Boo! It’s time to enjoy these free Halloween events! While corn mazes, pumpkin picking, and candy scarfing may come with a price tag, these devilishly fun fetes will prepare even your tiniest ghouls and goblins for the upcoming holiday.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween for kids
For more fun, free activities, check out our full list of free activities for kids in NYC (and check back here as we add more events as Halloween draws near!)
The best free Halloween events
Get your sweet tooth ready for an evening of trick-or-treating throughout Midtown hosted by East Midtown Partnership! Meet at Tramway Plaza (59th & 2nd Ave) to grab your free trick-or-treat map, then take your pick of 50+ participating businesses to grab delicious Halloween treats. All ages.
Spirits are lurking at this elevated park's Halloween festivities, where kids are encouraged to dress up in costume and learn about the history of hauntings along the Hudson. Trick-or-treaters can walk the High Line to get their faces painted, learn about characters like the Mad Cookie Man and the West Side Cowboy and see live performances. On the High Line between 14th and 16th Sts. All ages.
The annual Park Slope Civic Council Halloween Parade has been going strong since 1986, and it’s perfect for families. Each year has a theme, and this year’s is “Daring Duos, Thrilling Trios and Superb Heroes!” The kickoff is at 6:30pm sharp at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street. The parade ends at the Old Stone House at Washington Park, with a little post-parade dancing at J.J. Byrne Playground. Feel free to gather with your family around 4pm, as many families and merchants begin greeting trick or treaters on Seventh and Fifth Avenues (yippee!). You never know what kind of spooks you’ll see at this festive celebration, and the costumes get increasingly inventive with each passing year-—so bring your A-game. All ages.
We love a good circus theme—and good thing, because this year’s Halloween Harvest fest is bringing the spooky to you with jugglers, clowning, acrobatics and clowning! There will be costume-making with Socrates artists, plus a cool large-scale sculpture workshop hosted by Free Stule Arts Assocition and Face Painting by Agostino Arts. Pooches are welcome too—there’s even a puppy costume contest! All ages.
For those who love nothing more than a cute pooch decked out in a Halloween costume, there’s nothing like the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. It’s one of the biggest Halloween costume contests for dogs in the world! See spooktacular spectacles like a pack of corgis dressed as Minions, a doggie Marty McFly, a Big Bad “wolf” and a pup as Donald Trump. Each year the costumes grow exponentially more creative. You can spot your favorite pop-culture icons in canine form, as well as loads of owners dressed to match their pet. In case you’re interested in adopting a new family member, Petfinder is on-site with pet adoption opportunities. All ages.
This year’s Asphalt Screams occurs on the Upper East Side and in Battery Park City, and everyone is encouraged to dress for the fest! There are games including zombie tag, a spooky soccer challenge, the target of terror and more—plus trick-or-treating. The first 500 kids at each event get a goody bag! All ages.
Get over to Sixth Avenue to see thousands of costumes, dancers and floats, including giant skeletons that dance above your head and hordes of zombies jamming out to “Thriller.” Each year the parade has a different theme (this year’s is still under wraps) that adds extra inventiveness and fun. See creative costumes you’d never glimpse anywhere else, since some people spend all year making theirs! Such a spectacle doesn’t come without crowds, though; partygoers are advised to get there early and stake out a spot. If you can’t make it in person (or don’t feel like braving the masses), never fear: The parade is broadcast live for all to see on NY1 from 7:30 to 9:30pm. Sixth Ave from Spring to 16th Sts. All ages.
This annual celebration offers plenty of spooky fun for tots and tykes, including a Puss in Boots performance from the Puppetmobile, an arts & crafts table from The Little Orchestra Society and fun musical performances. Festival staples like the pumpkin patch and the Haunted Marsh will also be available, too. Ages 1 to 8.
Prepare for ghoulish happenings all over Prospect Park! Gather the goblins for a truly hair-raising Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair (noon to 3pm) at Lookout Hill and Nethermead. At the Audubon Center, there’s Creepy Crawly Halloween, where kids can learn about all sorts of shiver-inducing creatures, find bitty bones during an owl pellet dissection (1 to 2pm), or take a Creepy Crawly walk (3 to 4pm) in search for park-dwelling critters. Over at Children’s Corner, visit Lefferts Historic House for scary storytelling and crafts (2 to 4pm; suggested donation $3), then spin to spooky music on the Haunted Carousel (noon–5pm; $2 per ride or five tickets for $9). Various locations in Prospect Park. All ages.