Let’s be honest: There are lots of cool NYC events in October 2016—we love Open House New York and New York Comic Con—but there will be all sorts of spectacular Halloween festivities at the end of the month, too. Use our events calendar to find the best Halloween events, along with our favorite theater debuts, fall concerts and street fairs.
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2016
Featured events in October 2016
The Metropolitan Opera House is one of this year’s brand-new additions to the Open House New York, the weekend-long festival where more than 250 fascinating sites across New York open their doors to the public. The incredibly popular two-day event offers glimpses into spaces that are usually off limits to the public, from sky-high rooftop gardens to palatial apartments.
He may be one of the most famous failures in history, but 35,000 marchers and nearly 1 million spectators are expected along Fifth Avenue to mark the day when Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas and to celebrate the heritage of the Italian-American community. Sure, it isn’t New York’s glitziest parade, but where else can you catch the tarantella, a frenzied Italian folk dance? Fifth Ave from 44th St to 72nd St.
Celebrate the High Holidays with East Side Synagogue’s free services, now in their 33nd year. The October 3 Rosh Hashanah service (10am-2:15pm) features Jewish “kosher gospel” singer Joshua Nelson and the award-winning music of Broadway and TV composer Gary William Friedman. Free light lunch follows the service, catered to Jews who come from reform, conservative and unaffiliated backgrounds and people of all faiths or no faith.
There are many types of apples (Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Granny Smith), but the best variation of everyone’s favorite autumnal fruit is clearly the fermented kind. And for seven glorious days, you can guzzle bushels of the good stuff at more than 50 bars and restaurants in NYC and indulge in free tastings, events and workshops at popular drinking dens such as Chelsea Wine Vault and Craftbar.
Fact: Nothing says autumn like an intricate corn maze, wooden bins filled to the brim with just-picked apples and a pumpkin patch overflowing with gourds. All three of these iconic seasonal staples are present at this annual festival, which celebrates the season’s return to Queens County Farm Museum. Tap your toes to country & western band Savannah Sky while sipping crisp apple cider, get lost in the Amazing Maize Maze, and watch the farm’s flock of Cotswold and Romney sheep get a new hairdo during a shearing demonstration. (It’s going to be baaadass.)
Even if the sidewalks are overrun with tourists, you’ll have ample room to skate at the city’s most iconic rink; only 150 people are allowed on the ice at once. That also means that by the time Thanksgiving hits you should prepare for painfully long lines. So when the rink first opens in mid October, make like Chicagoans when voting—go early and often.
Ain’t afraid of no ghost? That’s good, because you might spot a few spirits (hopefully the friendly kind) during this Urban Park Rangers tour that blurs the line between history and Halloween. Use the lanterns provided (not your iPhone flashlight, bro) to explore the creepy Water Battery Gate at Fort Totten Park in the pitch-black while your guide shares goose-bumps–inducing stories about the phantasm-infested grounds. Enter at Shore and Abbott Rds.
For years, scarecrows have been the guardians of gardens, scaring birds since the first U.S. settlers. Today, scarecrows are not only frightening pigeons, but humans. See: Night of the Scarecrow and Husk. There’s no denying that these makeshift mannequins are seriously spooky, which is why the New York Botanical Garden’s brand-new Halloween exhibit is all about ’em. Sculptor and artist Ray Villafare created original art to showcase the evolution of scarecrows, comprising larger-than-life sculptures with moving eyes, hands and limbs. Check out these monstrous creations after dark...if you dare.
Now in its ninth year, the NYCWFF is about as star-studded as food events get, with a myriad of tastings, dinners and classes hosted by Food Network and Cooking Channel personalities including Giada De Laurentiis, Aaron Sanchez and Anne Burrell. Highlights include a late-night sushi party with Masaharu Morimoto and a Nordic breakfast with Claus Meyer.
The New Yorker is sending its finest staffers around town to talk with fascinating figures in literature, film, TV, music, theatre, tech, activism and beyond. Preview upcoming shows and films, hear concerts from star acts like Andre Bird and Father John Mitsy, one-on-one interviews with Bruce Springsteen and enjoy panel discussions with Mr. Robot with actor Christian Slater. Just be sure to do your research before taking the mic during the Q&A section.
Have you figured out what you’re doing this Halloween? NYC is full of Halloween parties and events (including the iconic Village Halloween Parade and the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade)—use our guide to find things to do, Halloween stores where you can pick up a killer costume, the scariest haunted houses and more.
Before you head out to some of the best Halloween parties in NYC, start with the basics: namely, the world’s largest pumpkin day procession, the Village Halloween Parade in NYC. With over 50,000 zombies, giant puppets and Donald Trumps taking to the streets, you may need a little help with navigation. So dress in your best Halloween costume ideas (or else you won’t be allowed to march), work on your Halloween makeup and get ready for the walk of your life.
Music events in October 2016
Thanks to the ascent of ladies such as Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles and Christina Perri, the female quirk-pop field is a lot more crowded now than it was when Regina Spektor broke through with “Fidelity,” her oft-licensed semihit, in 2006. Yet one needn’t proceed too deeply into Spektor’s latest to remember what an idiosyncratic talent she remains: On Remember Us to Life (released on September 30), the NYC songstress returns to form.
Five-time Grammy-nominee Sia brings all her electro-pop dramatics to the Barclay Center with her "Nostalgic for the Present Tour." At 40 years old, Sia might seem like an unusual artist to dominate the charts, but her powerhouse vocals and aesthetic are not to be missed. Critically acclaimed R&B artist Miguel and electronic duo AlunaGeorge join as the special guests.
Powerhouse 2016: Usher + Bryson Tiller + Wiz Khalifa + Tory Lanez + Fat Joe + Remy Ma + Desiigner + Young M.A
Power 105.1 hosts its annual expectedly huge hip-hop-tacular party at Barclays this year. The early aughts make a strong showing in this year's lineup with both sensual R&B crooner Usher and spitfire MC Fat Joe, the artist responsible for 2004's worst dance move, "Lean Back." On the contemporary side, you'll find self-described "trap-soul" artist Bryson Tiller, XXL Freshman-tapped hitmaker Desiigner and fast-rising Brooklyn native Young M.A., who perked the ears of reigning rap empress Nicki Minaj with her recent breakout single "OOOUUU."
While most Canadian hip-hop artists enjoying stateside success these days ascribe to the "OVO sound," rapper-singer Tory Lanez plays in his own "swavey" lane. Since we last talked to the artist, he's been on a meteoric rise, releasing a collaborative EP, Cruel Intentions, with Shlomo's WeDidIt collective, and a debut studio album, I Told You. He takes the stage with thrillingly inventive New York rapper A$AP Rocky, whose sophomore album At.Long.Last.A$AP topped our best albums of 2015.
“If they try to slow me down, I’ll tell them all to go to hell,” Brian King screams on “The House That Heaven Built,” the most blaring single from Japandroids' 2012 album, Celebration Rock. The band's been silent the past few years since that record, but recently returned this year for a slew of shows that promise all the same cathartic audience sing-alongs of yore. Fingers crossed that we'll be hearing news about a follow-up record sometime later this year.
The Lot Radio has been hosting live DJ sets and talk shows from a reclaimed shipping container in Greenpoint since February. The online station—which has gained tremendous support both locally and abroad—now serves top-notch coffee and sandwiches, in addition to organizing charity concerts at the church across the street. This Friday, kick off your Halloween weekend with live ambient techno performances from Hans Berg, 2MR's Mike Simonetti and Cristiano. There will be a full, affordable bar, and donations will go towards renovating the church's pipe organ.
Local faves A Place to Bury Strangers (a band which can't be mentioned without its infamous moniker, "New York's loudest") plays the type of aggro electro-goth rock that we immediately associate with those black-clad misfits in ’80s teen movies (and perfect for a Halloween gig). On its latest, Transfixiation, the band takes a predictably dense and distorted approach, but with intensified rhythmic backing.