What to Do for Halloween 2020 in NYC

nycgo.com staff

(Updated 10/23/2020)

The festive Village Halloween Parade may have been canceled, but Halloween in New York City is still happening. Plenty of themed outdoor activities will take place across the five boroughs, giving you a chance to pick pumpkins, dress up in costume (you’ll already be wearing a mask, right?), get the odd fright and stay socially distanced while doing so. Read on for responsible ways to celebrate the spookiest time of the year in person—and take heart that the parade organizers are planning some kind of surprise to keep the spirit and spontaneity of that event alive.

Bronx Zoo's Boo at the Zoo. Photo: Julie Larsen Maher

Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo
Thursdays­­–Sundays through November 12; also Monday, October 12
In between visits with the zoo’s creepy critters, kids can watch pumpkin carving, participate in a puppet show and see an extinct-animal graveyard.

Scarecrow, Decker Farm. Courtesy, Historic Richmond Town

Pumpkin Picking at Decker Farm
Weekends in October
Visit Decker Farm, part of Staten Island's Historic Richmond Town (though a mile away from the that site’s main village), to pick pumpkins on 10 open acres. There’s also a hay maze, seasonal snacks and, on Halloween, some frightful special activities (costumes encouraged).

The Amazing Maize Maze. Courtesy, Queens County Farm Museum

Queens County Farm Museum Fall Calendar
Through October 31
The farm has all kinds of autumn activities to get you in a Halloween state of mind. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers serves as inspiration for the reimagined Amazing Maize Maze (generally Fridays to Sundays through October 30). Maze by Moonlight is a nighttime version of the Amazing Maize Maze (October 24), There’s a weekend pumpkin patch ripe for picking; hayrides on Harvest Weekends (through October 25); and the grand finale, Halloween on the Farm (October 31).

Pumpkin Path. Courtesy, New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden’s Great Pumpkin Path
Through November 1
The garden squashes doubts of what season it is: hordes of gourds command the Conservatory Lawn and scarecrows take up residence around the grounds. On October 24, giant pumpkins join the display.

A Flick and a Feast at Juicy Lucy BBQ
October 17, 24 & 31
This Staten Island drive-in (with a side of barbecue) show movies other nights, but Saturdays (The Shining, Nightmare on Elm Street, It, Halloween) offer your best bets for edge-of-your-car-seat screams.

Courtesy, Skyline Drive-In NYC

Movies at Skyline Drive-In
October 22–25
Four nights of frightening flicks at this Greenpoint open-air theater include Sam Raimi classic The Evil Dead and the more lighthearted Hotel Transylvania.

El Dia de Los Muertos at Green-Wood Cemetery
October 23–November 1
Green-Wood’s historic chapel will be home to a large-scale community altar designed by Scherezade Garcia and inspired by those found throughout Mexico and the Mexican diaspora. Visitors can bring personal offerings to place at the altar.


Morris-Jumel Mansion. Photo: Trish Mayo

Paranormal Historical Investigations at the Morris-Jumel Mansion
October 23, November 7 and November 14
Gather to hunt ghosts and learn some NYC history, in socially distanced style, at Manhattan’s oldest residential building. Among the supposed spirits: Eliza Jumel, the onetime wife of Aaron Burr.

Staten Island Zoo Spooktacular
October 23–25
All the festivities, including a costume contest, skits and sing-alongs, will be held outdoors for this year’s version of the annual Halloween event. Get timed tickets in advance.

Halloween Week at the Queens Drive-In
October 24–25 & October 29–November 1
Outside the New York Hall of Science, a series of double features—Get Out and The Babadook,Halloween and the truly terrifying Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original releases of those two, of course)—will test how easily you scare.

Ghost Stories of Lower Manhattan
October 25 (5pm)
This tour takes visitors through the narrow streets of the Financial District and past some of the NYC's oldest—and most haunted—landmarks.

In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover
October 30 (8pm)
This is a virtual event, but when you have the chance to see Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy (reprising their Sanderson sister roles from the 1993 witchy movie Hocus Pocus) along with Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, Sarah Silverman, Martin Short, Kenan Thompson and a bunch of other stars all in a livestream performance hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, you are probably best off taking it. Better still, your $10 ticket benefits New York Restoration Project's efforts to make NYC a greener, healthier and more resilient city.

Haunted Broadway: A Halloween Pop-Up Event
October 31 (family-friendly tour at 12pm; adult tour at 7pm)
Led by theater professionals, this walking tour showcases some of the spookier legends of the Theatre District. A family-friendly version runs during the day, while adults will want to sign up for the more mature version at night.

Halloween at the Queens Botanical Garden
October 31
Get the kids ready for a costumed trick-or-treat trail and a magic show. There’s also a pumpkin patch on hand (open October 24–25 as well).

116 Waverly Place, Greenwich Village, where Edgar Allan Poe reportedly first read "The Raven." Photo: Molly Flores

New York City Ghosts Tour of Greenwich Village
Through December 1 (nightly at 8pm)
Is there a more appropriate neighborhood for an NYC ghost tour than the Village? Take this hourlong tour to visit notorious spots such as the so-called House of Death, where Mark Twain lived; a residence where Edgar Allan Poe wrote some of his creepy tales; and a restaurant said to be haunted by the ghost of Aaron Burr.


Tour Noir: A Dame to Guide for
Ongoing (daily at 1pm)
Prepare yourself for a theatrical downtown adventure: you’ll search for clues to solve the mystery behind a man’s disappearance as you visit landmarks and neighborhoods around Lower Manhattan.