Fall in New York City — that perfect time of the year when Pumpkin Spice Lattes are sipped, our favorite coats come out of their long summer hibernation and people spend way too much money to have the living sh--t scared out of them in New York City’s haunted attractions.
Metro made me, "Scary Bradshaw," attend and review the city’s featured frights, a task that I later realized, terrified me. So I recruited some of my best gal pals to go with me — what better way to bond with your girlfriends than to be absolutely terrified and possibly wet yourselves together?
Below you’ll find a short review of each haunted attraction in New York City along with a rating based on how much I did or did not pee my pants: Dry pants, damp crotch, soaked to the thigh and thoroughly drenched.
Haunted Hayride - Randall's Island
Randall's island Haunted Hayride, one of the city’s hottest haunted attractions, is terrifyingly difficult to find.
After being dumped off on a deserted section of the island by the MTA and wandering around aimlessly under two bridges for 20 minutes or so, my gal pal Leland and I, found the haunted hayride neatly tucked like a circus in a corner on the island. We picked up our VIP tickets, and headed to the VIP line which circumvented the non-vip queue.
This is where the terror began.
As I walked past the zig-zagging maze of human cattle and saw their tired faces, and heard the looped halloween music blaring around them I couldn’t help but wonder, was this the fright they had paid for? To wait in line for who knows how long, enduring the same “scary” music playing over and over again with no end to their wait in sight?
But as I cut the line with my VIP status and boarded the cart of hay I realized that the line was mere foreplay for the terror that was yet to come.
But it never came.
Much of what scaring people depends upon is the element of surprise, and it was utter the lack of surprise that was the Haunted Hayride’s chief failing. The hayride lacked the vulnerability of a traditional haunted house that one walks through. While seated in the cart I could scope out the costumed scarers before they could get me and would yell “No! Don’t do that. No thanks” at anyone I saw hiding behind a hedgestone.
What surprised me was the amount of dance that had been choreographed for the hayride’s performances. At some points it felt as though I was watching a “spooky” recital at Barnard, or was at the opening of a gallery in Chelsea. Two things that I imagine might be terrifying for anyone from someplace like upstate.
The scariest moments from the hayride were ones that were probably not intended to be. For instance, the tractor pulled us through a creepy orphanage where a little burned up looking child shoved a note into my hand whispering, “TAKE IT! READ IT!”
I opened the note and found nothing but scribbles.
“Childhood illiteracy,” I thought aloud “Now that’s scary.”
All in all — the haunted hayride is a lot like Disney’s “It’s a Small World” in that it’s mostly terrifying if you're a child, and just somewhat disappointing if you’re an adult.
Much like “It’s a Small World” though, the Haunted Hayride, with its mix of scares, dance and drama might be perfect for families who want to be scared/entertained but don’t want to put in the effort of walking through a haunted house.
Rating: Damp Crotch
Where: 20 Randall’s Island Park, New York, NY 10035
How much: GA - $35, VIP - $50
Much like anything else I’ve done in a dark room with a group of people, just when the going was getting good we were ushered out by a crazy woman down a flight of stairs.
Rating: Soaked to the thigh