Best Halloween events for 2017 in NYC
You might want to wear your sunglasses to this electrifying affair, at which you’ll feast your eyes on an army of gleaming pumpkins. This is the tristate area’s most spirited Halloween happening, with more than 7,000 intricately carved pumpkins glowing (hell, that’s a lot of candles) along the riverside near Van Cortlandt Manor. But gawking at pretty gourds isn’t the only draw. There are also stargazing opportunities inside the Pumpkin Planetarium, flying ghosts and a special appearance by Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman. Pro tip: This event sells out quickly, so make sure to nab your tickets, like, yesterday.
Take a rare nighttime trip behind Green-Wood’s cast iron fence on this mini-expedition, sponsored by both the cemetery and Atlas Obscura. But there’s more to this evening than just strolling through the cemetery’s 478 acres by flashlight: Musical events, live readings, stargazing gatherings and other cool activities are tucked away here and there, ready to be discovered at your own pace. And there's a cash bar, too! Just think: you could dance and drink with the dead! (What, too morbid? It worked for Lydia in Beetlejuice.)
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 Village Halloween Parade is fun and all, but does it have a plethora of puppies in adorable outfits? For that, you’ll have to head to the East Village for this annual dog parade. The getups are remarkably elaborate and conceptual—no surprise given the thousands of dollars worth in prizes up for grabs for Best in Show.
Pour out some spiked apple cider for your soon-to-be picked pumpkin homies, which will become the main display at New York Botanical Garden’s pumpkin garden. These monstrous gourds—weighing up to 1,800 pounds—are available for your photo-taking pleasure.
Hop on a trolley outfitted to look like a Victorian funeral parlor—think chandeliers and velvet curtains—for a trip through the shadows of historic Brooklyn. The tour visits the secret location where Murder, Inc. disposed of bodies, alien abduction sites along the Brooklyn Bridge, a brothel and more. We particularly like the company’s hashtag: #rideordie.
Once upon a time, people lived in building now called the Merchant’s House Museum. Then they died...but their spirits may not have moved on. This 50-minute tour reveals the dark, haunted past of this old structure—as well as its spooky present. Has all that construction nearby has dredged the ghosts from their slumber?
The Bronx Zoo goes all out for Halloween every weekend in October. After a hayride in the haunted forest, catch acoustic performances, beer and food-truck bites at Bootoberfest (noon–4pm), take part in a costume parade (noon–2pm), and face spectral birds of horror lore, including ravens, vultures and owls (11am–3pm).
Now in it’s 44th year, march with the ghouls during NYC’s infamous Halloween Parade. This year’s theme is Cabinet of Curiosities, so feel free to create an imaginary menagerie in costume. Sign up via their website now to volunteer to be a puppeteer or a performer in the procession; to walk in the parade, just turn up in an amazing outfit. Line up at Sixth Avenue and Canal St. The parade goes down Sixth Ave from Spring St to 16th St.
Before the opening of its new Prospect Park–adjacent location in 2018, Nitehawk Cinema opens the former Pavilion Theater for a wild preview day, featuring a haunted cinema experience, free treats and suds from Brooklyn Brewery, Halloween crafting, an author reading from Community Bookstore and raffle prizes.
Looking for more Halloween parties?
Looking for Halloween parties? NYC’s 2016 calendar has the best fests for dressing in your spookiest costumes.