Boo York City: Halloween for Kids


by Heather Liang, 09/16/2014

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Make New York City your Halloween haven this fall and enjoy kid-friendly events across the five boroughs. Though the holiday isn't until the very end of the month, the City is famous for celebrating all October long. Below is a grouping of some favorites, all of which are appropriate for the younger set. From the various Boo at the Zoo celebrations to other spookalicious events like Dia de los Muertos and Hansel and Gretel's Halloween Adventure, the City has it all. Read on for our picks of the creepiest, crawliest and eeriest Halloween happenings for kids.

Haunted Pumpkin Garden

New York Botanical Garden

September 20–October 31
The crowd-pleasing Haunted Pumpkin Garden is back at the New York Botanical Garden. Hundreds of intricately carved pumpkins are on display at the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, where Halloween Parades take place throughout the month. On weekends, kids can confront bugs, bats and other creatures in the garden.

Boo at the Zoo: Dragons and Dinosaurs

Bronx Zoo

October 4–November 2 (weekends)

Get into the Halloween spirit with Boo at the Zoo, taking place at the Bronx Zoo every weekend in October and into early November. Enjoy family and kids' activities, including magic shows, costume parades, a hay maze, pumpkin painting, live music and more. This year's activities are themed around the zoo’s lifelike animatronic dinosaur experience as well as the real-life dinosaurs in the Komodo dragon exhibition. Visitors can also get an up-close look at all the creepy critters on display within the zoo.

Enchanted Wave Hill
Wave Hill
October 18–19
Bring your little ones to Enchanted Wave Hill for two days of storytelling and craft making inspired by local folklore and fairy tales. Build tiny houses of sticks, leaves and pixie dust for woodland creatures, and take part in a collaborative painting project. Behold the magic of these Bronx woods!

Ghouls, Goblins and Ghost Trains: A Ride to Woodlawn Cemetery

Woodlawn Cemetery
October 25
Woodlawn Cemetery is the final resting place of some very famous people, like Herman Melville, Joseph Pulitzer and Duke Ellington, and on this date you'll get the chance to visit them. Take a creepy Halloween ride to the Bronx cemetery in subway cars that date back to World War II. Once at the site, enjoy a picnic dinner before heading out for a twilight tour that highlights unsolved mysteries and some of the untimely demises of Woodlawn's more infamous residents. Following the tour, guests will be transported out of the cemetery once again on the vintage train.

Monster Mash

Brooklyn Children's Museum
October 24–25

Come to the Brooklyn Children's Museum for a kid-friendly Halloween bash. Take part in craft making, a DJ dance party, not-too-scary storytelling sessions and much more. This event is appropriate for all ages, and children are encouraged to arrive in their Halloween finest.

Halloween Haunted Walk and Carnival
Prospect Park

October 25

Make your way to Prospect Park's Lookout Hill, where zombies, werewolves, witches and headless horsemen lurk in this outdoor haunted house. For some less-spooky fun, head to the Nethermead for games and seasonal snacks.

Boo at the Zoo
Prospect Park Zoo
October 25–26
For two days, Prospect Park Zoo celebrates Halloween with bats, baboons and various live animal encounters. This kid-oriented Halloween event also offers arts and crafts, face painting and the opportunity to watch zoo critters gobble down Halloween food. Don't be afraid to dress the part: costumes are encouraged.

Hansel and Gretel's Halloween Adventure
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre

October 1–November 1

Created specifically for Central Park's Marionette Theatre, Hansel and Gretel's Halloween Adventure begins with the children safe at home. They have vivid dreams—with Belvedere Castle and the park in starring roles—that set the scene for an NYC Halloween adventure in which the duo encounter mermaids, monsters, pirates and vampires. 

Downtown New York Ghost Tours
Wall Street Walks
October 4–31
Lower Manhattan is considered the City's most haunted neighborhood, and this tour takes you through the Financial District's underworld of cemeteries, haunted sites, dark alleys and the former home of Captain Kidd. Among the spirits you might meet are those of folks driven crazy following the Great Stock Market crash or the famous Kipp's Bay horseman.

Dia de los Muertos

El Museo del Barrio
October 18

Celebrate the spirit world with El Museo del Barrio’s Dia de los Muertos (the "Day of the Dead"), a 3,000-year-old Mexican holiday in which living family members honor and pray for those who have passed on. El Museo encourages participants to add their own offerings to its altar; face painting, storytelling, dance performances and a lively procession will also take place. 

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade
Tompkins Square Park
October 25
The always-adorable Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade returns to the East Village for its 24th annual installment. Dog owners go all out to dress up their canine friends, often choosing timely and humorous costumes. In the past, dogs have been everything from iPhones and a twerking Miley Cyrus atop a dog dressed as Robin Thicke to more City-themed getups like MTA buses and hot dog vendors. And owners often join in on the fun, dressing to match their four-legged companions. Prizes are awarded, so expect to see the best of the best at this beloved event.

Brookfield Place Halloween Party
Brookfield Place Winter Garden
October 26
Come in your Halloween best to this free, family-friendly spookfest in Lower Manhattan. Strut down the Costume Catwalk, get your picture taken at the Freaky Photo Op Mosaic Wall, get your face painted while you apply some temporary tattoos, listen to spooky stories, see magic tricks, go trick-or-treating and much more.

Halloween Celebration

American Museum of Natural History

October 31

The museum's halls remain open until 7pm for trick-or-treating, crafts, live performances and cartoon encounters. Characters such as Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog will be on hand, as will circus acts and kid-oriented musicians.    


The Amazing Maize Maze

Queens County Farm Museum

September 20–October 26 (weekends)  

One of New York's hidden treasures, the Queens County Farm Museum is the five boroughs' only honest-to-goodness working farm—a welcome refuge of agrarian bliss tucked away in our vast metropolis. The farm's annual Amazing Maize Maze finds kids of all ages making their way through a three-acre cornstalk labyrinth. (It's like The Shining, but dread-free!) Kids can also pick pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch.

Halloween Harvest Festival

Socrates Sculpture Park 

October 25

Outdoor arts space Socrates Sculpture Park hosts its seasonal artistic celebration. Prep for Halloween by crafting a costume alongside the park's artists, listen to music and enjoy seasonal foods from local restaurants. Face painting and a canine costume contest are also on the agenda.

Boo at the Zoo
Queens Zoo
October 2526
Head to the 11-acre Queens Zoo in Flushing Meadows Corona Park for a weekend full of fun and spooky events. From 11am to 4pm, families can enjoy trick-or-treating and making crafts, while watching pumas and bears tear into treat-filled pumpkins. And, for those who dare, take an adventurous walk through a haunted habitat in the zoo's Wild Room.

Staten Island
Halloween Extravaganza

Conference House Museum
October 25

The Conference House Association invites you to Staten Island for its Halloween Extravaganza, featuring a costume parade, magician, haunted kitchen, hay rides, face painting and many other activities.

Halloween in Richmond Town

Historic Richmond Town
October 31

Add some period style to Halloween at Historic Richmond Town. The usual fun—crafts, games, costumes and some friendly ghouls and ghosts—is in store, in the confines of a colonial village that preserves hundreds of years of early American history. Reservations are required: call 718-351-1611 ext. 281. Kids can also pick pumpkins at Decker Farm on Saturdays and Sundays throughout October.

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    New York Botanical Garden
    2900 Southern Blvd.
    Bronx – Bedford Park
    NY 10458
  2. 2
    Bronx Zoo
    2300 Southern Blvd.
    NY 10460
  3. 3
    El Museo del Barrio
    1230 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – East Harlem/El Barrio
    NY 10029
  1. 4
    Socrates Sculpture Park
    32-01 Sculpture Park at Broadway; mail: P.O. Box 6259
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11106
  2. 5
    Historic Richmond Town
    441 Clarke Ave.
    Staten Island – Richmond Town
    NY 10306
  3. 6
    Brooklyn Children's Museum
    145 Brooklyn Ave.
    Brooklyn – Crown Heights
    NY 11213
  1. 7
    Prospect Park
    95 Prospect Park West
    Multiple Locations
    NY 11215
  2. 8
    American Museum of Natural History
    Central Park West at 79th St.
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10024
  3. 9
    Queens County Farm Museum
    73-50 Little Neck Pkwy.
    NY 11004

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