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

By Danielle Valente, Oliver Strand and Allie Early |
Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Photograph: Filip Wolak Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail

'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! There are plenty of Halloween happenings across the city, and you can't miss 'em. 

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for kids

If you're 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

Photograph: Oliver Strand
News, Art

MoMA reopens October 21: Here's why you should take the kids

When MoMA reopens to the public on Oct 21 after a $450 million expansion, it won't just be a larger and sleeker, it will offer updated and upgraded activities for kids and families. Here's a preview of what you'll find at the Museum of Modern Art, and how to get the most out of a family visit to one of the greatest museums in the world. If you have you have young children in tow, head straight to the Heyman Family Art Lab (all ages) on the first floor. The cheerful art studio overlooks the garden, and it has books and toys and a small play area in addition to activity stations stocked with amazing art supplies. Kids can jump into projects by responding to Idea Cards that provide a creative spark. For example: "Draw a silly line. Now draw an angry line or a lazy line." If you've enrolled the youngsters in NYC's coolest art classes for kids, they'll certainly love exploring this portion of the attraction.  Photograph: Oliver Strand After visiting the art lab, grab one of the newly reimagined family gallery guides that helps transform the museum into a playful and thought-provoking experience. New labels in the museum for children called Kids Picks not only identify art, they ask questions that will get your little gallery-goer chatting away.  Older kids (5 and up) will want to go to brand-new Paula and James Crown Creativity Lab on the second floor. This studio is geared for children, teens and adults, with more sophisticated art projects. The opening program is called

Theater, Children's

CHALK at the Fringe BYOV

Kraine Theater, East Village

A play in the classic style of the silent film era, CHALK stars a clowning Alex Curtis who uses only a few simple props and a pocket full of chalk. Part Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, part “Harold and the Purple Crayon," CHALK is a whimsical physical comedy in which anything can happen. 

Photograph: Bruce White
Museums, Military and maritime

"The Last Knight"

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park

The armor of Emperor Maximilian I, who ruled the Holy Roman Empire until 1519, was made for battle, and for showing off—just look at that lacy metalwork and exquisite details. There are over 180 items are in the exhibit, including the childhood armor of Maximilian's son, the future Philip I, King of Castile: This knight at the museum is sure to get the imaginations of your young ones racing. Mark your calendar for a special family afternoon on Nov 10 from 1pm–4pm that will include story time, a shadow puppet performance by Caroline Borderies and a chance for your young knights to embellish their custom armor. All Ages.

Photogrpah: Courtsey TA Smith and Puppetworks
Things to do

Puppetworks presents Sleeping Beauty

Puppetworks, Park Slope

This Park Slope institution's fall performance is the Charles Perrault version of Sleeping Beauty, written in 1697. The familiar story comes to life when portrayed by a cast of hand-carved wooden marionettes dressed in intricate Medieval costumes. Set to the Tchaikovsky ballet score, it's an elegant telling that will delight your children. Note: bonus performances will be held on the school holidays on Oct 14 and Nov 11. Reservations suggested. Ages 4 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Jeremy Daniel
Theater, Children's

New Victory Theater's 2019-2020 Season

New Victory Theater, Midtown West

The NYC theater scene is gearing up for a kid-friendly lineup. During the 2019-2020 season at the New Victory Theater, families will be able to hang with their favorite picture-book fishes, listen to Aesop's fables and much more. The schedule, which is available on the theater's website, is as follows:   The Pout-Pout Fish: Oct 12–20 for ages 4–7 Aesop's Fables: Nov 1–2 for ages 7 and up  RE:PLAY: Nov 15–Dec 1 for ages 6 and up  42 FT–A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels: Dec 6–Jan 5 for ages 5 and up  Cartography: Jan 10–19 for ages 10 and up Riddle of the Trilobites: Feb 7–23 for ages 6 and up  Drumfolk: Feb 28–Mar 15 for ages 7 and up  Treasure Island: Mar 20–29 for ages 8 and up  Magic Shadows: Apr 3–19 for ages 5 and up  Snow White: Apr 24–May 4 for ages 7 and up  Jabberbabble: May 9–17 for ages 4–7 Fierce 5: May 30–June 14 for ages 9 and up 

Courtesy American Dream
News, City Life

American Dream Mall

"Mall" isn't necessarily an accurate way to describe American Dream.  Sure, the long-awaited Jersey attraction boasts hundreds of retail options, from Zara and H&M to Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co., but the three-million-square-foot destination is definitely an entertainment hub that needs to be on your radar.  Mark your calendars for Oct 25, the grand opening of the estimated $5 billion project. Triple Five Group, the masterminds behind the Mall of America in Minnesota, has worked to ensure that the Meadowlands shopping and entertainment behemoth is the talk of the town.  Add a Jersey outing to your list of fall activities for kids and check out all that awaits! 

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
News, Weird & Wonderful

Sloomoo Institute

New Yorkers take their immersive experiences quite seriously, and this fall promises a slew of sensory-filled adventures.  After indulging in creamy goodness at the Museum of Ice Cream's new Soho flagship, head over for a creative afternoon at Sloomoo Institute. This 8,000 square-foot entertainment hub, also in Soho, opens Oct 25 and guarantees a slimy encounter like no other. Visitors big and lil' will enter a black light cove with glow in the dark slime, let an EEG machine provide a sneak peek of your brain on slime and much more. For creative youngsters who love STEM project, this is one of the coolest fall activities for kids taking place this year.  Tickets are now on sale ($38) and include an 8-ounce custom slime and other fun trinkets. For those who take their sliming super seriously, visitors can participate in a Sloomoo photoshoot (for an additional $30) where slime pours down on eager participants a la 90's Nickelodeon days.

Photo: Courtesy Deen van Meer
Theater, Broadway

Frozen: The Broadway Musical

St. James Theatre, Midtown West

For the first time in forever, Disney's "Snow Queen"-inspired movie about sisterly love and a talking snowman is coming to Broadway. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and the whole gang will turn the St. James Theater into a winter wonderland full of songs from the original soundtrack. Expect phenomenal sets and stage-magic, plus a certain Oscar-winning song to get stuck in your head.

Photograph: Courtesy NYC GO and Off Broadway Week

Gazillion Bubble Show

New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen
4 out of 5 stars

Husband and wife duo Fan and Ana Yang have traveled world-wide to dazzle their audiences with their self-titled masterpiece, "bubble artistry." As lights flicker and music plays, prepare to catch some of the wonkiest looking bubbles you've ever encountered. Kids and parents alike will love how these soapy spectacles create a can't-miss experience. Ages 5 and up.

Theater, Musicals


Orpheum Theater, East Village
3 out of 5 stars

Stomp takes percussion to a whole new level. A small cast of characters makes use of atypical objects—wooden polls, push brooms—to create a unique musical experience. A catchy rhythm, impressive dance moves and laugh-out-loud moments prove why this Off-Broadway show is such a crowd pleaser, even if there isn't any dialogue. Your kiddos might be inspired to take household items and start a jam session of their own! Ages 4 and up.

Tyrannosaurus Rex, 4th floor halls
Photograph: Courtesy Craig Chesek
Museums, Natural history

“T. rex: The Ultimate Predator”

American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

Prepare to dig deep like a true paleontologist thanks to "T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator." The Museum of Natural History's new exhibit will give visitors a peek into how the massive creatures came to be. Patrons will get a good look at the new findings about the tyrannosaurs genus, with a special focus on our main man, the T. rex. Unlike what people may think—and what movies led us to believe—T. rex is simply one part of the species' 100-million-year evolution. Who knew that tyrannosaurs species actually include small, agile creatures? For real! 

Photograph: Courtesy The Jewish Museum, Matthew Carasella/SocialShutterbug.com
Things to do, Concerts

Jewish Museum's Fall 2019 Family Concerts

The Jewish Museum, Central Park

To prove that art and music are an unstoppable pair, The Jewish Museum and the the Diller-Quaile Music School will host a six-week program titled "The Sound of Color" for pre-schoolers and families. The program's family concerts are as follows:  The Funky Monkeys: Sept 22 at 11:30am Dan & Claudia Zanes: Oct 20 at 11:30am  Hopalong Andrew Band: Nov 24 at 11:30am Nefesh Mountain: Dec 25 at 11:30am and 2pm 

Photograph: Courtesy Rita Veisbergs Thompson
Things to do, Performances

New Families, New Traditions

Museum of Jewish Heritage, Battery Park City

Kids' musical group Yellow Sneaker will turn to puppet pals to help little event-goers (and their caregivers) embrace Jewish traditions and the importance of family. Note this is a drop-in program from the museum. Ages 4 and under. 

Photograph: Courtesy of The Art of the Brick
Museums, Special interest

"The Art of the Brick"

New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens

Budding engineers and artists will be equally enthralled by the masterpieces Nathan Sawaya has intricately crafted with over 1,000,000 toy blocks. (No, that number is not a typo.) Visitors who love dinosaur activities will gawk at the artist's 20-foot t. rex, which is comprised of over 80,000 pieces alone. Creative youngsters who participate in fun art classes for kids will enjoy Sawaya's recreation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Additionally, photographer Dean West partnered with Sawaya to produce a multimedia collection of LEGO brick-infused photos. Make sure to participate in the exhibit's interactive elements as well! All ages. 

Photo Courtesy Cosmic Picture, Ltd.
Movies, Family and kids

'Superpower Dogs 3D'

New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens

The amazing life-saving dogs in this immersive 3D movie are like real-life PAW Patrol pups. Find out the remarkable stories of canines and their human companions who work hard everyday to rescue people in snowy avalanches and off the coasts of warm beaches. There's even a pair of Bloodhound brothers who are helping save endangered species in Africa. 45 minutes. All ages  

Photograph: Courtesy Alex Vail copyright BBC NHU 2017
Things to do, Film events

"Oceans: Our Blue Planet"

American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

Although the spotlight is oftentimes on the dinosaurs, the Museum of Natural History wants to give patrons a chance to experience life under the waves, too, not just on land during prehistoric times. Thanks to the new film, Oceans: Our Blue Planet, musumer-goers can journey with the OceanX research vessel Alucia as it uncovers what's lurking beneath the sea. This film will be shown daily in the Museum’s Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater in 2D at 11:30am and 4:30pm, and in 3D at 10:30am and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm. The schedule is subject to change. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Scott Frances for SPYSCAPE
Museums, Special interest


Spyscape, Midtown West

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.   

Photograph: Courtesy Scott Frances
Museums, Special interest


Spyscape, Midtown West

NYC's museum dedicated to all-things espionage will soon shed some light on 007. The first James Bond exhibit in New York examines the creativity that went into bringing the movies to life. Car aficionados: You'll be pleased to know that Bond's Aston Martin DB5 will on display. There are also many interactive components to the exhibit: You can check out gadgets and gizmos in the Q's lab, get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Skyfall finale came to be and so much more. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Evan Joseph Images
Things to do

Empire State Building's Reimagined Observatory Experience

Empire State Building | Manhattan, NY, Midtown West

NYC's most popular Instagram landmark underwent a renovation that is practically as breathtaking as its views of Manhattan. The $165 million reimagined Observatory Experience at the Empire State Building allows visitors to learn about all aspects of the iconic building: from the moment it was built to its place in pop culture today. Galleries focus on the construction, opening day and everything in between. Catch 70+ screens depicting the building's place in the NYC skyline, see if your favorite celebrity has made a visit and, of course, get a taste of King Kong! Giant ape fingers pierce the wall of a 1930s-themed office. Yikes! All ages. 

Photograph courtesy of MacGillivrary Freeman Films.
Movies, Documentary

Apollo 11: First Steps

New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with a screening of this 20 minute movie. The whole family will be amazed by the Apollo 11's story, as the filmmakers reconstruct the vessel's preparation, launch and return using never-before-seen footage. After the film, take your future astronauts to check out the museum's Search for Life Beyond Earth exhibition. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Books Are Magic

Story Time at Books Are Magic

Books Are Magic, Carroll Gardens

Each Saturday and Sunday, this enchanting independant kids bookstore in Cobble Hill hosts a story time. Authors read from their dazzling picture books, that can be incredibly funny, heart-warming, educational or all of the above. Be sure to check out all of the store's unique special events for children and young adult readers, too. Check out the lineup here. All ages.

Photograph courtesy Filip Wolak
Things to do

Family Sundays

The Rubin Museum of Art, Chelsea

The museum opens up its doors every Sunday for family-friendly activities revolving around various themes (which switch each month). Not only do little ones get to explore their creativity and learn a bit more about particular topics, but they also can revel in the fact that they can take home their art after a day of working on a masterpiece. In May, the events are focused around the museum's The Power of Intention. After checking out the exhibition, the kiddos can experiment with oils and color to make an expressive original piece. Ages 3 and up.

Things to do, Play spaces

Saturdays Are for Spanish

Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

One World Project (302 Vanderbilt St) is looking to bridge the gap between cultures. Come to the Saturday play sessions (for both children and adults) to immerse yourself in the Spanish language by way of outside play, story time, music and other fun activities. Scholarships are available. Register online. Ages 5 and under. 

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