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The best Halloween events for kids in NYC

Trick or treat! These are the stellar Halloween events for kids you won't want to miss.

Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Harvest Festival

RECOMMENDED: Guide to Halloween for kids in NYC

These cool Halloween events for kids can't be missed! You'll find fun stuff like harvest festivals, pumpkin-picking opportunities, Halloween costume contests, Halloween parades and more to keep your littles entertained. Many of these spooktacular kids' events also offer fun trick-or-treating opportunities too, so bring your costume A-game! Need quick costume inspo? Check out our Halloween face paint ideas, and check back to see more Halloween evens as we add them throughout the season!

Halloween events for kids

1

Halloween Harvest Festival

Recommended

We love a good circus theme—and good thing, because this year’s Halloween Harvest fest is bringing the spooky to you with jugglers, clowning, acrobatics and clowning! There will be costume-making with Socrates artists, plus a cool large-scale sculpture workshop hosted by Free Stule Arts Assocition and Face Painting by Agostino Arts. Pooches are welcome too—there’s even a puppy costume contest! All ages.

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29 Oct 2016
2

Halloween Celebration at AMNH

Recommended

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 like Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Peter Rabbit and Miffy. Special live shows include Louie and Subanda, David Grover and the Big Bear Band and Big Nazo, plus magicians, stilt walkers and performers from the Big Apple Circus. Reservations recommended. All ages.

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31 Oct 2016
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4

RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns

Get in the Halloween spirit at this massive jack o'lantern bonanza featuring thousands of hand-carved real and artificial pumpkins. RISE hits both New York and New Jersey this year, and each event boasts 5,000 real pumpkins, transformed through the meticulous work of hundreds of carvers into movie characters and pop culture icons, plus impressive multi-pumpkin sculptures of dinosaurs, dragons, safari animals and more. The whole family will love exploring these intricately carved pumpkins (some of which weigh over 100 pounds!) while listening to festive Halloween tunes. Be sure to check out the live-carving stations, where tykes can watch the artists in action. All ages.

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30 Oct 2016
5

Chile Pepper Festival

Recommended

Take food adventurers to Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Chile Pepper Festival, where taste-testing is reserved for the brave. Families get the chance to try some artisanal spicy snacks and desserts—chile chocolate, anyone?—while listening to sizzling tunes from the likes of Lost Bayou Ramblers, Aurelio and Élage Diouf. Expect appearances from Combustible Condiments, Piquant Pickles, Hi-Scoville Sweets and a whole lot more—even fire-breathing entertainers from Robbins & Ringold! All ages.

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01 Oct 2016
6

Park Slope Halloween Parade

The annual Park Slope Civic Council Halloween Parade has been going strong since 1986, and it’s perfect for families. Each year has a theme, and this year’s is “Daring Duos, Thrilling Trios and Superb Heroes!” The kickoff is at 6:30pm sharp at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street. The parade ends at the Old Stone House at Washington Park, with a little post-parade dancing at J.J. Byrne Playground. Feel free to gather with your family around 4pm, as many families and merchants begin greeting trick or treaters on Seventh and Fifth Avenues (yippee!). You never know what kind of spooks you’ll see at this festive celebration, and the costumes get increasingly inventive with each passing year-—so bring your A-game. All ages.

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Until Mon Oct 31
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7

Kids Fest: Stages in the Square

At this celebration, kids enjoy free fun like a comedy performance from the Joshua Show, a circus show from Sammie and Tudie’s Comedy Magic Circus and storytelling from folklore enthusiast Story Laurie. You can even use the visit as an excuse to grab a burger and a strawberry shake at Shake Shack. Ages 12 and under.

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15 Oct 2016
8

BAMboo!

This annual outdoor bash is one of Brooklyn's hippest Halloween hangs. Costumed cuties can take in street performances, play carnivalesque games for candy prizes, get creative at craft stations and compete for the most creative attire. Dress to impress for the Boo Bash costume contest! Takes place in front of BAM. All ages.

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31 Oct 2016
9

Giant Pumpkin Weekend at NYBG

What could be more Halloween than visiting the big kahuna of giant pumpkins? These orange heavyweights make their way to the New York Botanical Gardens from around the country, and some of them weigh in at more than one ton! The pumpkins on display are winners of the global pumpkin weigh-offs and will be displayed for families to marvel at—be sure to bring your camera, since NYBG guests can take photos with these giant gourds. Last, visitors will also have the chance to meet the growers to learn more about the growing process during Q&A sessions, just in case you were curious about how these giants are grown. All ages.

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Until Sun Oct 23
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10

Brooklyn Bridge Park Harvest Festival

Recommended

This annual celebration offers plenty of spooky fun for tots and tykes, including a Puss in Boots performance from the Puppetmobile, an arts & crafts table from The Little Orchestra Society and fun musical performances. Festival staples like the pumpkin patch and the Haunted Marsh will also be available, too. Ages 1 to 8.

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29 Oct 2016
11

Village Halloween Parade

Recommended

Get over to Sixth Avenue to see thousands of costumes, dancers and floats, including giant skeletons that dance above your head and hordes of zombies jamming out to “Thriller.” Each year the parade has a different theme (this year’s is still under wraps) that adds extra inventiveness and fun. See creative costumes you’d never glimpse anywhere else, since some people spend all year making theirs! Such a spectacle doesn’t come without crowds, though; partygoers are advised to get there early and stake out a spot. If you can’t make it in person (or don’t feel like braving the masses), never fear: The parade is broadcast live for all to see on NY1 from 7:30 to 9:30pm. All ages.

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Until Mon Oct 31
12

Monster Mash

Recommended

Dress the little ones in their costumes and join in for an interactive story time, a reading of The Ugly Pumpkin, at the art studio Totally Tots (10am to 1pm, printmaking portion 3 to 4pm). Afterward, moppets can squidge the gooey innards of pumpkins for delightful eeews as they create their own prints using the gourds and paint. Be a part of Creative Webs (1 to 2pm), during which youngsters learn how spiders weave their webs and make their own webs with the crayon-resist technique. Get even more Halloween inspiration at the Batty Wings and Witchy Hats Workshop (2 to 3pm) to learn bat facts and create bat wings and witch hats of your own out of everyday materials. There is trick-or-treat bag making (2 to 4pm, while supplies last, additional $7), which lets your tyke silk-screen their own canvas bag to take with them on Halloween night. All ages.

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30 Oct 2016
13

Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend

Recommended

These orange heavyweights make their way to the New York Botanical Garden from around the country, and some of the mighty fruits weigh more than one ton! The pumpkins on display are winners of the global pumpkin weigh-offs; be sure to bring your camera since NYBG guests can take photos with the giant gourds. All ages.

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Until Sun Oct 23
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14

Halloween in Prospect Park

Prepare for ghoulish happenings all over Prospect Park! Gather the goblins for a truly hair-raising Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair (noon to 3pm) at Lookout Hill and Nethermead. At the Audubon Center, there’s Creepy Crawly Halloween, where kids can learn about all sorts of shiver-inducing creatures, find bitty bones during an owl pellet dissection (1 to 2pm), or take a Creepy Crawly walk (3 to 4pm) in search for park-dwelling critters. Over at Children’s Corner, visit Lefferts Historic House for scary storytelling and crafts  (2 to 4pm; suggested donation $3), then spin to spooky music on the Haunted Carousel (noon–5pm; $2 per ride or five tickets for $9). Various locations in Prospect Park. All ages.

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29 Oct 2016
15

Haunted Gingerbread Workshop

Does your tot love to cook? Do you want to make delicious and edible treats? You won’t want to miss out on this Taste Buds workshop, during which your mini chefs can build their very own gingerbread haunted houses. Listen to spooky Halloween tunes while sipping an orange hot cocoa as your child creates a ghostly masterpiece. There are myriad decorating options; think candy corn roofs, marshmallow doorknobs and gummy worm windowpanes. Children can also show up in costume, because this is Halloween! Be sure to check out the other seasonal child-friendly workshops listed on the website. Ages 2–8.

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30 Oct 2016
16

Howl-o-Ween

Celebrate Howl-o-ween with Bideawee’s adoptable pets and lots of Halloween activities. Children can enjoy face painting by the Cheeky Chipmunk, a costume contest and treats (both human and pet kinds!). If you’re thinking of adopting a new furry family member, Bideawee’s knowledgeable volunteers are on hand to help you find the perfect match and also provide information on Bideawee’s programs and services. All animals are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, behaviorally tested and ready to become the newest addition to your family—and your kid’s new bestie. Find out all the details you need to be cleared for pet adoption on Bideawee’s website. Bohemia Realty Group, 2101 Frederick Douglass Blvd. All ages.

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29 Oct 2016
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17

Asphalt Screams!

This year’s Asphalt Screams occurs on the Upper East Side and in Battery Park City, and everyone is encouraged to dress for the fest! There are games including zombie tag, a spooky soccer challenge, the target of terror and more—plus trick-or-treating. The first 500 kids at each event get a goody bag! All ages.

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Until Fri Oct 28
18

Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

Recommended

For those who love nothing more than a cute pooch decked out in a Halloween costume, there’s nothing like the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. It’s one of the biggest Halloween costume contests for dogs in the world! See spooktacular spectacles like a pack of corgis dressed as Minions, a doggie Marty McFly, a Big Bad “wolf” and a pup as Donald Trump. Each year the costumes grow exponentially more creative. You can spot your favorite pop-culture icons in canine form, as well as loads of owners dressed to match their pet. In case you’re interested in adopting a new family member, Petfinder is on-site with pet adoption opportunities. All ages.

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22 Oct 2016
19

Great American Harvest Fest

At Richmond Town and Decker Farm, youngsters experience 19th-century American farm life, complete with old-fashioned arts and crafts and a slew of activities including cider pressing, candle making, tinsmithing and stone carving. If your kids are interested in history, this year sees the premiere of the short play Sins of Salem, which transports you to the 17th-century witch trials (there will be three performances that are family-friendly but they may not be suitable for very young children). At Decker Farm, families can enjoy a hayride, pick pumpkins and try out the corn maze! There’s also no need to worry about getting around once you arrive at Richmond Town or Decker Farm since there’s a free shuttle between the two locations. All ages.

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23 Oct 2016
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21

Día de los Muertos: Day of the Dead Celebration!

Learn about the traditions of Día de los Muertos at this daylong celebration with the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Kids can make their own muertos mask (1 to 2pm) inspired by BCM’s touchable collection of Mexican folk art, take part in a sing-along dance party with Sonia de los Santos of Dan Zanes (2 to 3pm) as she performs songs about her childhood in Mexico, and join in on a community ofrenda (3 to 4pm), during which young’uns create an altar to honor dead ancestors during the sweet and poignant holiday. All ages.

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22 Oct 2016
22

Ghostbusters Experience

Immerse the family in the new Ghostbusters flick at Madame Tussaud's latest attraction, Ghostbusters Experience, where guests don proton packs and virtual reality headsets and go on the hunt for wayward ghosts. Kiddos will be thrilled to see gadgets and props from the movie, like the Ecto-2 motorcycle. All ages.

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Until Fri Dec 30
23

Tricks, Treats and Spooky Sweets

Visit Harold's Meat + Three in Arlo Hudson Square for creepy, crawly fun with the kids! Littles and their guardians will enter at the restaurant, then head up to the roof with their costumes for an exciting costume contest, trick-or-treating, Halloween activities (creating sand art and decorating pumpkins) and snacks for the whole crew (including spooky sips for adults for an added fee). RSVP to julia@haroldsmeatandthree.com. Ages 0–11.

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30 Oct 2016
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24

Ghosts of New York walking tours

Join a professional storyteller and actor in period dress to traverse the thoroughfares of some of NYC’s oldest and most specter-infested neighborhoods. During the Children’s Ghost Hunt in the Haunted East Village (suitable for children 5 and up), tour guide Robin and her raven, Edgar, track downtown spirits, teach kids how to conduct a paranormal investigation and maybe even how to become a ghost hunter (October 23 to 30 at 4pm). The Edgar Allan Poe and His Ghostly Neighbors of Greenwich Village tour (daily in October at 7:30 and 9:30pm) lets you visit the home of macabre poet Edgar Allan Poe, Aaron Burr and other famous historical figures. You can also hear the haunting stories of the NYU Public Library (eeek!), Washington Square Park and Arch (certainly known as “ghost central” for good reason) and more. For those looking to hear spooky tales of one of our city’s namesakes, don’t miss the Peter Stuyvesant and His Ghostly Friends of the East Village tour (every Friday and Saturday night in October). Participants go in search of Stuyvesant and other dead city dwellers including Poe, Washington Irving, the Tredwell sisters of the Merchant’s House Museum, Samuel Clemens and Harry Houdini. Tours are one-and-a-half hours long and less than a mile in length, which makes things easy for families with little kids. Locations revealed after booking (646-493-7092, ghostsofny.com). Various dates and times; adults $20, children and seniors $15, tickets must be bought in advance. Ages 8 and up. 

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25

The Amazing Maize Maze

Recommended

Check out 2016’s Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm Museum! The American Maze Company builds a labyrinth every year that that stretches over several acres, with the length of the course often stretching two miles! Previous years’ themes of the American Maize Maze’s celebration have included a violin, a riverboat, a train, a farmscape and the largest living sundial. Be sure to check americanmaze.com for the full list of Amazing Maize Maze locations (PA, NC and NY). All ages.

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30 Oct 2016
26

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Kids who love sci-fi, fantasy and the sea are in for a real treat with New Victory Theater’s production of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The beloved sci-fi classic gets an in depth makeover as a group of  modern-day scientists  head out on a mission to discover and document sea creatures—instead they end up discovering the mythical old-timey submarine Nautilus, helmed by the infamous Captain Nemo. Puppetry, projection and astonishing sets bring the story to life, fully immersing kids in the voyage of a lifetime. The New Victory Theater, 209 W 42nd St (646-223-3010, newvictory.org). Sept 30–Oct 10 at various times. $16 and up. Ages 8 and up. 

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27

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

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 (are all 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, a Jurassic Park-themed area containing life-size dinosaur sculptures, a huge sea serpent alongside the Croton River and so much more on this spooky stroll. Don’t miss out on the tri-state area’s biggest and most unique Halloween event! All ages.

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Until Sun Nov 13
28

The Ride in Masquerade

This immersive tour experience is tricked out for Halloween with performers bedecked in spooky masquerade costumes. Participants are spirited through midtown on this one-of-a-kind bus with stadium seating and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Outside, the city becomes the stage as actors appear and perform ghostly set-pieces among everyday people on the streets of New York. Onboard, atmospheric LED lights and flatscreens showing spooky images provide the backdrop as the hosts tell chilling tales about NYC’s otherworldly inhabitants. Times Sq. box office, Inside the Gift Shop, 584 Eighth Ave · Sixth Ave box office, 1200 Sixth Ave at 47th St · (866-811-4111, experiencetheride.com). Oct 12–Nov 8 at various times; $74. Ages 6 and up. 

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29

Trick-or-Treat with East Midtown

Get your sweet tooth ready for an evening of trick-or-treating throughout Midtown hosted by East Midtown Partnership! Meet at Tramway Plaza (59th & 2nd Ave) to grab your free trick-or-treat map, then take your pick of 50+ participating businesses to grab delicious Halloween treats. All ages.

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31 Oct 2016
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30

See Halloween movies for kids

Our ranked list of the best Halloween movies for kids will help you pick top flicks for a spooky family movie night! Here, you'll find everything from classics like Ghostbusters, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Poltergeist to newer, sweeter picks like Monster House and Coraline—all with realistic age suggestions.

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By: Hannah Doolin
31

Boo at the Zoo

Recommended

This Halloween celebration takes over the Bronx wildlife spot every weekend in October (plus Rosh Hashanah and Columbus Day). This year, see zoo creature–inspired 3D carved pumpkins and venture through a dark tunnel filled with over 1,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns (located in World of Darkness; 10am–5pm). Head to the tent at Grizzly Bears to catch a magic show with David Levitan (12pm, 2pm, 4pm) or a live musical performance with Gigi and the Lend Me a Hand Band (11:30am, 1pm, 3pm), then explore a hay maze (located in Butterfly Patio, 11am–5pm). Kids will love checking out demos by professional pumpkin carvers (located in Dancing Crane Plaza, 11am–4pm); and, of course, rocking their outfits in a Halloween procession alongside handmade puppets and characters from the Alice Farley Dance Company (starts at Rhino Garden noon, 2pm). Nourish your little ghouls with snacks from treat stations situated around the park (11am-5pm). All activities are free with zoo admission, except for the Jack O'Lantern Illumination, which requires the Total Experience ticket. All ages.

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Until Sun Oct 30
32

Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel

Recommended

New York’s most high-tech haunted house also has an educational element: Every year, students in City Tech’s Theatreworks program produce the attraction from the ground up, with skeleton pirates, talking paintings and a grisly bathroom. Tough tweens can trigger the hotel’s spooky surprises (think jumping skeletons and pirate ghosts) with a series of hidden sensors that respond to their movements. Ages 6 and up.

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31 Oct 2016
33

Ghouls & Gourds

Recommended

Your little goblins can showcase their costumes alongside stilt walkers and gigantic puppets at this daytime parade and festival. They can also dance to live music by Brooklyn reggae band New Kingston, Yiddish group Metropolitan Klezmer, and Pam Fleming’s Dead Zombie Band. Billy Jonas & the Band will get creative as they create beats from recycled instruments made from buckets, barrels, and cans. Check out bugs like hissing cockroaches and hornworms and build a huge spider web of ribbons and fabric scraps. Grab your camera and deck your kids out in their best ensembles—they'll show them off in a parade and drum circle! All ages.

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Until Sat Oct 29
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34

Halloween Harvest at Luna Park

October weekends mean fall-themed fun at Luna Park, including the Halloween Harvest! You'll find a petting zoo and pony rides thanks to the folks at Pony Express Entertainment, face-painting and cool entertainers like Magicians King Henry and Gary the Great. You'll want to stop in for the Halloween Dog Parade and Costume Contest (Oct 9) to see awesomely-dressed pups in action, or visit when the Marc and the Maniac Carvers (Oct 23) crew are shaping a gourd into a Halloween masterpiece. All ages.

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Until Sun Oct 30
35

Haunted High Line Halloween

Spirits are lurking at this elevated park's Halloween festivities, where kids are encouraged to dress up in costume and learn about the history of hauntings along the Hudson. Trick-or-treaters can walk the High Line to get their faces painted, learn about characters like the Mad Cookie Man and the West Side Cowboy and see live performances. On the High Line between 14th and 16th Sts. All ages.

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29 Oct 2016
36

Little Monsters Brunch Screenings

Join Nitehawk for a frightfully good time! While you might think of the theater as an adults-only film spot, it actually does a ton of programming for children and families. The upcoming Little Monsters Brunch Screenings include Halloween favorites Beetlejuice (1988) on 10/8 and 10/9 at 11:30am, Ghostbusters (1984) on 10/22 and 10/23 at 11:30am plus Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) on 10/29 and 10/30 at 11:45am. Costumes are encouraged. Who doesn't want to dine in style! Beetlejuice ages 13 and up, Ghostbusters ages 8 and up, Abbot & Costello ages 6 and up.

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Until Sun Oct 30
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37

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Sure, more people might believe in Santa Claus, but Linus's faith in the Great Pumpkin is enough to make us all believers in this sincere harbinger of the holiday. The Met celebrates Halloween with its own showing of the 1966 classic Peanuts movie while the Rob Schwimmer Ensemble provides the live score. Come dressed for the occasion—afterward there's a costume parade, and remember Lucy's advice in the film: "A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality." No children under 4.

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Until Sat Oct 29
38

Brookfield Place Halloween Party

Enjoy exciting science activities, magicians, a costume catwalk and fun performances to celebrate the year's spookiest holiday at Brookfield Place! Halloween costumes are encouraged, so dress to impress. Winter Garden and 230 Vesey Shops. All ages.

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29 Oct 2016
39

Scarecrow Nights for Families at NYBG

Gear up for an eerie good time at the New York Botanical Garden’s exhibit Scarecrows: From the Heartland to Horror. On Scarecrow Nights, the exhibit comes to life at this moonlit interactive walk, where families can snag a flashlight and take a journey along the trail to see animatronic scarecrow sculptures that have moving eyes, hands and limbs. They’re all made of natural materials, and you’ll get to learn about the history of the scarecrow. This exhibit by artist Ray Villafane takes a closer look at scarecrows through his larger than life creations, and kids will be able to trick-or-treat as they make their way down the path. All ages.

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29 Oct 2016
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40

Haunted Gingerbread Workshop

Does your tot love to cook? Do you want to make delicious and edible treats? You won’t want to miss out on this Taste Buds workshop, during which your mini chefs can build their very own gingerbread haunted houses. Listen to spooky Halloween tunes while sipping an orange hot cocoa as your child creates a ghostly masterpiece. There are myriad decorating options; think candy corn roofs, marshmallow doorknobs and gummy worm windowpanes. Children can also show up in costume, because this is Halloween! Be sure to check out the other seasonal child-friendly workshops listed on the website. Ages 2–8.

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30 Oct 2016
41

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Maine's Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers use their hand-crafted puppets to spin Washington Irving's classic spooky tale into a comedic, child-friendly yarn, wherein schoolteacher Ichabod Crane helps the Headless Horseman find a new head. Ages 2 and up.

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Until Sat Oct 22
42

The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow

Symphony Space’s Just Kidding Halloween-themed performance series introduces a less-creepy version of Washington Irving’s chilling classic even the little ones will enjoy. The comedic adaptation follows schoolteacher Ichabod Crane as he helps the Headless Horseman on his quest for an upper body makeover. The nationally touring production makes its stop in town with 20 hand-crafted mouth and rod puppets and a wizardry of shadow puppetry. All ages.

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Until Sat Oct 22

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