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Long Island New York is the home of one of the scariest haunted houses in America called Gateway's Haunted Playhouse. New York has many incredible haunted houses and Hauntworld rates and reviews the best haunted attractions in America. Hauntworld can help you find hundreds of haunted houses in New York and Long Island.
Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse is the rare occasion that brings the words “haunted house” and “professional theatre” together in the same sentence. And, although these thoughts appear to be worlds apart, the Gateway Playhouse proves that the two subjects not only go — but also can grow — together …And GROW they have!
The Gateway Playhouse is located in Bellport, N.Y.—a coastal village that lies on Long Island’s south shore, 60 miles east of Manhattan. The Gateway, now a non-profit organization, was first established in 1950 and remains the region’s oldest professional theatre. Since the early days of summer stock shows, limited staff and shoestring budgets, the organization currently employs over 200 theatre professionals who cast, design, build, stage and perform in nearly ten Broadway quality productions each year. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse first launched in 2009, during the middle of America’s “great recession.” Paul Allan, the theatre’s managing producer, recalls that this haunted house move had been discussed for several years prior, as a way to compliment the theatre’s main business. “Our staff originated the idea of doing a haunted house. We would talk about it at the end of production meetings for our summer shows — or often times after work over a few drinks,” Allan said. “Our summer season of musicals ends in September and many of our creative staff and technicians worked at haunts in New York and across the country during our down time. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse was born because they were enthusiastic about creating our own haunt.”
For Allan, a haunted house has all the elements of a great theatrical performance and also allows the theatre’s artists to exercise every fiber of their creative muscle. Compared to a theatrical production that has a predetermined script and setting, the haunt provides a blank slate that is ripe for creativity. One such creator is haunt director Michael Baker, a longtime aficionado of haunted attractions. Every year, Baker, Allan and the theatre’s staff set a new theme and concept for each version of Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse. These stories are built on historical facts and are often spun from the theatre’s rich history. One such story involved the horrible creations of a demented prop maker from the early days of the theatre, while another showed the lasting effects of a vengeful caretaker. These tales come to life when placed against the backdrop of the Gateway property — a mix of different architectures that create a macabre visual appearance when properly lit. Some buildings remain from the original settlement, now centuries old, while others were constructed by the prominent Mott family after the Civil War. It is widely believed that members of the Mott family still haunt the playhouse and its surrounding buildings.
Recently, the theme has been borrowed from strange occurrences outside the theatre. Long Island is home to many government laboratories — each with their own unique lore — which provided the groundwork for the creation of a government controlled airborne virus brought havoc to the surrounding community of Bellport. As a result, 2012’s haunt was christened “Hellport” and a dystopian version of the tranquil village was reproduced inside the walkthrough attraction.
Once a theme has been decided, Baker begins conversations with wig and makeup designer Trent Pcenicni, who sketches specific characters that deepen the storyline. Each room in the haunt will be themed around the lives of these individuals. Baker and Pcenicni take great care to include a wide assortment of characters and types of scares so that people of all ages and backgrounds — from those who plunge head first into the haunt, to those who cower at the tail end of each group — are affected by what’s inside. This mixture of characters and effects is designed to assault all bodily senses for the scariest haunted house experience possible. In some rooms, pungent odors of rotting flesh and raw sewage clog the air. In others, patrons wade their way through a sinking floor and feel their way through a dark room, blockaded by bodybags suspended from the ceiling like hanging meat in a haunted butcher shop. Around another corner, patrons cower in fear as they come face-to-face with a shower of sparks created by a burly, chainsaw wielding psycho who wildly slices through an electrified fence. While these haunting characters provide ample scares for patrons, their sensorial assault is also used to setup a deeper, subtle, more lasting fright: the “psychological” scare. This haunt technique utilizes the character’s inner emotional state — not just what the character is doing — to achieve its outcome.
Pcenicni describes a “naked man” character in order to illustrate how a “psychological” scare can be effective when placed against other types of terror. During one haunt sequence, patrons had their senses jarred by a sequence of moving floors, a loud “startle scare” in an electrocution chamber, and an eerie environment filled with televisions emitting static. They then discovered a character that appeared to be nude, lying motionless and speechless on the floor of the following room. Despite not having to speak or move, the actor accomplished his scare, because he remained true to his story. Moreover, patrons continued to rave over the existence of this ‘naked man’ long after exiting the haunted house, even as they walked to their cars.
This type of committed, live actor gives Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse its unique intimacy. Quality acting has long been synonymous with the Gateway name, as actors such as Robert Duvall, David Carradine and Gene Hackman have trod the boards on its stage. The theatre is also home to the Gateway Acting School, which trains nearly 300 young actors annually. Baker, a Gateway Acting School instructor and member of Actors’ Equity Association, teaches and rehearses each company of haunt actors. Although many are trained stage, film and television actors, the entire cast undergoes a general audition to assess how each could be suitable in particular roles and scenes. During the audition, actors assemble into groups and are first encouraged to utilize their senses of smell and taste as they act out facing cold, wet or arid conditions. Specific rehearsals are devoted to voice, which helps each company member produce a catalog of sounds — from loud screams and dizzying cacophonies, to low groans and slight whimpers. As the improvisations become more specific, all actors explore three different character types: victim, aggressor and helper. Baker believes that this process lays a foundation for any scene that would be included in the haunt. “We rehearse over and over because it’s important that the actors are comfortable in their circumstances. These sessions give them the tools necessary to stay in character,” Baker said. “There’s no ‘right or wrong’ in how to act. It’s about commitment to the situation. Even transitions in our haunt are still scenes and require the same level of commitment, in character. After each scare, our actors are trained to maintain their focus as they reset and prepare for the next group of haunted house victims.” This dedication to the actor’s body and mind bleeds through into design and technical decisions. Although full, over-the-head masks are often used for intimidation, Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse prefers not to depend on them solely, because they constrict the actors’ emotive abilities. Instead, costumes and makeup applications are relied on to make a distinct, visual look that is specific to each haunt character.
Given that haunted house actors are seen up close, these distinct looks must be intricately recreated. Pcenicni and six other makeup artists begin applications three hours before the haunt begins. To speed things along, the makeup team uses two dozen airbrushes filled with cosmetic grade paint. After the night is over, it takes another hour and a half to remove prosthetics and other effects. Once the first group of patrons enters the haunt, Baker monitors and communicates with each actor to maintain the high quality of each performance. Actors carry character description cards that prove extremely useful when a standby or replacement actor is needed. Baker encourages his haunted house cast to experiment, keeping in mind that timeliness and consistency are crucial for the smooth run of each haunt. “We have the freedom to play in rehearsals, but we also have to reset in a matter of seconds as new patrons come through the haunt,” Baker said. “It’s important that the actors not spend a lot of time with each group, because we need to keep the flow moving.” The flow becomes more and more critical as attendance multiplies each year. Although Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse attracted only 2,500 people during its 2-week debut season, attendance TRIPLED the following year and DOUBLED the next! The haunt schedule has expanded from two to six weeks to meet this demand and now continues into November, as well. This huge increase in attendance is a direct tribute to the quality production at Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse. These figures have given Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse the resources to extend its construction period from a number of days to two full months, giving patrons a more satisfying, detailed experience. Each year, the haunt must be quickly built and tore down, to accommodate the theatre’s winter production schedule. The acting company has also grown thanks to this increased attendance. What began with only a few professional actors and several volunteers from the Gateway Acting School and the theatre’s technical staff has grown to include 40 professional actors and another 40-50 volunteers. During the Halloween season, nearly 120 people are included on the payroll, taking technical, sales, security, custodial, parking and concessions staff into account.
Each year, the walkthrough path moves to include new areas on the property and concepts continue to evolve as the organization gains more and more experience in the haunted house genre. The original end sequence required patrons to turn and witness an onstage scene — like in a theatrical production. Now, patrons are encouraged to discover and connect stories and events at their own pace, instead of watching an act unfold in front of them. This relationship is now established before the haunt actually begins. “Once people approach the haunted house entrance, they are extremely excited to encounter what lies inside. In this state of suspense, asking them to read a written story or watch a preview movie — which we have done in the past — has proven to be counterproductive,” Allan reasons. “We now let the story unfold inside, with them being a part of it. They can’t wait to have their space invaded and feel their safety questioned.”
This illusion of danger, amplified by a disorienting haunt environment, can spark a distinct, different emotional response from each patron. Because these reactions are sometimes difficult to predict, Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse takes great measures to keep all parties free from actual harm. A dedicated security team has always been in place for each haunt and is now headed by a retired officer and training specialist from the Suffolk County Police Department. This force has the capability to anticipate and address any situation within moments, thanks to dozens of two-way radios that are operated by actors, technicians and staff. Although each instance of growth has led to valued change, the theatre proudly maintains the haunt’s intimacy by giving each effect a human touch, even in a digitized age. Pcenicni has personally made dozens of hands, feet and severed heads, in addition to his other duties. And, although the haunt uses a limited amount of automation, all effects are controlled by a computer program called VenueMagic, which grants the theatre’s technicians precise, moment-to-moment, control over any effect.
This dedication to even the smallest of details has not gone unrecognized. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse has received favorable reviews from the New York Times, was named on USA Today’s “Top Ten Haunted Houses in New York” and was voted “Best Haunted House on Long Island” for two years in a row by News12 — the area’s leading television news outlet. Allan hopes that this wide appeal will familiarize more people with the theatre’s high level of artistry and, in turn, bring a new demographic of patron to the playhouse’s other events throughout the year. With regional and statewide accolades under their belt, as well as thousands of patrons anticipating the newest installment, how will Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse continue to grow?
Baker sums it up best: “We always ask, ‘what haven’t we done. Where else can we go?’”
Ghosts of famous figures have been known to linger around the Hotel Chelsea. Many of these famous individuals have been spotted in spirit form. The most notorious ghost to avoid is the ghost of Sid Vicious, lead bassist of the Sex Pistols. He is known to linger around the elevator and terrorize guests.
St. Paul’s Chapel
A man names George Cooke, who died of an alcohol overdose in 1812, was buried at St. Paul’s Chapel. The problem is that he was buried there without his head. Records say that he donated his skull to science, but eventually the skull made its way to a stage production of Hamlet. It has been reported by many that Cooke haunts the chapel and churchyard in pursuit of his lost head.
Back in the day, a group of writers would meet at this hotel on a daily basis for lunch. This all happened right around the time of World War I. Since the passing of all of these individuals, their spirits have been spotted on a regular basis lingering around the hotel.
The House of Death
Believe it or not, there is a house in New York City that is cursed with horrible deaths. This brownstone home was created in the 19th century and is haunted by the 22 people who have died in the house. The house was once occupied by Mark Twain – who supposedly haunts the house as well. Many people are wary to ever live in this house because many occupants of the house never end up leaving – the end up dying.
This is the oldest remaining house from the 18th century in Manhattan. There are a handful of ghosts who haunt this mansion – most well-known is Eliza Jumel who was the former mistress of the mansion. She has been seen wandering around the house wearing a purple dress. She is known to rap on walls and windows and to wander aimlessly. There have also been reports of the ghost of a young girl who committed suicide by jumping out of a window. She also refuses to leave the mansion.
Hauntworld Reviews New York Haunted Houses
Welcome to our New York Haunted House and Halloween Attraction page where you can find all sorts of haunted houses in New York. Some of our favorite haunted houses in New York are located on this page. Listed below are some of the best haunts you can find in the state of New York. If you know of a haunted house, haunted hayride, ghost tour, real haunted house, haunted attraction, scary attraction, or Halloween attraction in New York please refer those attractions to our site so they may create a FREE listing. If you you would like to review one of the attractions we have listed please create an account. Once you create a user account you may post your reviews and rate any haunted houses on our system.
Another great haunted house in New York is The Headless Horseman named NUMBER ONE haunted attraction by Hauntworld the Magazine so this is one haunted event you CAN'T miss. A one mile haunted hayride where you will want to hold on, or you may be eatn alive. A Labtrinth corn maze where you will be hunted and two of the scariest haunted houses.
Kevin McCurdy is one of Americas has one of Americas most twisted minds and he presents Kevin McCurdys Haunted Mansion in Poughkeepsie, New York scaring the crap out of New York for more than 30 years with his high tech effects and spine tingeling story lines. This is one haunted house you don't want to skip. You will scream like a baby. Visist the website at
House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs is Buffalo's LARGEST AND SCARIEST haunted attraction! Venture your way through the decrepit House Of Horrors, where zombies, demons, vampires, psycho killers, and the living dead hungry for flesh will be creeping around every corner.
In New York City you will stumble upon Blood Manor haunted house you can scream, but it won't matter, nobody can hear you, they are all dead just like you soon will be too. The boody scene inside will make you wish you had never entered this haunted house where knife carrying ghosts who didn't invite you in will having you dying to get out.
If haunted hayrides haven't scared you in the past then you haven't been to Double M's Haunted Hayride in New York where you are taken for a 40 minute hayride to hell and back where you will see gruesome creatures in search of more victims. Also home to The Terror Maze where TERRO is lurking, waiting to strike again. Check out all they have offer on their website
Another awesome New York haunted house is Bayville Scream Park in Long Island 5 haunting experiences in one location. try your hand at all 5 if you think you have what it takes to survive. Besides the haunted houses Bayville has a lot of other fun entertainment that you can give a go IF your survive their Temple of Terror or Evil in the Woods where evil is looking for you. Click here for more.
Also in Long Island you will find the Bayville Haunted Fire House where you will travel into the world of the undead and get a glimpse into what the world looks life...or is it real, have you really died and now you too are trapped in the undead with no way out, and no one can hear you begging for you life, screaming to get out. For more look here
Trapped in Purgatory in Staten Island will show you what it really feels like to to trapped between the world of the living and hell. Sister haunt The Slaughterhouse shows you what its like to be one of the animals butchered to death on a table. You will not believe the horro that you will find inside these haunted houses. Visit them online
Not far from New York there are some other really freaky haunted houses check out some below.
The Bates Motel in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania has been voted on of America BEST haunted houses for years. With over 75 live actors, a 25 minute hayride with state of the art pyrotechnics you will enter a ghost town, graveyard, and a haunted gold mine where you will be begging for your life. This is one haunted house that you will not want to miss. For tickets and other information
Also in Pennsylvania is Terror Behind the Walls-Eastern State Penitentiary in Philedelphia, Pennsylvania. Nnside of a former prision where not all of the inmates checked out. Many still wander the halls at night, you can hear their chains as they look for their missing cellmates. Keep your eye open for the inmates that are still there. For more about Eastern State Penitentiary
In Yardley, Pennsylvania is Horrorfest at Shady Brook Farms. One location, FOUR attractions. The Barn of Horror, Hayride of Horror, DEADtime Stories and Alien 3-D encounter. You have never been this scare before. Try all four if you dare. Visit them online
In Lancaster, Pennsylvania you will stumble upon Jason's Woods Haunted Attraction in Lancaster, Pennsylvania featuring NINE hair raising haunted attractions including a Horrifying Hayride, Pirates Revenge 3-D, Mystery Maze and of course Lost in Jason's Woods for the complete list of all attractions
New York loves to scream so please be our guest and click on the profiles for Halloween attractions in New York listed above.
Find the best haunted houses in New York with our haunted house directory. Locate haunted houses in New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, Syracuse, Albany, Utica, Niagara Falls, and state wide throughout New York. Find haunted houses, haunted attractions, hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, ghost tours, haunted tours, real haunted houses, spooky and scary Halloween events in and around the state of New York. Find the scariest places in New York here.
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