All the cool and spooky Halloween happenings in NYC this year

October 9, 2019

Image courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy.

Some say Halloween is New York City’s favorite holiday. And while those who indulge in its fright-fraught fun may celebrate in different ways, there’s a scare out there for everyone. We’re all under the spell of the fabulous Village Halloween Parade, from its history to its most avid participants; if that doesn’t satisfy your craving for fright-week fun, peruse our list of Halloween happenings from family-friendly to extra freaky.

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Family-friendly events

Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla 2019
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues)
October 30, 2019, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Halloween fun for the whole family awaits at this Central Park celebration. Events include pumpkin carving, crafts, spooky stories, a costume parade, a festive pumpkin patch and the park’s signature Pumpkin Flotilla in which carved pumpkins set sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight.

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Photo by Istolethetv via Flickr.

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Photo courtesy of Fort Greene Focus via Flickr.

The 29th Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade*
Sunday, October 20th, 2019 from noon – 3 p.m.
*Please note that this year’s parade will be held at the East River Park Amphitheater located alongside the FDR at Grand Street instead of in Tompkins Park.
Some of the most creative costumes you’ve ever seen on four legs will be on display at the famous dog costume parade, with hundreds of dogs in costumes and thousands of spectators. This year’s contestants will be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes. No need to register in advance, and the event is free. In Brooklyn, the 21st annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest dog parade and costume contest is happening on Saturday, October 26th at 11:30 a.m. in Fort Greene Park. Registration is required; priority advance registration for the first 80 contest entrants will be available here for a donation of $12, and n-site registration will open at 10:30 a.m. on the day of the event.

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Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher courtesy of Bronx Zoo

Boo at the Zoo 
The Bronx Zoo
See site schedule for exact dates and locations
Weekends through November 3
Weekends bring annual Halloween fun for all ages to the Bronx Zoo, including an extinct animal graveyard, magic shows, pumpkin carving demos, a candy trail, a costume parade and much more.

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Image courtesy of Prospect Park Alliance via Flickr.

Prospect Park Halloween Haunted Walk + Fair
Prospect Park Nethermead
Saturday, October 26 , 12 pm – 3 pm
Prospect Park Alliance invites ghosts and ghouls of all ages to the 40th Annual Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair. This annual event brings thousands of kids and families for free fun to Prospect Park for a spooky stroll that stumbles on zombies, werewolves, witches and other Halloween spirits on the way through the woodland Lookout Hill. A Halloween Fair on the Nethermead features activities and sweet and savory treats from some of the city’s top food trucks.

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Image courtesy of Bosstweed via Flickr.

29th Annual Children’s Halloween Parade 
meet under the arch in Washington Square Park
Thursday, October 31, 2019, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
NYU and Manhattan Community Board 2 invite you to join the 29th Annual Children’s Halloween Parade, one of the city’s largest free children’s Halloween events. Parents and children can gather at the arch in Washington Square Park by 3:00 pm. After the parade you’ll find free trick-or-treat bags, games, and rides on LaGuardia Place between Washington Square South and West 3rd Street.

Night of 1,000 jack o lanterns, halloween, pumpkins, events, governors island
Live carving at Night of 1000 Jack-o-Lanterns. Image courtesy of the RISE.

Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns at Governors Island ↑
Admiral’s Row
Oct 17 – Oct 27, 2019, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Come experience over 1,000 illuminated jack o’lanterns, hand-carved by artists using real pumpkins: Upon arrival on the island, it’s a short walk to the jack o’lantern trail. Along the way, take in breathtaking nighttime views of the Manhattan skyline on a trail that features LED-lit jack o’lanterns staged along a festive, paved, illuminated tree-lined pathway against a backdrop of centuries-old buildings. Advance tickets are required, see event site for more information.

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Photo credit: Queens County Farm Museum.

FaBOOlous Fall on the Farm: Halloween events at the Queens County Farm Museum ↑
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, New York
If you love a corn maze, a pumpkin patch and a chance to experience the season’s harvest bounty–all within city limits–visit the Queens County Farm Museum for all of the above and more. Check the calendar for details.

Offbeat events and scary soirees

MoMA ps1 halloween ball, susanne bartsch, moma ps1, halloween, events
MoMA PS1’s Halloween Ball with Susanne Bartsch: Cirque de Musée on October 27, 2018. Photo courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo by Ryan Muir.

Halloween Ball with Susanne Bartsch: Valley of the Dolls ↑
Friday, October 25, 8:00 p.m.

MoMA PS1 (afterparty to follow at Elsewhere in Brooklyn)
Tickets: $18-55; afterparty: $20-25
MoMA PS1 and New York nightlife legend Susanne Bartsch team up for the eighth annual Halloween Ball: This year, find yourself in the infamous Valley of the Dolls, with outrageous live performances, tableaux vivants, DJs, and elaborate costumes beneath a VW Dome dressed in “a kaleidoscopic riot of anarchic sex dolls, candy-popping nurses, and beehived beauties.”

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Photo via Flickr

Screening of “Nosferatu” (1922) with live organ improv; Procession of the Ghouls at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine ↑
The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue
Friday, October 25, 7 and 10 pm
General admission: $27.50
Lovers of the avant-garde and the truly spooky will love this screening of F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” accompanied live by organist Timothy Brumfield on the Cathedral’s Great Organ, followed by the procession of Ralph Lee and the Mettawee River Theater Company’s ghosts and ghouls, Mr. Lee’s fantastic creatures of the night.

Haunted Hop 2018. 

Halloween Haunted Hop 2019 Presented by New York Night Train with Jonathan Toubin ↑
Knockdown Center, 52-19 Flushing Avenue, Maspeth, NY
October 31, 2019, 7 PM – 2 AM
21+ with ID; Tickets: $15-30
The 14th edition of the Haunted Hop by New York Night Train genius Jonathan Toubin will feature live performances by an unlikely combination of rock’n’roll legends that include The Make-Up and Quintron & Miss Pussycat and more, plus more than a dozen more bands, DJs and a labyrinth of cobwebbed rooms chock full of  music, dancing, horror cinema, performance, art, food and drinks–and a 1 AM costume contest.

A Hitchcock Halloween Party at the McKittrick Hotel ↑
The McKittrick Hotel, 530 West 27th Street
October 25th, 26th and 31st, ticket options vary

This Halloween, step into the glamorous world of Hitchcock at The McKittrick Hotel–home of the infamous Sleep No More immersive experience–for a late-night dance party that lets you explore multiple floors of the hotel in true Hitchcock fashion complete with live performances, special guest DJs, and free-flowing libations from an open bar all night long.

Historic haunts

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Image: Wikimedia cc.

Green-Wood at Night ↑
Green-Wood Cemetery, Main Entrance, Fifth Avenue and 25th Street, Brooklyn
Thursday, October 31, 6-8pm, 6:30-8:30pm and 7-9pm
Tickets: $20-25
After Green-Wood’s gates creak shut to the public, explore its historic grounds under the cover of night for a chance to visit some of the cemetery’s most intriguing monuments, including the elaborate memorial to John Matthews (the “Soda Fountain King”), Charles Calverley’s marble portrait of Precious Georgie, the formerly unmarked grave of William Poole (aka, “Bill the Butcher”), and Harvey Burdell whose famous murder in 1887 resulted in the criminal trial of the 19th Century.

halloween, events, merchants house
Photo by Hal Hirshorn courtesy of Merchant’s House Museum

19th Century Death & Mourning at the Merchant’s House 2019 (and more!) ↑
Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East Fourth Street, NYC
Check schedule for events and dates
A month of “spirited” events at the historic Merchant’s House includes a ghostly exhibit that includes 19th century mourning attire and accessories from the Tredwell Collection. Additional events include a paranormal raffle, Killing an Evening with Edgar Allan Poe: Murder at the Merchant’s HouseChant Macabre: Songs from the Crypt, Candlelight Ghost Tours and more at the house that’s been called the “#1 Most Haunted Place in NYC.”

halloween, events, brooklyn brainery
Image via wikimedia cc.

Brooklyn Brainery: Candy: From Early History to Halloween ↑
Prospect Heights Brainery, 190 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn
Tuesday, October 29, 6:30-7:45pm
Tickets: $15

The Brainery offers a class in the brief world history of candy and the origins of Halloween along with modern myths like the “razor blade in the apple.” You can rest assured that historic candy samples will abound to help you learn.

Bartow-Hell Haunted Mansion Tours 
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, 895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, NY
October 26 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Come, if you dare, to visit the historic mansion decorated for Halloween. Look out for spirits and other creatures as you shriek your way through the mansion and grounds.


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