A good haunted house is hard to find. And a cheap one in NYC is an even rarer Halloween find.
Leading up to the 31st of October, The Deep End in Ridgewood offers a solution: turning their abundant post-industrial converted space on Wyckoff Avenue into a haunted mental asylum that will cost you $10 to enter.
The experience is pure American Horror Story, complete with Ryan Murphy’s panache for camping up plots from the last century. There’s dusty medical instruments, nurses with a shaky understanding of the Hippocratic oath,clowns, shady pentagrams and so much creepy chanting. For a small, lo-fi experience packed in the backrooms of a bar, the crew at The Deep End manage to pack the storytelling punch of at least two or three slasher classics in the amount of time it would take to wait for a cab.
Conceptually, the Ridgewood Asylum is a multi-faceted experience : an escape room, a bit of immersive theater and lots of blood on the walls. There’s even some audiovisual content packed judiciously in, kept just slight enough to avoid the sensation of watching a bad college film. It is also a remarkably different experience than other somewhat-local haunted houses—like City Tech’s set-design heavy “Gravesend Inn” in Downtown Brooklyn.
The Ridgewood Asylum is comparatively malleable, the work of a diligent and costumed crew playing it by ear and can be trusted to do something that builds upon last year’s creepy hallways and enthusiastically riffs on itself. Also, unlike more expensive haunted houses, the Ridgewood Asylum feels playful, unserious and part of the bar’s tradition of good-hearted engagement, something that carries over to the bar’s weekly Drag Brunch and other seasonal events.
Some considerations should apply. There are small cluttered hallways and things may get stuck to your clothing, so don’t go in your Sunday’s best. The immersion is real, requiring at least some small talk, and is probably best enjoyed in the company of adults rather than children, as the house leads directly into the attached bar where laughs and scares are best complimented by a frothy cocktail and Tim Burton soundtracks mixed with 2006 indie rock. .
The Ridgewood Asylum runs from Tuesday-Saturday, 8PM-1AM and Sundays from 6PM-11PM until the end of the month. Reserve tickets here.
Cover photo courtesy of Nathan Wright