There are no tricks, only treats, during these spooky Halloween festivals. NYC and New York state host several incredible fêtes featuring pumpkins, costumes and autumnal treats like candy apples and all the pumpkin spice doughnuts you can stomach. Luckily for Gothamites, the majority of these Halloween events are close by while others make excellent fall day trips. Get in the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve at some of the best NYC parks, or escape Gotham and explore more Halloween festivals upstate using our fall getaways picks.
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Best Halloween festivals in New York
While haunted houses and ghost tours pop up all over town, Queens is keeping Halloween classic with this day of frolicking in the pumpkin patch. Head to the Botanical Garden and smell the fresh fall air in the arboretum, pinetum and circle garden, then join the shenanigans at this fest where you can check out live music, join nature walks and learn hipster-ready crafts like pickling. Hit up food vendors and a beer and wine garden to enjoy a cider on the crisp grasses. If you get tipsy, fear not! The only thing better than a petting zoo is a drunk petting zoo.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is one of the best things to do in the fall in New York, during which you’ll witness an army of more than 7,000 glowing pumpkins. This is the tristate area’s most spirited Halloween festival, with the most impressive and intricately carved pumpkins shining along the riverside near Van Cortlandt Manor.
Fashion your own costume to resemble Fido’s at this daylong holiday primer and get your face painted by Agostino Arts. Four-legged family members can compete in the Canine Costume Contest while their two-legged counterparts create their own getups on-site with the help of resident artists. There will also be circus acts, including jugglers, stilt walkers and clowns (the friendly and funny kind) and plenty and tasty fair concessions to keep you satisfied.
This doggy costume contest certainly deserves a prize for the punniest name, but the festival also sounds really freakin’ fun, too. Go for the adorably dressed pups (contest starts at 11:30am), but stay for the entertainment brought to you by The Fort Greene park Conservancy. It will be an afternoon of Halloween splendor, with live music, a pumpkin patch and creepy crawlies brought in by Park Rangers.
Enjoy a spooky, fun-filled afternoon with inflatables, games, a hay ride and hay maze as well as a pumpkin patch at Fort Totten Park. This is just one of the seasonal highlights at this Queens attraction, and we highly recommend checking out the park's Haunted Lantern Tour as well.
Celebrate the Halloween season at one of the best park’s in the city for fall foliage: Central Park. Listen to ghost stories, check out a costume parade and get creative by carving a pumpkin. After the festivities, the Central Park Conservancy will partake in a traditional Pumpkin Flotilla, where 50 gourds (possibly your creation) will take a sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight.