8 things you can do to celebrate Halloween in New York City (if you dare)
It’s fall in New York City, which means three things. We’re taking long walks through the changing fall foliage, sipping new, autumnal Starbucks flavors. We’re swapping our chic summer sundresses for cozy fall sweaters. And most importantly, we’re gearing up for Halloween in New York City.
As with all holidays, New Yorkers go nuts for Halloween. Brownstones get decked out from head to toe with fake cobwebs. Pumpkins appear on every stoop. Even the Empire State Building has been known to perform an impressive light show set to Halloween-themed music.
There are so many places to pick pumpkins, and don costumes, and get your fill of both tricks and treats. To give you a heads up, here’s how to celebrate Halloween in New York City — all October long!
1The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze, various evenings in October
This is Halloween like you’ve never seen it before. The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze is a truly magical experience. Up in the Hudson Valley at Van Cortlandt Manor, wind your way through a trail blazed by over 7,000 brilliantly glowing jack o’ lanterns. But impressive carvings are just the beginning. These pumpkins also form impressive sculptures, arches, and more. The trip takes less than an hour — just hop on the Metro-North Hudson Line and take the train to Croton-Harmon.
2Twilight Tours at Green-Wood Cemetery, various evenings in October
Wanna get spooked? Tour Green-Wood Cemetery at sunset. It offers you the chance to explore the grounds and get a closer look at gorgeous 19th-century monuments. All in all, the experience is much more educational than it is scary. Bonus: The tour takes you inside the catacombs, which are closed to the public. BYOF: Bring your own flashlight.
3Halloween Harvest at Luna Park, weekends through October 29th
Is there a more festive place to get in the Halloween spirit than Coney Island? All month long, Luna Park hosts the Halloween Harvest. You can ride rides, play games, and pick (and decorate!) a pumpkin inside Blackbeard’s Pumpkin Patch. The family-friendly fun happens every weekend from now through Sunday, 10/29.
4The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, October 21st
We love a good creative Halloween costume — especially if it’s for a dog. At the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, the pooches take center stage. Hundreds of doggos show off their creativity for a chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes and bragging rights at their local dog park.
5Night of 1,000 Jack O’ Lanterns, October 26th through 29th
Hop on the ferry to Governors Island to experience NYC’s newest Halloween tradition. Night of 1,000 Jack O’ Lanterns features over 1,000 pumpkins — a.k.a. over 20,000 pounds of pumpkins — intricately carved and painted by local artists. Plus, live carving demonstrations by top jack o’ lantern artists. And it’s all set against sweeping nighttime views of the Manhattan skyline.
6A Nite to Dismember, October 28th
Nitehawk’s annual all-night Halloween movie marathon is back! Every year, the Williamsburg theatre screens five scary-good horror films. This year’s titles are The Masque of the Red Death, The Old Dark House, Ringu, The Babadook, and The Manitou. There’s also a costume contest, trivia, goodie bags, and even breakfast when dawn hits. Think you can handle the horror? The fun starts at midnight on Saturday — meaning, arrive by 11:45 p.m. on Friday to snag seats.
7Schtick or Treat, October 29th
If your favorite part about Halloween is telling knock-knock jokes, this one’s for you. Schtick or Treat, hosted by comedians Matt Ruby and Mark Normand, is a Brooklyn tradition. You might do a double take, because the poster for the event boasts names like Amy Schumer, Jimmy Fallon, and George Carlin. But the show features comedians performing as our favorite comedy legends. It’s a night of costumes and jokes at their finest.
8The Village Halloween Parade, October 31st
It all leads up to the Village Halloween Parade. Every October 31st at 7 p.m., the city’s most festive gather to march up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street in Manhattan. Make sure you wear a costume — it’s mandatory! And people seriously go all out. Not in the mood to dress up? Post up at a bar or restaurant along Sixth Avenue for some serious people watching, Halloween-style.