Halloween is quickly approaching, and with that comes the opportunity for an assortment of celebrations, both kid-friendly fun activities and some that are a little scarier. If you are looking for some great Halloween fun, New York City is a great place to live. Here’s just a sampling of the great activities in our area.
Candlelight Ghost Tours
When: October 19,20, and 24-30, every half hour from 6:30-9:30 pm
Where: Merchant’s House Museum (29 East Fourth Street, New York, NY 10003)
If you are interested in haunted houses, these Candlelight Ghost Tours are a must. Merchant’s House Museum is considered “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House.” The tour covers all four floors of the house and includes stories of phantoms, voices calling in the night, and other scary experiences people have had in the house where seven members of the family died. Tours last for 50 minutes, and you will be walking up and down several sets of stairs. The doors open ten minutes before each tour starts, and no one can join the group once the tour group has left the first room (about 10 minutes after the tour start time), so be on time. The tours are $40/person.
Village Halloween Parade
When: October 31, 6:30-10:30 pm (may run a little later)
Where: 6th Avenue from Spring to 16th Street
The theme for the 45th Annual Halloween Parade is I AM a Robot! Only those in costumes are able to participate in the actual parade, but you are welcome to watch even if you did not dress up. If you don’t want to come up with a costume yourself, you can also volunteer to animate a puppet. For those in costumes, the celebration starts at 6:30 pm at 6th Avenue at Canal Street. Enjoy music, dancing, and just overall a great time with other people who are dressed up for Halloween. The parade starts at 7 pm and lasts until about 10:30 pm. It goes from Spring Street to 16th Street. If this is your first time participating in the parade, don’t worry. You won’t get lost. Just follow the group up 6th Avenue.
Whether you decide to participate in the parade or you prefer to be a spectator, do not attempt to drive your own vehicle. Parking will be pretty much impossible, and getting out after the parade will be even harder. Taking the subway is probably your best bet. If you are enjoying the event with family and friends, travel together or meet a few blocks from the parade route to ensure that you can find your whole group. If you want to enjoy the parade without the crowd, you can also watch it live on NY1 from 8-9:30 pm.
Scarecrows and Pumpkins
When: September 22-October 31 10 am-6 pm
Where: New York Botanical Gardens (2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458-5126)
If you are looking for a fun family-friendly activity to enjoy with your children, Scarecrows and Pumpkins is a great option. It takes place at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. You and your children can enjoy looking at over 100 friendly scarecrows as well as see an assortment of great pumpkins and other gourds. Take a few pictures next to some of the extra large gourds, which are often bigger than some of the small guests. You may even get to see a World Record pumpkin or other squash. This event is a fun way to celebrate Halloween if you have little ones (or even older ones) in your household who would prefer to skip the scary parts of the holiday.
There are also guided activities, such as potting spider plants or looking for bugs in the ponds or soil. They take place 1:30-5:30 pm on weekdays and 10 am-5:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. There are also an assortment of fun weekend-only activities happening. For example, your children can see creepy Halloween creatures, such as bats and reptiles. For parents who want to provide a safe trick-or-treating experience for their children, that is another fun weekend activity that is generally held about a week or two before Halloween.
Bayville Scream Park
When: September 21-November 4 6 pm-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 6 pm-midnight Friday and Saturday
Where: 8 Bayville Drive, Long Island, New York 11709
While it is located a little outside of New York City, Bayville Scream Park is worth the trip if you want a fun, scary adventure. It includes six main attractions, all of which are not recommended for guests younger than 10. Guests under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult. The attractions include Bloodworth Haunted Mansion, where according to the legend, a doctor performed Frankenstein-like experiments on corpses. Recently, flickering lights and inhuman sounds have been coming from the mansion. You can also enjoy attractions dealing with funhouse mirrors and a creepy clown, zombies, cursed pirates, deranged psychiatric patients, and strange cannibalistic humans with a contagious virus.
You can purchase tickets to enjoy one, two, three, or all six attractions. If you plan on visiting this scary theme park throughout the season, you may want to get the season pass, which gives one person unlimited access to all the attractions every night of the season. While the park does not close until the last guest has left, it does get busier throughout the night, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Be sure to arrive early to avoid the longer lines.
Bayville Scream Park also has Kids “Not So Scary” Days, which are great for younger children or even slightly older children who might be scared by the typical Bayville Scream Park activities. They take place on Saturdays and Sundays and on Columbus Day from 11 am-6 pm. During “Not So Scary” Days, the haunted houses are still available, but they are toned down a little, eliminating the actors and special effects, making them more appropriate for younger guests. There are also other activities available, such as Pirate Adventure Miniature Golf, Spooky Tree Top Adventure, and Halloween Story Telling.
Of course, these are just a few of the great ways to celebrate Halloween. There are many other great ways to have fun this Halloween with your family and friends.