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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: All Halloween events in NYC for kids

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. 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 Sep 20 - Sat Dec 20
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Sat Oct 25
More info

Storytelling at the Provincetown Playhouse 2014

  • Free

Storytellers Laura Simms and Regina Ress kick off the fall storytelling series, bringing kids on a whimsical journey that combines true tales with the ancient myths and fairytales of Romania in "Magic in the World" (Sept 21). Gerald Fierst follows, spinning spooky stories from around the world in "The Aesthetics of Horror!" just before Halloween (Oct 26), and Elaine Muray caps off the season, presenting "A Moveable Feast of Story" in her unique storytelling style using mime, sounds, props and physical theater techniques (Nov 9). Ages 9 and up.

  1. The Provincetown Playhouse 133 MacDougal St, between 3rd and 4th Sts
  2. Sun Sep 21 - Sun Nov 9
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 Sep 28 - 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. Sat Oct 4 - 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Fri Oct 31
More info


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