Stop it, you’re scaring me

Horrifying Halloween events worth embracing


Just a few short months ago, Jason Blanche’s funny/tragic/true solo comedy show at the Magnet Theater minded laughs from the deep well of terror dug from turning 40 with only his fabulous hair and natural gift for denial to help him soldier on. This time up, Blanche puts his gallows humor to good use — by offering up a rotted smorgasbord of Halloween-themed comedy. Drag, spooky ghosts, a fashionable zombie, tricks, treats and Jason’s fabulous hair will all help scare up some laughs. Special guests Alexandra Cremer and Tim Lueke will be on hand to coax Blanche out of his depression should a heckler remind him of how very, very old he is. Mon., Oct. 24, 8:30pm, at The Magnet Theater (254 W. 29th St., btw. 7th and 8th Aves.). $5 admission also gets you access to “How Did I Get Here?” — Kelly Buttermore’s solo show. For info, visit magnettheater.com.


As haunted houses go, you can’t make this stuff up. Currently celebrating its 75th year of providing a frozen-in-time glimpse of NYC domestic life as lived from 1835-1865, the Merchant’s House Museum long ago staked its claim as “Manhattan’s most haunted house.” Dozens of unexplained events and spectral sightings have taken place over the years (the most recent just a few weeks ago, on two successive nights during public events). The brave and curious will get a great history lesson — and maybe even a playful prod from a friendly spirit — at any one of the upcoming paranormal-themed events.

Through November 28, “In the Spirit — Modern Photographers Channel the 19th-Century” is an exhibit of historic and modern images, including 19th century spirit photographs (considered to be proof of communication with the spirits of departed loved ones). You’ll also see current works by Sally Mann, John Dugdale, Hal Hirshorn and RA Friedman — modern “medium photographers” who use early photographic techniques. The exhibit is free, with regular admission to the museum.

Hear true tales of unexplained encounters (some of them told by the people who experienced them) and learn about the servants and Tredwell family members said to have stuck around after their deaths — during the “Candlelight Ghost Tours.” They happen Fri.-Sat., Oct. 21/22; and Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 27-29. The 50-minute tours begin every half hour. The 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30pm tours are $25. The 8, 8:30 and 9pm tours are $30. The 9:30pm tour, for $40, includes a trip to the fourth floor servant’s quarters.

On Sun., Oct. 30, 3-5pm, “From Parlor to Grave: 1865 Funeral Reenactment” finds the Merchant’s House parlors draped in black crape, for this recreation of the 1865 funeral of Seabury Tredwell. After the service, mourners will follow the coffin to nearby New York City Marble Cemetery for a tour ($30; $10 for graveside service and cemetery tour only).

On Mon., Oct. 31 (at 7 and 8:30pm), “Spine Tingling and True: Ghost Stories of the Merchant’s House Museum” is presided over by Merchant’s House ghost-storytellers Anthony Bellov and Dayle Vander Sande — who’ll read 19th-century horror classics interspersed with true tales of the supernatural, as experienced by Merchant’s House visitors and staff (cost: $25). Bellov and Vander Sande return at 7pm on Fri., Nov. 18 as two of the four-member Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society. The latest program from this gifted vocal ensemble (“Chant Macabre: Songs of Death & Enchantment”) offers an atmospheric concert featuring 19th-century songs and classical arias ($25).

All events take place at the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Museum Hours: Thurs.-Mon., 12-5pm. Admission: $10 ($5 for students/seniors). For info, call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.


A good amount of time before people paraded through the streets dressed up as Anthony Weiner or Snookie, real and lasting terror came from the simple act of storytelling. That ritual is what gave the long-running “Pumpkin Pie Show” its name (specifically referring to the Southern tradition of good old boys sitting in a field spinning tall, bloody tales). Getting your spine tingled and your sense of security shattered by PPS creator Clay McLeod Chapman and Hanna Cheek has become a LES October tradition. Both are charismatic and skilled performers who project a sense of calm and likeability that, by monologue’s end, has been thoroughly perverted in the service of scaring the living hell out of you. Expect to be traumatized well into the Christmas season. This year’s fall PPS (“Lovey Dovey”) tells macabre tales of romance gone rancid. “Michelle” features a man who recounts leading the search party for his next-door neighbor’s missing teenage daughter. In “Ascending the Stairway,” seventh graders are taken through a step-by-step process of making out to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Also (based on a true story), “Condo Lothario” concerns an outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases spreading throughout a retirement community. Helping the overdose of medicine go down: music and lyrics from Obie Award winner Kyle Jarrow, as performed by the husband and wife duo Sky-Pony.

Through Oct. 29. Thurs.-Sat., 8pm. At UNDER St. Marks, (94 St. Marks Place, btw. 1st Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($18, $15 for students/seniors), call 212-868-4444. For info, visit horsetrade.info and pumpkinpieshow.com.