suburban Halloween stapleLong Island and Westchester are rife with them. And while NYC has gained several spooky haunted houses of its own, including Blood Manor, those are for grown-ups only. However, there are a handful of haunted houses in New York City that offer gentler Halloween chills for families.

You're sure to find spooky, family-friendly attractions at pretty much every Halloween festival and fall fair. But we're skipping those to tell you about the best of the city's more elaborate and kid-friendly haunted houses and other spooky attractions for kids this year. Read on for the scoop—and heed the age warnings. While grade-school kids can attend most of these, not all are suitable for preschoolers.

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The Bronx Zoo includes a spooky, jack-o-lantern filled haunted forest during its "Boo at the Zoo." Photo by Sonia Gonzalez.

Haunted Forest — the Bronx
Weekends through October 29
Ages 12 and older
Part of the Bronx Zoo's Boo at the Zoo festivities, this installation at the World of Darkness claims to have upped the spook factor for 2017. Be on the lookout for creepy crawlers, spiders, and bats galore. Afterward, families can enjoy more Halloween-themed fun, including chats with scary-animal handlers, live theater, music, magic, hayrides, trick-or-treating, and costume parades.

The upside down room at Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel.

Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel — Downtown Brooklyn
Thursday, October 19–Saturday, October 21; Thursday, October 26–Tuesday, October 31
Ages 8 and older
The students and faculty of Theatreworks, City Tech College's department of entertainment technology, built this spooky haunted "hotel" at the Voorhees Theatre that takes its inspiration from the animatronic houses you see at amusement parks.

Halloween Murder Mystery — Upper East Side
Saturday, October 21; Friday, October 27–Saturday, October 29
Ages 10 and older
Head to the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden for this Clue-like game. Loosely based on a historical newspaper account, guests will hunt the manor for clues to solve a spooky murder mystery. Advance registration required.

Night of 1,000 Jack-O-Lanterns — Governors Island
Thursday, October 26–Sunday, October 29
All ages
Governors Island gets a Halloween attraction all its own and all from the organizers of the Rise of the Jack-O-Lanterns on Long Island. See GI like you've never seen it before, but beware, advance tickets are required and selling out quickly.

RELATED: Best Free Halloween Events in NYC for Kids

Take a nighttime lantern tour in Queens with the big kids.

Haunted Lantern Tours – Fort Totten, Queens
Friday, October 27–Saturday, October 28
All ages
Head to the Water Battery at Fort Totten Park for a haunted nighttime tour. Prepare to be scared and plan to be in line by 8pm to guarantee admittance! FREE

Meet the ghouls and goblins of Prospect Park at this haunted walk.

Halloween Haunted Walk — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 28
Ages 7–12
Head to Lookout Hill in Prospect Park for this outdoor haunted hike, where you'll be visited by zombies, wolfmen, headless horsemen, good and bad witches, and other creepy characters. Afterward, hit the Nethermead for an all-ages Halloween-themed carnival with games and treats. FREE

Haunted Hikes – Staten Island
Saturday, October 28
Ages 8 and older
Immerse yourself in local lore at this evening hike. Head to the historic farm at Clay Pit Ponds State Park for an evening of ghost stories and a haunted hike through the grounds. FREE

RELATED: October GoList: Best Events for NYC Kids All Month

The Halloween haunted house at the Queens County Farm Museum is a spooky but gentle intro for kids.

Halloween Haunted House — Floral Park, Queens
Saturday, October 28–Sunday, October 29
Ages 6–12
You never know what you'll find—or what will find you—in the Queens County Farm Museum's not-too-scary haunted house. The house will be completely dark inside and filled with winding paths and sudden surprises, but is generally considered a good intro haunted house for school-age children. Afterward, go for a hayride, down some cider, buy your pumpkins and apples, and navigate the Amazing Maize Maze for an extra fee. If you go Sunday, October 29, the family can enjoy the activity-filled Children's Fall Festival from 11am to 4pm, which includes a journey through the haunted house with each admission.

Spooky Barn — Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 28–Sunday, October 29
All ages
Part of the Prospect Park Zoo's Boo at the Zoo weekend, the Spooky Barn is teeming with not-too-scary creatures. Afterward, stick around for other Halloween fun, including wildlife shows, pumpkins for baboons and roaming costumed characters. Kids can show off their costumes and burn off that Halloween candy rush at the zoo's dance party. Free with zoo admission.

A Haunted Hawks' Night Out – Prospect Park
Tuesday, October 31
Night Hawk Cinema opens the lobby of its soon-to-open Prospect Park location for one night only. Expect a mildly frightful haunted house and trick-or-treating for kids. There will also be cookie decorating, a read aloud, and arts and crafts. Mom and dad, meanwhile, will be treated to suds from Brooklyn Brewery.

Halloween Haunted House Party – Coney Island
Tuesday, October 31
The Coney Island YMCA opens its doors for a night of arts and crafts, refreshments, and a not-too-spooky Halloween haunted house. $3 for adults; $1 for children.

Halloween 313 — Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Tuesday, October 31
This is more show, than a haunted house that you enter, but it's filled with mild chills and thrills. There's even a haunted graveyard. The theme changes each year, and 2017 is a performance entitled Marie Laveau Curse of the VooDoo Queen. It's always mobbed, so arrive early to get a good spot. Shows will run on the half hour Halloween night. FREE

Top image: Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel.

This post was originally published in October 2010 but is updated annually. Unless otherwise noted, all photos from the venues

The Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Boulevard
10460 Bronx , NY 40° 51' 1.0368" N, 73° 52' 42.9996" W
New York
Voorhees Theatre
186 Jay Street
11201 Brooklyn , NY 40° 41' 55.8204" N, 73° 59' 14.0424" W
New York
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway
11004 Glen Oaks , NY 40° 44' 53.43" N, 73° 43' 16.4604" W
New York
Prospect Park
95 Prospect Park West
11215 Brooklyn , NY 40° 39' 55.9692" N, 73° 58' 26.454" W
New York
Prospect Park Zoo
450 Flatbush Avenue
11225 Brooklyn , NY 40° 39' 56.0736" N, 73° 57' 53.6076" W
New York
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden
421 East 61st Street
10065 New York , NY 40° 45' 37.9404" N, 73° 57' 35.0388" W
New York
Governors Island 11231 New York , NY 40° 40' 38.208" N, 74° 0' 34.0092" W
New York
Fort Totten
Totten Avenue and 15th Road
11359 Bayside , NY 40° 47' 34.062" N, 73° 46' 36.8904" W
New York