The great thing about living in a great sprawling metropolis like New York City is that no matter what day or even hour you are there, it will always have something going on. It could be something completely normal or wonderfully weird. Nothing combines normal and weird better than Halloween, and in New York City, there are hundreds of ways to celebrate it when October rolls around. Whether you are looking for something family-friendly or completely debauched, the city will provide.
Village Halloween Parade
Why not start with the most well-known Halloween event in the city? If you have never made the trek out to Greenwich Village for this very famous parade, this year is the year to do so. With over 50,000 zombies, ghouls, witches, and vampires shambling along, it is one of the biggest Halloween parades in the country. The energy alone is worth a visit, but the costumes are always the highest of the top tier as people go completely all out. If you want to march in the parade, be sure to put on a costume first and wedge yourself in.
Halloween Dog Costume Contest
If you’d rather see costumes on dogs than people, skip the parade at the Village and instead head to Fort Greene Park. As one of the larger and nicer dog parks in the city, of course, they go all out for their pups when any holiday rolls around. For over 20 years, this park has been celebrating Halloween with a costume contest for dogs complete with judging and prizes. Like the people dressing up in the Village, the people dressing up their dogs here go above and beyond with the costumes. Not just for the prizes, but because they are competing with the other dog owners they see in this park all the time. It’s a real treat for everyone involved.
Ghosts of New York Tours
If you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit in the weeks leading up to Halloween, you can skip the cheesy haunted houses that are out in abundance throughout the city. Instead, choose to sample something real with the Ghosts of New York Tours. Choose from a variety of different themed tours that explore the very real history and the very possibly real ghosts that haunt the city. Sightings aren’t guaranteed, but you will learn some truly blood-curdling stories.
If you do enjoy haunted houses, but not-actually-haunted and really scary haunted houses then you need to visit Blood Manor who has built a reputation for terror over 14 years. This Tribeca haunted house is a 5,000 square foot amplifier of your deepest fears. Put on your bravest face and dive on in. Trust us when we say this isn’t a house of cheesy scares. They put a lot of effort into creating a real terrifying experience here.
Halloween at the American Museum of Natural History
If you are looking for a unique way to spend Halloween that isn’t as crazy as the city can get, this is a great option. The Museum of Natural History opens its doors to visitors on Halloween for a party. Not only is seeing the museum at night a treat, but they also provide events for the whole family. Bring the kids for trick or treating, Halloween-themed crafts, and performances. You can even take a break and carve some pumpkins.
Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla
If you find yourself bored at the end of October and just want to get out of the house, head on down to Central Park for the pre-Halloween pumpkin flotilla. Much like how it sounds, it is carved pumpkins floated all in a line and floated on the Harlem Meer. When the sun sets and they are all lit up, it is a special sight to behold. You can even reserve some space on the flotilla if you want to submit your own pumpkin for the event. With crafts, live entertainment, as well as a parade, it is a nice way to enjoy the season and made even better since admission is free.
Japanese Horror at the BAM
There are a lot of movie screenings throughout New York around Halloween – Little Shop of Horrors, Hocus Pocus, Stanley Kubrick films, ect. However, if you are in the mood for good scary movies, head on down to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for their showings of Japanese horror films. They have less spine-tingling showings of Godzilla films and then they have showings of films like Kwaiden which display while Japanese horror is the king of horror.
Boo at the Zoo
Want to take the little ones out for some fun before the trick or treating battle royale? Why not head to the Bronx Zoo for their Boo at the Zoo event. They offer night walks around the zoo for the whole family – one with liquor for adults and one with a pizza party for kids. However, there are more than just the animals to enjoy here, they offer a whole slew of events like parades, magic shows, and pumpkin carving. There is also a fair amount of candy to be found and a beer tent for the parents.
Crypt Crawl at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
You might have been in the Church of Saint John the Divine during the day, but Halloween opens up a portion that most people haven’t seen – the crypt. If you want to see where the dead are entombed in the church, the open up the crypt for tours on Halloween where you can explore and be regaled with tales of those at rest there.
Halloween at Prospect Park
Like most parks in New York City, Prospect Park sets itself up big for Halloween. It is a great place to take the family to have a little spooky fun for all ages. Enjoy tamer activities with the young ones or see how brave your older kids are with a charming(ly terrifying) walk through the haunted woods. It is a free event, so expect quite a large crowd.