WNYC's Halloween Preview: Timothy Haskell Likes to Scare People

This "professional haunter" knows even the most cynical New Yorker has a weak spot

Monday, October 11, 2010

At Timothy Haskell's haunted house, they have a theory: Real men scream. Haskell, who has been haunting New York audiences for seven years with his "Nightmare House" creations, says "the guys who are completely comfortable with who they are, they let themselves scream. They paid their money, and they want to have a good time."

When he was 8 years old, Haskell thought he was one of the cool kids when he went out with his older sister to the local haunted house. "I chickened out in the very first room," Haskell admits. "I just couldn't do it. I wanted to do it so bad! And I vowed from that day forward that I was never going to let a haunted house defeat me again."

In fact, Haskell went on to become what he calls a "professional haunter," and along the way, he has figured out what really scares people.

Haskell says the trick is to separate people from the group without tipping them off. "If I can figure out clever ways that all of a sudden, they turn around, and they figure out they're by themselves, I feel like that is the most successful thing we can do in terms of scaring any cynical person," he says.

Haskell's "Nightmare House" is all about superstitions this year and runs in SoHo through November 7th.

Here's a short list of New York City Halloween events:

Blood Manor Haunted House, 542 West 27th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, Manhattan

Nightmare: Superstitions, 623 Broadway at Houston Street at Mercer Street, Manhattan

New York City Halloween Haunted House, 115 West 27th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues, Manhattan

After Dark at Madame Tussauds 
Haunted House, 234 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, Manhattan

Trapped In Purgatory Haunted House in Staten Island, 5050 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island

Steampunk Haunted House, 466 Grand Street, Manhattan

Recreation of an 1865 funeral at Merchant's House Museum, 29 East Fourth Street, Manhattan, on Sunday, October 24 at 3 PM

New York's Village Halloween Parade, from 6th Avenue and Spring Street to 6th Avenue to 21st Street, Manhattan on Sunday, October 31st 7 p.m. on

Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of Ghouls, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, Manhattan on Friday, October 29 at 7 PM and 10 PM

Annual Haunted Forest and House at Inwood Hill Park, Inwood Hill Park, 218th Street and Indian Road, Manhattan on Sunday, October 31 at 6 PM


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Comments [5]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from

HALLOWEEN, what could be a better time to hear music which extols the scary. Moussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King,"
Sibelius' "Valse Trist," Verdi's Requiem's "Dies Irae." and Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" are some of the more familiar chestnuts, but there are many more musical examples.
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Wagnerian heldentenor & director, the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. Website:

Oct. 31 2010 11:04 AM
WNYC Culture

Em, we appreciate your feedback. If you have any suggestions for events around town please post them here. Thank you!

Oct. 18 2010 01:05 PM

I was one of the people unfortunate enough to "separated from the group" last night at Nightmare: Superstition and, I'm sorry but grabbing a young girl (me) and throwing her into a pitch black room with a guy who wraps a chain/rope around her and tosses her into the opposite wall and breathes on her for three minutes and goes back forth between asking for a kiss and then screaming in her face is not "successful." It's mean and cruel. I should have demanded a refund. I didn't pay $35 to be isolated from my group and fondled in a dark room.

Oct. 15 2010 07:15 PM

What a lame page. What about listing all the lovely events in the parks that are free? And what about trick or treat info/advice for families? Something about getting a costume, throwing a party? Good Halloween Bars. Walking Tours? What about interviewing ordinary New Yorkers about how they celebrate Halloween, not some guy trying to sell you tickets.

This is just an extended ad for yet another ghost train without wheels (but at least with a train you get to sit down.) And what's up with Nightmare knocking psychiatric illness and psychiatric hospitals (or should I say "insane asylums"?) It's hard enough for people working in that field without dim-wits like this reinforcing their own idiotic fantasies. Not scary, just really sad.

Oct. 14 2010 05:22 PM
Anthony Mark from New York City

I love Nightmare
Its the best Haunted House in all of New York City
That whole team works really hard on the whole experience
This house is very interactive too

Oct. 12 2010 12:34 PM

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