October events calendar for kids in NYC

See the month's best events on our October events calendar for kids, complete with harvest and Halloween-themed picks
Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Photograph: Filip Wolak Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
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Wow! October is here, and with it our October events calendar for kids in 2018! Fall is one of our favorite times of year for a variety of reasons—the New York fall foliage, the local cider mills, and especially Halloween for kids. Who doesn't love getting dressed up, attending spooky events and shoveling mountains of candy? See below for our absolute favorite kids' events of the season, including Halloween events for kids, harvest festivals, apple-picking opportunities, trick-or-treating activities and other fantastic stuff.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for kids

P.S. Be sure to stock up on candy for Halloween at our favorite candy stores and get your fill of scary movies for kids with the help of our guide.

 

October kids' events

Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

A History of Magic

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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Take a trip to Hogwarts—without leaving NYC! Potterheads can experience "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a British Library exhibit that is coming to the New York Historical Society. Take a peek at what Hogwarts students study, see drafts from mastermind J.K. Rowling and of course, have a magical, whimsical time. All ages. 

Things to do

Halloween Celebration at AMNH

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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As if the usual dinosaur skeletons and other bones at this iconic museum weren't haunting enough, the halls of the American Museum of Natural History sport chilling decor for its annual Halloween party. Kids dressed in ghoulish garb can trick-or-treat, make arts and crafts and mingle with cartoon characters and stilt walkers. Special live shows include Gazillion Bubble Show appearance, the Big Apple Circus and more. Reservations recommended. All ages.

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carlschurzpark.jpg
Photograph: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks
Things to do

Carl Schurz Park Conservancy Harvest Festival

icon-location-pin Upper East Side
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Tots can pick a pumpkin to decorate from the patch, ride a horse-drawn carriage along the river, get their faces painted, strike a pose with the live-action scare crow and bust a move during Mr. Corbitt's Halloween Dance Party in this scenic Upper East Side park. Enter on East End Ave. between 87th and 88th Street. All ages.

Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

Family Programs for "Harry Potter: A History of Magic"

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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Ready your wands, young wizards: All-things magical and mystical are heading to the New-York Historical Society for the London transplant, "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a can't-miss exhibit for history buffs and bibliophiles. Fans will be able to celebrate one of the most beloved characters in children's literature and explore a wide variety of artifacts, including work from J.K. Rowling's original manuscript, oracle bones dating back to the 1600s and even costumes from the Broadway play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But a celebration of Harry and all that he means to us wouldn't be complete without a variety of family events. Here's a full lineup of what parents and kiddos can attend when the exhibit opens on Oct 5.  Hogwarts House Badges, Saturdays and Sundays from 1–4pm, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Family Book Club, various dates from 4–6pm, $15, $12 members, ages 14 and under.  Writing Historical Fantasy with Writetopia Lab, Oct 21 2–6pm (ages 8–10) and Nov 3 2–6pm (ages 11-13), $125/student.  History of Magic Family Days, Nov 18 and Dec 9, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Trivia for Families, Oct 14 at 2:30 pm, $25, $22 members, all ages.  Historical Hallowe'en, Oct 28 at 5pm, $20, ages 18 and under. 

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Photograph: Filip Wolak Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Things to do

Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla

icon-location-pin Central Park
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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. Before the main event at 6pm, kids are invited to show off their most creative costumes in a parade, dance to "Monster Mash" and other Halloween songs by live musicians, ogle live pumpkin-carving demos, listen to scary stories and work on creepy crafts. Learn more about the ghoulishly good events' lineup here. All ages.

Things to do

Brooklyn Bridge Park Harvest Festival

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Heights
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This annual celebration offers plenty of spooky fun for tots and tykes, including an arts and crafts table, face painting, fun tunes and other seasonal goodies. Festival staples like the pumpkin patch and the Haunted Marsh will also be available, too. Ages 1–8.

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Fri Sept 30
Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

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There's nothing else quite like the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze for experiencing the magic and wonder of Halloween with your family. The attraction is set along the beautiful 18th century riverside landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor, and you can stroll along the Pumpkin Promenade to take in over 7,000 Jack O' Lanterns (all of which are hand-carved)! This delightfully eerie walk is also set to cool sound effects, synchronized light displays and an original soundtrack. Expect to see spiders and snakes, animals of all kinds on this spooky stroll. Be sure to get your tickets early—they sell out fast and required to gain access to the event! Also note that the tickets you purchase are for specific times. All ages.

Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

Family Programs for "Harry Potter: A History of Magic"

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
icon-calendar

Ready your wands, young wizards: All-things magical and mystical are heading to the New-York Historical Society for the London transplant, "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a can't-miss exhibit for history buffs and bibliophiles. Fans will be able to celebrate one of the most beloved characters in children's literature and explore a wide variety of artifacts, including work from J.K. Rowling's original manuscript, oracle bones dating back to the 1600s and even costumes from the Broadway play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But a celebration of Harry and all that he means to us wouldn't be complete without a variety of family events. Here's a full lineup of what parents and kiddos can attend when the exhibit opens on Oct 5.  Hogwarts House Badges, Saturdays and Sundays from 1–4pm, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Family Book Club, various dates from 4–6pm, $15, $12 members, ages 14 and under.  Writing Historical Fantasy with Writetopia Lab, Oct 21 2–6pm (ages 8–10) and Nov 3 2–6pm (ages 11-13), $125/student.  History of Magic Family Days, Nov 18 and Dec 9, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Trivia for Families, Oct 14 at 2:30 pm, $25, $22 members, all ages.  Historical Hallowe'en, Oct 28 at 5pm, $20, ages 18 and under. 

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Photograph: Courtesy New York Botanical Garden
Things to do

Dig! Plant! Grow!

icon-location-pin The Bronx
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NYC is a great place to start a garden—you just need to know where to look. At NYBG's Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, budding botanists can try their hand at a variety of activities and pick up important skills needed when navigating through the dirt. The "Dig! Plant! Grow!" program explores a variety of topics from Tuesdays through Sundays, including "Scent-sational Herbs" (June 19–July 15), "Pickle Me" (July 17–Aug 10), "Pollinator Pals" (Aug 14–Sept 9) and "Corn, Beans, Squash" (Sept 13–Oct 4). Make sure you head online to snag tickets for the session your kiddo wants to join. All ages. 

Things to do

The Ghosts of Greenwich Village Family Scavenger Hunt

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village
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Kids and grownups join forces as they track down the storied neighborhood's spooky secrets. During the journey families will discover such Village haunts as hidden cemeteries, bat-adorned buildings, Harry Potter’s foe and the one-time homes of Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe. Advanced ticket purchase required. Ages 7 and up.

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