For aficionados of horror films and fiction or for those who simply enjoy Halloween, New York City offers a number of impressive celebrations each year. While many of the best, such as the Horror Film Festival, take place around Halloween, others, such as the Stoker Weekend, have dates earlier in the year.
NYC Horror Film Festival
The New York City Horror Film Festival (nychorrorfest.com) first took place in 2001, established by MooDude Films (moodudefilms.com) CEO Michael J. Hein to celebrate the horror and science fiction film genres. Staged in October each year, the festival typically screens around 50 to 60 movies during its week-long run. The films judged best by a panel of movie industry professionals receive awards in a number of categories, including best feature film, best actor and best actress.
Procession of the Ghouls
The Procession of the Ghouls takes place each year at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (stjohndivine.org). This event typically begins with the screening of a classic silent horror film in the cathedral, accompanied by the eerie music of the great organ. The procession of the ghouls follows, staged by the Mettawee River Theatre Company (mettawee.org). This has legions of demons, ghosts and ghouls running amok through the cathedral, doing their best to scare those in attendance.
The Stoker Weekend (stokerweekend2011.com) owes its name to the master horror writer Bram Stoker, author of "Dracula." The convention takes place on Long Island in June each year, with a number of events during the weekend to celebrate horror fiction. These include horror-writing workshops, the presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards, and a number of expert panels, which feature discussions about horror writing in all its forms.
Village Halloween Parade
New York's Village Halloween Parade (Halloween-nyc.com) began in 1973 as a house-to-house Halloween walk for the children and friends of a Greenwich Village puppeteer. From this simple start, the parade has grown into one of the largest participatory events held annually in New York. Anyone turning up in Halloween costume can take part in the parade, along with the bands, dancers, giant puppets and other performers. The parade typically makes its way up Sixth Avenue, from Spring Street to 16th Street on October 31 each year.
A number of parks in the city stage festivals to celebrate Halloween. This includes Fort Totten Park (nycgovparks.org) in Queens, which has a Halloween event featuring a pumpkin patch, hay rides and other fun. Central Park (centralparknyc.org) also gets in on the Halloween horror act, typically staging a number of events during October. This includes scary storytelling, book readings, Halloween costume parades and pumpkin carving.
Merchant's House Museum (merchantshouse.com) originally belonged to the wealthy Tredwell family, and the ghosts of the family still reputedly haunt the building. On a few dates in October each year, the museum arranges evening candlelight tours, providing the chance to find out if the building lives up to its reputation. A number of horror attractions also open their doors during October, with Nightmare Superstitions (hauntedhousenyc.com) one of the best.
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