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Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

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


Boo! It’s time for trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and candy scarfing—and this October, find out where to do it all for free! We’ve got the devilish deets on the best free Halloween events in NYC, including BAM’s annual bash, a haunted party on the High Line and (three!) costume competitions for dogs, plus where to celebrate Day of the Dead, places to go trick-or-treating and our own Fall Kids Fest. Scroll through our slide show to learn about these free Halloween events in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: All Halloween events in NYC for Kids

  • Photograph: Anna Simonak

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Asphalt Screams
    Have a healthier Halloween with the folks at Asphalt Green (at both the Upper East Side and Battery Park City locations!) with candy-free alternatives, like zombie freeze tag, mummy basketball, Spooktacular Soccer Shoot-Outs and other scary twists on heart-pumping activities. Thu Oct 31 at Asphalt Green.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    BAMboo!
    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, Ancient Egypt, brings hieroglyphics art, sphinxes and sarcophagi to the block party. Thu Oct 31 near the BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Brooklyn Bridge Park Harvest Festival
    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. Sat Oct 19 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Central Park Pumpkin Fest
    Head to the park for this annual fall celebration. Little ones will be entertained by the likes of Big Apple Circus, the Kidrockers and Beetleguy, as they decorate a free pumpkin. Plus, live Quidditch matches and a zombie-themed haunted house make this year's fete more thrilling than ever. Fearless kids can get a sneak peak of the NY"Z" Scream Haunted House the evening before. Sat Oct 26 at the Naumberg Bandshell, Central Park.

     

  • Photograph: Courtesy The Scholastic Store

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Clifford's Halloween Parade
    The most famous of Big Red Dogs leads this ghoulish gathering, where kids (dressed in festive attire, of course) can craft goody bags to take trick-or-treating, follow Clifford in a parade and compete for the best costume. Sat Oct 26 at the Scholastic Store.

  • Photograph: Ethan Ries

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    DayLife and LES Pickle Day
    Lower East Side outfits look back on the past with traditional pushcarts (and their modern offspring, food trucks) pedaling briny delights of all shapes and sizes, from the immigration-era Guss’ Pickles to the fanciful, futuristic Asia Dog. The Astro-turfed occasion also celebrates the newer names in the neighb, with over thirty fashion and food vendors and all-day DJ entertainment at the Tammany Hall stage, plus a children's costume contest, face painting, badminton and croquet. Sun Oct 26 on Orchard St between Houston and Delancey Sts.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Day of the Dead Celebration
    Honor your ancestors at this celebration of Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. The festivities include music and a dance performance by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa of the Mexica and lots of hands-on workshops for the kids. Sat Nov 2 at the National Museum of the American Indian.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Fall Kids Fest
    Once again, we're partnering with our friends at Madison Square Park to present an annual celebration of all things autumn. Families are invited to work on crafts with the New Victory Theater, Taro's Origami, Apple Seeds and the Little Orchestra Society, catch live performances by two of our favorite birthday party entertainers (The Little Rockers and the Amazing Max), participate in a costume walk led by a Big Apple Circus clown, snack on goodies from the Treats Truck and even choose a take-home pumpkin from our patch; they can also scope out the park's fall installation, "Ideas of Stone." We'll see you there! Sat Oct 19 in Madison Square Park.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Fort Greene Halloween Festival
    At this annual fete, kids can enjoy hayrides, games, sack races, face painting, stilt-walkers, entertainers and free pumpkins to decorate, as well as a spooky cemetery and a kiddie costume parade. There's even a costume contest for dogs and their owners called The Great PUPkin (noon, registration at 11am). Weather permitting; rain date will be October 27. Sat Oct 26 in Fort Greene Park.

  • Photograph: courtesy of Scholastic Store

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Goosebumps Frighttacular
    The spookiest of children's authors (that's Goosebumps scribe R.L. Stine) makes a pit stop at the Scholastic Store for an afternoon of frightening tales and monster blood concoctions. Sat Oct 19 at the Scholastic Store.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Halloween Costume Workshop
    Pint-sized procrastinators can get a little help from the staff of the Soho bookstore at this workshop, which not only assists in designing cool costumes but choosing what to be! Sat Oct 19 at McNally Jackson Books.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Halloween Harvest at Luna Park
    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 (Oct 12, 19 and 26). And of course, there'll be rides a-plenty (for a fee, though!). Saturdays and Sundays in October at Luna Park.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
    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 or work on creepy crafts. Sun Oct 27 at the Harlem Meer, Central Park.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Halloween Party at Le Carrousel
    Get spooked by an illusionist's tricks and scary stories courtesy of Flaubert Frog before getting your face painted, decorating pumpkins and trick-or-treating. Sat Oct 26 in Bryant Park.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Halloween Harvest Festival
    Kids are invited to craft costumes with park artists, participate in art-making workshops, get their faces painted by pros, listen to live music and sample local harvest foods from area eateries like Breadbox Café, Shore Fruit and The Queens Kickshaw. Creative pet owners can enter their pups into the annual Canine Costume Contest (2pm) before spending the rest of the afternoon enjoying the gorgeous installation, “FOLLY: tree wood,” whose stay in Queens was recently extended through March 2014. Sat Oct 19 in Socrates Sculpture Park.

  • Photograph: Clay Williams

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Harvest Fest
    While usually the site of high-heeled fashionistas, the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District beckon to the sneakered set with activities like applesauce-making, face painting, photo booths, live music, pumpkin decorating, pizza making, nail art and hair styling. Plus, local vendor fare will be available for purchase—which, in this 'hood, means gourmet eats from the likes of The Standard Hotel and Bakehouse. Sat Oct 26 at Gansevoort Plaza.

  • Photograph: Rowa Lee

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Haunted High Line Halloween
    In the New York of yesteryear, there were so many collisions between street-level trains and pedestrians on Tenth Avenue that the thoroughfare earned the moniker "Death Avenue;" men on horseback, known as West Side Cowboys, were hired to ride in front of trains to warn of approaching rail traffic. The High Line evokes this harrowing era in its Halloween celebration, in which kids can trick or treat with the spirits of the neighborhood, check out the High Line Ghost Train (made from recycled materials by local schoolchildren), boogie to monster music, get their faces painted, scurry through a hay bale maze, pick and decorate pumpkins and dress up for a photo booth. Sat Oct 26 at the High Line.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Jefferson Market Garden Children's Harvest Festival
    After scooping up free mini pumpkins, little ones head to a decorating table to adorn their finds with stickers and crafting supplies. Sat Oct 19 in Jefferson Market Garden.

     

     

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Park Slope Halloween Parade
    The Park Slope Civic Council hosts this community affair, which this year celebrates literary characters under the theme "To Boo or Not to Boo". 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 Washington Park. Thu Oct 31 at J.J. Byrne Playground.

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Super Sabado: Dia de los Muertos
    El Museo del Barrio's free family programming every third Saturday of the month is back for the school year, bringing with it gallery tours and art workshops centered around a different theme each month. October's takes place in honor of the 3,000-year-old Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead. Celebrate the far-from-morbid holiday with the Calaveras Callejeras procession through Central Park, skull face painting, pan de muerto and champurrado tastings and more. Sat Oct 19 at El Museo del Barrio.

  • Photograph: Francine Daveta

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade
    The Village Halloween Parade is fun and all, but does it have a plethora of puppies in adorable outfits? For that, you’ll have to head to the East Village for this annual dog parade. The getups are remarkably elaborate and conceptual—thing dogs dressed as Lady Gaga, a peacock and an A train (complete with a stuffed rat). Enterprising families stand to win prizes if their pooch is selected Best in Show, so start planning Fido’s outfit now—your brood can even join him in the procession! Sat Oct 26 in Tompkins Square Park.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nels

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Trick or Treat at Torly Kid
    Stop by the Tribeca children's clothing retailer and add some sugary snacks to your goody bags. Thu Oct 31 at Torly Kid.

  • Photograph: Leah Reddy

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Trick or Treat at Trinity Wall Street
    Spend a spooky Halloween night inside Trinity Church's graveyard while enjoying all the sugary seasonal traditions. Thu Oct 31 at Trinity Wall Street.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Village Halloween Parade
    Hurricane Sandy put the kibosh on this annual procession last year, so we're looking forward to it making a triumphant return for its 40th anniversary (Note: A Kickstarter campaign is currently in the works to make sure the parade is back.) This year's theme is Revival, and the parade will honor New Yorkers who stepped up to help the community after Sandy. They'll be joined by the awe-inspiring puppets created by Superior Concept Monsters, the Madagascar Institute, the Puppeteers’ Cooperative and Basil Twist’s studio, among others, as well as the Hungry March Band, the On the Lam Band and 35 more musical troupes.  Make sure your tots are comfortable with crowds before setting out: Typical attendance tops 2 million revelers. Thu Oct 31 on Sixth Ave from Spring St to 15th St.

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    Wonderween
    Costumed kids snap spooky shots in the Freaky Photo Station, make ghoulish crafts, hear scary stories, get their faces painted and stuff their pockets with sweets, all while exploring the museum's exhibits. Sat Oct 26 at Sony Wonder Technology Lab.

     

     

  • Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

    World Financial Center Screamin' Green Halloween
    For the second year, this annual Halloween extravaganza will be held outside outside: The Plaza will be transformed into a Halloween Village, complete with huge puppet characters and game booths. Eco-minded tykes can bring along their old costumes for a swap and snack on organic and fair trade goodies. Costumed kids can also take part in a marching band–led Ghosts and Goblins parade through Battery Park City (3pm). Sun Oct 27 at Brookfield Place Plaza.

Photograph: Anna Simonak

Free Halloween events in NYC for children 2013

Asphalt Screams
Have a healthier Halloween with the folks at Asphalt Green (at both the Upper East Side and Battery Park City locations!) with candy-free alternatives, like zombie freeze tag, mummy basketball, Spooktacular Soccer Shoot-Outs and other scary twists on heart-pumping activities. Thu Oct 31 at Asphalt Green.


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