October events calendar for kids in NYC

Our October events calendar for kids will let you in on all of the spooky (and non-spooky) events taking place in NYC
Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Photograph: Filip Wolak Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
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'Tis the season to be spooky, and there's no better way to celebrate all-things creepy and kooky than with our October events calendar for kids in 2018! There are plenty of Halloween happenings across the city, from Boo at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo to weekend harvest festivals at Luna Park. The list goes on and on. 

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for kids

There are also plenty of other non-Halloween related events, such as the opening of the New-York Historical Society's exhibit "Harry Potter: A History of Magic" and Spyscape's new Spy School. Your calendars are bound to be packed with great things to do with kids in NYC. 

If you're still in need of other cool family adventures, try pumpkin picking near NYC, have a marathon with these  scary movies for kids and enjoy a helping of the best apple cider donuts in NYC.  

October kids' events

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Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

A History of Magic

icon-location-pin New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, 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. 

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Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

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

icon-location-pin New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, 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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Butterfly Conservatory at AMNH
Museums

The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter

icon-location-pin American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
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It's a balmy 80 degrees in the museum's 1,200-square-foot vivarium, which houses up to 500 butterflies living among tropical flowers. The free-flying butterflies often land on the shoulders of visitors, allowing tykes to come into direct contact with monarchs, zebra longwings, paper kites other species as they emerge from their chrysalises. Outside the vivarium, youngsters can watch a short film and read displays on the life cycle of butterflies, how to protect their habitats and what kinds of adaptations certain species have. All ages.

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Museums, Special interest

Spyscape Spy School

icon-location-pin Spyscape, Midtown West
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Think your kid has what it takes to crack the code? Thanks to Spyscape's newly opened Spy School, you'll have a budding FBI agent on your hands. Students in middle school through college are invited to the afternoon program that allows them to make and break WWII codes in themed Encryption mission, detect lies in Deception booths and much more. “We’re thrilled by the success of SPYSCAPE in New York City, and delighted to be able to offer this experience for free to students,” Ian Oldaker, COO of SPYSCAPE New York said in a statement. “We have had a lot of requests for this kind of program and we’re excited about creating new educational offerings as we continue to grow.” Spy School is free with a valid student ID, but attendees t must be accompanied by a paid ticket holder. We'll catch you there...or will we? Middle school–college.   

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Photograph: Courtesy Liberty Science Center
Museums, Childhood

"Doc McStuffins"

icon-location-pin Liberty Science Center,
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Little Dottie wants to follow in her mother's footsteps on the TV hit, Doc McStuffins. With the hopes of becoming a doctor, she practices her medical routines on her stuffed animals...who just so happen to come to life! Kids can channel their inner Doc McStuffins by checking in on fury friends in the ER, giving animals X-rays and more. This is a bilingual English and Spanish immersive exhibit. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy NASA
Museums, Special interest

"Personal Space"

icon-location-pin Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen
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If you have trouble packing your suitcase before a trip, wait until you find out what astronauts have to bring when they head to outer space! During this year’s annual Space & Science Festival, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will host an exhibit, "Personal Space," dedicated to all of the personal items that astronauts bring along for the trip. Astronauts who will be featured in this exhibit include Mike Massimino, Dr. Ellen Baker and more. All ages. 

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Things to do, Exhibitions

"Impractical Jokers: Homecoming"

icon-location-pin Staten Island Museum, Midtown West
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Ready for a few laughs? Well you're in luck. The masterminds behind the popular TV series Impractical Jokers are coming back where it all originated. This exhibit gives fans an up-close and personal look at costumes, props and even secrets behind the show. Make sure you're on your A-game: There will be a few interactive impractical surprises on display throughout the exhibit. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York
Museums, Special interest

"Germ City"

icon-location-pin Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem
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If your kids won't cover their mouths when sneezing or refuse tissues, maybe "Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis" will help them change their ways. MCNY's new exhibit will focus on the clash between NYC and disease and how it has shaped us in a variety of ways, from culturally to physically. Pieces include "Blood Mirror," Jordan Eagles' offering that's comprised of human blood, a 20th-century smallpox quarantine poster and New York City Health Department diphtheria pamphlet, among many other others. Don't forget to register for the Community Care Fair, a family event on Nov 18 from 11am–3pm, that will let visitors explore ways we care for one another by taking a look at paraphernalia, stories and more. All ages.  

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Photograph: Courtesy Matt Shanley
Museums

Inside You

icon-location-pin American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
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The American Museum of Natural History’s exhibit explores the microbes, viruses, fungi and other organisms that live inside our bodies. According to the exhibit, our gastrointestinal tract is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and they can be affected by where we live, what we eat and what we touch among other factors. Learn about all about microbial genes and the important work they do to keep us alive. All ages.

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Art, Contemporary art

"Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power "

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Museum | Brooklyn, NY, Prospect Park
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Over 60 black artists from the mid-20th century are featured in this exhibit that explores the unjust treatment of African Americans from 1963 to 1983. Check out photography, abstract paintings, portraits, prints, and sculptures from this era. All ages. 

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Photograph courtesy Lincoln Center
Kids, Festivals

LC Kids

icon-location-pin Lincoln Center, Hearst Plaza, Upper West Side
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Every year Lincoln Center presents a phenomenal lineup of programming for kids of all ages. This years, wee ones (ages 0–18 months) can explore their surroundings with Rain, a sensory performance that includes touch and music, while slightly older babies (ages 6 months-36 months) can join a friendly environment for creative exploration with Pulsar. Highlights for big kids include Is this a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth (ages 8 and up), a retelling of the classic tale by a Scottish storyteller; You Me and the Space Between (ages 6 to 12), a performance about an inventive child that utilizes storytelling and choreography; Soundtrack '63 (ages 12 and up), a multimedia musical experience about music's relationship to social justice. A number of shows offer relaxed performances for neurodiverse audiences. Visit here for more details. 

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Things to do, Cultural centers

JCAL Saturday Family Matinee

icon-location-pin Jamaica Performing Arts Center, Harlem
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During Jamaica Center of Arts and Learning's Saturday matinee series, families can enjoy amazing performances from musicians, dancers, and storytellers representing cultures from around the globe. Kids can groove to the afro, futuristic soul of Brooklyn-based duo Soul Science (Oct. 27); be enthralled by The East Village Dance Project's innovative take on the Nutcracker with New Stories of the Shell-Shocked Nut (Dec. 15); be amazed by master storyteller Michael Manswell's tales of the African diaspora and the Caribbean (Jan. 19); and feel inspired by the instruments created out recycled materials and reused stuff at the Family Bash (April 13). All ages, full lineup can be found on website.    

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