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The best Halloween activities near me: events for NYC kids

Typing "Halloween activities near me" into Google? We're here to help you find the creepiest, kookiest fun, NYC!

Written by
Danielle Valente

Aren't you scared? Well, that's just fine! When typing "Halloween activities near me" in Google, that's exactly what you want! 

There are many a fall festival that boast creepy and kooky fun: Boo at the Zoo has magic tricks, mind reading and walks through a "graveyard." The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze (which now has a second location) boasts 7,000+ expertly hand-carved jack o' lanterns that are worthy of a display. There's tons to choose from. 

RECOMMENDED: Guide to Halloween for kids in NYC

While things are looking a little different this year, the party will still go on (safely). Be sure to rock out to our favorite Halloween songs for kids while pumpkin picking, wandering through a corn maze and more. 

Halloween events

1. Double Magnificent Intergalactic Miniature Halloween Parade

An Halloween tradition continues in a new format this year. Thirty artists who participate in New York’s Village Halloween Parade have created an adorable virtual puppet parade that's an adorable way to ring in this spooky day. 

Halloween at American Dream
Photograph: Courtesy Angela Pham/

2. Halloween at American Dream

New Jersey's entertainment epicenter is celebrating Oct 31 with a slew of cool things to do. Learn about the safety measures online

Get tickets for Nickelodeon Boo-Niverse (11am–3pm, 4–8pm) for a spooky event with rides, music and, of course, your favorite characters. Come in costume! 

Venture to the rink from 5–8pm for a spooky skate!  

Stop by IT’SUGAR, Mulberry & Grand, Sephora and Sunice for trick or treat goodies! 

Photograph: Shutterstock

4. #NYPLHalloween

Our favorite literary institution is celebrating the best book-themed costumes with a virtual contest! Check out the garb that judge Tim Gunn deemed the winners!


Dress up in your best costume and submit photos to Coney Island's virtual Halloween costume contest now through October 28. Children and adults are invited to participate either by dressing up or simply voting for their favorite costumes. The top 3 highest rated photos will receive four tickets to a Brooklyn Cyclones game, Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Luna Park in Coney Island, meal vouchers for Nathan's Famous, and enjoy a $25 gift card to the boardwalk's newest eatery, La Tombola, all for the 2021 season.

You can vote up until Halloween night at 11:59 pm. Winners of the contest will be announced on Monday, November 2.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Thursday through Sunday from Oct 1 to Nov 1 is your chance to revel in the Halloween fun, from magic shows and pumpkin carving demonstrations to mind reading and trips through the spooky extinct animal graveyard. Each day, animal-themed costumed stilt walkers and Halloween animal puppets will put on a "MASKerade" while the Wildlife Theater will pull out all the stops with performances in Astor Court. Advanced tickets are required before attending and reentry is not permitted.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

New Yorkers' favorite fall event, the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, will illuminate a second location with its stunning pumpkin art. In addition to operating at Van Cortlandt Manor in the Hudson Valley, the Halloween happening will set up shop at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Long Island from Oct 2–Nov 1. Expect another 7,000+ pumpkins glowing in the autumn evening. Similar to the original event, the Long Island Blaze will also have synchronized lighting and seasonal tunes to accompany the hand-carved installations. You'll want to snag a spot quickly—tickets (starting at $24) are now on sale for both locations!

  • Travel
  • Transport & Travel

The Headless Horseman and his creepy counterparts are toning it down for the kids this Halloween. (So sweet!) In Ulster Park, New York, the Headless Horseman Haunted Hayrides and Haunted Houses is gearing up for a fright-filled drive-thru experience for adults. However, it's more about smiles than screams during its Children's Day event, which will take place Oct 11 and 24 from 11:30am–3pm. (Rain dates are Oct 11 and Oct 25.) Families can expect to drive through an I Spy-like Halloween game in their vehicles and encounter spooky (but fun!) characters along the way. Then they'll be able to park their cars and enjoy more fall festivities, including a maze, a haunted garden, seasonal tunes and more cool things to do. Like most Halloween events this year, reservations are required ($11.95 tickets are available online) and new safety protocols will be in place.


  • Movies
  • Movies

Come for the treats and stay for the screams: Adventureland debuted its Nightmare at the Movies drive-in experience. For $40 per car, the whole family can cash in on the ghoulishly good fun. The package includes a chicken fingers and fries dinner, a $10 Adventureland Arcade card, movie-style popcorn and a choice of beverages, trivia on select evenings and, of course, some of the our favorite scary movies for kids. The series will kick off on Friday Sept 25 with a classic, Hocus Pocus, beginning at 7pm. Feel free to drive by sooner, as gates open at 5pm and festivities like trivia will begin at 6:30pm. Even better news? If you're in search of a spooky date night, leave the kids with a sitter and enjoy the late screening at 10pm (gates open at 8:30pm). First up? Nightmare on Elm Street. The series will continue on Oct 9 with Hotel Transylvania and Friday the 13th, as well as Oct 23 and 30. However, a full schedule has yet to be released, so check back in for the latest updates!


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