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Free Halloween events in NYC for children

Get in on ghostly games, creepy crafts and spooky spectacles at these free Halloween events in NYC…if you dare

Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail

Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail Photograph: Filip Wolak


Boo! It’s time for trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and candy scarfing—and we've got the devilish deets on where to find the best New York events in October for families. The even better news? There are over 50 Halloween events in NYC, and many of them are completely free, including BAM’s annual bash, a haunted party on the High Line and (three!) costume competitions for dogs. Hit up a Day of the Dead celebration, trick-or-treating parties and a creepy storytelling session, all without dropping a dime.

RECOMMENDED: Halloween events for kids in NYC

Jefferson Market Garden Children's Harvest Festival

  • Free

Kids can scoop up mini pumpkins, then paint and adorn their finds with Halloween decoration during a day of autumn-themed activities. They can close out garden season with magic tricks and entertainment from the New York Public Library. Past offerings have included cookie decorating and storytelling. Rain date is October 12. Ages 3 to 8.

  1. Jefferson Market Garden Greenwich Ave, between Christopher and 10th Sts
  2. Until Sat Oct 11
More info

Super Sábado!: Dia de los Muertos

  • Critics choice
  • Free

El Museo del Barrio's free family programming every third Saturday of the month presents gallery tours and art workshops centered around a different theme.This fall, celebrate the season through movement workshops, ballet performances, storytelling and a printmaking workshop using seasonal vegetables (Sept 20); and discover the 3,000-year-old tradition of Dia de los Muertos with facepainting, crafts and a concert (Oct 18). Return at the end of the year for TBD activities surrounding the themes "Cara a Cara" (Nov 15) and "La Parranda!" (Dec 20). R.S.V.P. recommended. All ages.

  1. El Museo del Barrio 1230 Fifth Ave, between 104th and 105th Sts
  2. Sat Feb 21 - Sat May 16
More info

Halloween HOWL & Healthy Hound Fair

  • Free

Your family pop can join in the Halloween spirit too. Grab a doggie costume and enter him in the annual Halloween HOWL, where more than 200 dogs will strut their stuff in front of a panel of judges. The rain date is Sunday, October 26. All ages.

  1. Carl Schurz Park E 86th St, at East End Ave
  2. Until Sun Oct 19
More info

Brooklyn Bridge Park Harvest Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This family-focused fest on Pier 6 features pumpkin-picking, face painting, mask-making crafts, plus an old-timey trolley bus that'll escort families down Atlantic Avenue to Fourth Ave, making occasional stops for more family fun at the Hoyt Street Garden. Meanwhile, be sure to head back to Brooklyn Bridge Park for Zumba at 11am, a Halloween costume parade at 11:45am and music by AudraRox at noon. Ages 1 to 8.

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Main St, at Fulton Ferry Landing, 11201
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info

Halloween Harvest Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Kids are invited to craft costumes with park artists, participate in a crafting workshop with Free Style Arts Association, get their faces painted by pros, listen to live music and sample local harvest foods. Creative pet owners can enter their pups into the Annual Juried Canine Costume Contest. All ages.

  1. Socrates Sculpture Park 32-01 Vernon Blvd, at Broadway
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info

Tricks and Treats

  • Free

Go trick-or-treating one week early at Bryant Park, where Justin the Magician will spook the kiddos with mind-bending illusions, plus face painting, pumpkin painting and of course, a spin around the carousel.

  1. Le Carrousel Bryant Park, W 40th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10018
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info

Haunted High Line Halloween

  • Free

Spirits are lurking at this elevated park's Halloween festivities, where kids are encouraged to dress up in costume and learn about the haunting history along the Hudson. Trick-or-treaters can craft creations, journey through a spooky train tunnel made by students from the School of Visual Arts and join characters like the Mad Cookie Man and the West Side Cowboy in a trick-or-treat quest where they'll answer riddles in exchange for yummy goodies. All ages.

  1. The High Line Washington St at Gansevoort St, to Tenth Ave at 30th St
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail

  • Free

Of all the Halloween festivals in the city, Central Park’s is the only one that involves sending your homemade jack-o’-lanterns afloat into the Harlem Meer, an annual tradition that’s back after a Sandy-induced hiatus in 2012. Before the main event at dusk, kids are invited to show off their most creative costumes in a parade, dance to the Monster Mash and other Halloween songs by live musicians, ogle live pumpkin-carving demos and work on creepy crafts. See website for pumpkin decoration restrictions. All ages.

  1. Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center enter at E 110th St and Fifth Ave
  2. Sun Oct 26
More info

Hip Tot Family Day: Halloween Hullabaloo

  • Free

Celebrate the end of each month with Hip Tot–quality entertainment. Cool off in July with Underwater Adventures, featuring a reading by Melanie Hope Greenberg of Mermaids on Parade, seaside crafts with Barking Cat Studio and a sing-a-long with Suzi Shelton (July 27). In August, bring hungry kiddos to enjoy some Lakeside Water Fun and entertainment by Father Goose, Mr Marc the MC and DJ Beyonder, plus storytime (Aug10), then hit up a back-to-school themed event with theater by Jason and story time with Caron Levis reading Stuck with the Blooz (Aug 24). September brings with it a Toot Your Own Horn bash featuring Vinny Nobile of the Trummytones and a music-themed art project with Barking Cat Studios (Sept 28). Finally, gear up for a Halloween Hullabaloo complete with Theater Fun with Jason, creepy crafts and a reading of Have You Seen My Dragon by Steve Light (Oct 26). Events on June 15, July 13 and Aug 10 will be held at Lakeside at Prospect Park while events on July 27, Aug 24, Sept 28 and Oct 26 will be held at Greenwood Park. Ages 2 to 5.

  1. Greenwood Park 555 Seventh Ave, between 19th and 20th Sts, 11215
  2. Sun Oct 26
More info

Halloween Costume Parade and Party

  • Free

Little ghosts and goblins will line up at 12:45pm at CitiGroup Plaza (Greenwich St at N Moore St) and march down to the park, dressed head-to-toe in costume. Following the parade, eager tykes can wander their way through a hay maze, search for a penny in a haystack and munch on tasty treats, rain or shine. All ages.

  1. Washington Market Park Greenwich St, between Chambers and Duane Sts
  2. Sun Oct 26
More info

Halloween Harvest at Luna Park

  • Free

October weekends mean fall-themed fun at Luna Park, normally a summery destination. Kids can guess the weight of an enormous pumpkin for the chance to win $500, and then watch it get carved by master Marc Maniac on October 26. Costumed characters will roam the park, where kids can also embark on a scavenger hunt and practice their trick-or-treating skills with free sweets from Welch's Fruit Snacks and Sour Jacks (10/12, 10/19, 10/26). And of course, there'll be rides a-plenty. All ages.

  1. Luna Park 1000 Surf Ave, at W 10th St, 11224
  2. Sun Oct 26
More info

Halloween Eve with R.L. Stine

  • Free

The author who gave you chills as a kid with his delightfully frightful Goosebumps series visits McNally Jackson to give readers young and old a pre-Halloween treat. R.L. Stine and his editor, Kat Orzozowski, will engage the audince in conversation and take questions before autographing copies of his best-selling books. Fans can help celebrate the publication of Party Games, a new installment in his classic Fear Street horror series for young adults, out this October. Ages 7 and up.

  1. McNally Jackson Books 52 Prince St, between Lafayette and Mulberry Sts
  2. Until Thu Oct 30
More info

BAMboo!

  • Free

This annual outdoor bash is one of Brooklyn's hippest Halloween hangs. Costumed cuties can take in street performances by stiltwalkers, a rock band and table-turning DJs, hop through an obstacle course and compete for the most creative attire. This year's theme is still TBD, but last year's thrilling theme, Ancient Egypt, brought hieroglyphics art, sphinxes and sarcophagi to the block party. All ages.

  1. BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Trick or Treat at Torly Kid

  • Free

Stop by the Tribeca children's clothing retailer and add some sugary snacks to your goody bags. All ages.

  1. Torly Kid 51 Hudson St, between Duane and Jay Sts
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Asphalt Screams!

  • Free

Enjoy a healthier Halloween (at both the Upper East Side and Battery Park City locations!) by running around at Asphalt Green before trick-or-treating. The kids can kick their way through a spooktacular soccer shoot-out and enjoy some "scary" twists on heart-pumping games like Zombie Freeze Tag. Think of this as a preemptive strike against all the candy they'll be snacking on later! All ages.

  1. Asphalt Green 555 E 90th St, between York and East End Aves
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Village Halloween Parade

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Don your creepiest costumes and join in on this downtown parade, celebrating its 41st anniversary. On top of the endless entertainment provided by more than 100 puppets, 53 bands, and countless dancers and artists, Sixth Avenue will transform into a green oasis thanks to a new theme: The Garden of Earthly Delights. Puppeteers drooping with shoots, blossoms and moving boughs will form a giant Tree of Life. If you don't want to join in, grab a spot along the route and watch New Yorkers gallivant in their getups. Sixth Ave from Spring St to 16th St. Subway: A, C, D, E, F to W 4th St. All ages.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Greenwich Village Children's Halloween Parade

Think of this as the kid-friendly version of that other Village Halloween Parade. At this kiddie event organized by NYU, costumed tots and their parents march around Washington Square Park (led by circus performers and a brass band), then enjoy treats, games, face painting, rides and other fun activities afterwards. Meet at the Arch at Fifth Ave and Washington Square Park North. Ages 3-12.

  1. Washington Square Park W 4th St to Waverly Pl, between MacDougal St and University Pl
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Annual Bedford Stuyvesant Halloween Trick or Treat

Every Halloween, Bed-Stuy block associations ensure neighborhood kids have a safe and sweet trick-or-treating experience by outlining a route and distributing maps. This year, costumed tots should meet at the variety store at 1445 Fulton St (at the corner of Tompkins Ave) to pick up their maps, then follow the orange and black balloons throughout the designated five-block radius to collect their loot. This year, the maps will also include information for pet owners on where to pick up treats for their costumed furry friends.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

City Island Halloween Parade

  • Free

Little ones can trot down the island's main thoroughfare decked out in their Halloween best. The parade starts at Hawkins Park and travels down City Island Avenue between Fordham and Hawkins Streets. Following the parade, families often give out candy from their porches. All ages.

  1. Hawkins Park City Island Ave, at Hawkins St
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Jackson Heights Halloween Parade

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Join thousands of NYC trick-or-treaters at this Queens mega-parade, which runs along 37th Ave between 76th and 86th Sts in Jackson Heights. Line up at 4:30pm if you want to march, then collect a goodie bag at the end of the trek. All ages.

  1. Queens
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Park Slope Halloween Parade

  • Free

The Park Slope Civic Council hosts this ghoulish annual community affair. Marchers should meet on 14th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves starting at 5:30pm to line up. After the procession of giant puppets, bands and more, families can join in on the fun and promenade in their Halloween duds. The parade route leads to an after-party at the Old Stone House and Washington Park in J.J. Byrne Playground. All ages.

  1. Old Stone House Washington Park, 3rd St, between Fourth and Fifth Aves
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Halloween Re-Mixed

Kids can wear their costumes to this hands-on cultural workshop at Flushing Town Hall. They'll participate in craft projects to celebrate Da de los Muertos, Halloween and All Saints Day, in addition to hearing ghost stories and snacking on sweet treats. All ages.

  1. Flushing Town Hall 137-35 Northern Blvd, at Main St
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Brooklyn Plantology Great Pumpkin Patch

Celebrate fall at this Brooklyn gardening center. Daily from September 20th until October 31st, Brooklyn Plantology will house a pumpkin patch with mums, decorative cabbages, autumnal edible plants and, of course, pumpkins. On Saturdays, kids can get their faces painted (from 11am until 4pm) pet and feed a goat, complete a pumpkin-themed craft and mingle with the Mayor of Pumpkinville (from 9am until 6pm). All ages.

  1. Brooklyn Plantology 26 Brooklyn Terminal Market, 87th St and Foster Ave, 11236
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info

Oiche Shamhna

At this Irish Halloween celebration, kids can discover the spooky traditions indigenous to the Emerald Isle. With guidance from a real Irish crone (witch), little ones will participate in witches brew-cooking classes and other spooky experiments, perfect their cackle in laugh workshops, try their hand at apple catching and turnip carving, and settle in for storytelling. Ages 2 to 10.

  1. Irish Arts Center 553 W 51st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Until Sat Nov 1
More info


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