If you’re thinking about spending Halloween in NYC, we put together a whole bunch of spooky New York activities for you to check out.
Scarecrows & Pumpkins
New York Botanical Garden
For all of October, the New York Botanical Garden will feature a garden contained dozens of intricately carved pumpkins, gourds, and other festive décor.
The Haunted Pumpkin Garden has a few spooky elements, but it’s a great attraction for small children.
Getting In: Admission to Halloween events at the NY Botanical Garden are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Halloween at the Museum
American Museum of Natural History
Each year, the American Museum of Natural History opens all of their exhibit spaces to celebrate Halloween.
Kids can enjoy for trick-or-treating, themed crafts, performances, and even pumpkin carving – all within the great halls of the museum.
It’s an ideal opportunity to explore their many treasures while soaking up the holiday spirit. The perfect activity for the whole family!
Getting In: Admission to the American Museum of Natural History and Halloween events (check their website for specific dates) are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium
Head to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! for a spooky experience. Halloween or not, it may be one of the most frightening attractions in NYC.
The carnival-like atmosphere and completely bizarre exhibits are ideal for a Halloween outing. From authentic shrunken heads to sword-swallowing sideshow performers, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is freakish and unforgettable.
Getting In: Admission to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! is included with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Ghouls and Gourds
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden “Ghouls and Gourds” is great for families who are busy in the weekday evenings or don’t want their kids staying out too late on a school night.
This outdoor event includes lots of performances, arts and crafts, and circus-style events. Join in the costume parade (amid stilt walkers and enormous puppets) for a truly festive time.
Getting In: Adult admission to the Ghouls & Gourds event is separately ticketed and is not included with the New York City Explorer Pass. For more information about this event, and to purchase tickets, please visit the event website. Kids under 12 are free!
Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
This popular local parade draws millions of local spectators each year. You’ll find thousands of costumed performers, hundreds of floats, dozens of bands, and many other exciting musical acts.
One of the coolest things about this parade is its signature puppets – giant, larger-than-life rod puppets that evoke a Carnivalesque atmosphere. Many locals even participate in the parade, so it’s a really authentic NYC Halloween experience.
To watch the parade, just pick a spot somewhere along 6th Ave from Spring to 16th Street. The route is most crowded between Bleecker and 14th Street, so you may want to arrive early or find another area along the route to watch.
Getting In: It’s free to watch the Halloween parade.
Wall Street Walks Ghost Tour
Fridays & Saturdays in October
New York City’s most notorious spots are also some of its spookiest.
A historic neighborhood with roots stretching way back into the seventeenth century, Wall Street is filled with grave sites, creepy alleys, and plenty of historic structures.
Ghost tours are a nice educational experience for all involved, even the kids!
Getting In: Wall Street Walks Ghost Tours are separately ticketed and are not included with the New York City Explorer Pass. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the tour company website.
Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla
Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
The Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla is a unique event open to the public. Show up before 5:30 pm with a carved jack-o-lantern and register to reserve a space in the flotilla for your pumpkin (members can register online in advance).
After you register, you can take part in music, crafts, live entertainment, and parade. Then, at twilight, watch as your jack-o-lanterns set sail down the Harlem Meer, glowing in the night.
Getting In: Admission to this event is free! Check online for event details.
Halloween Happenings at Queens County Farm Museum
Visitors of the Queens County Farm Museum will be amazed at the with the forty-seven acres of farmland that have been around since 1697.
The Amazing Maize Maze is challenging fun for all ages. Visitors will have to find clues to help solve the maze puzzle and find their way out without getting too lost along the way!
The Children’s Fall Festival, a celebration of all things fall and spooky, hosts a variety of events of activities that are fun for the whole family: sack races, bounce houses, and crafts, to name a few. Families are also encouraged to come in costume to see if their outfit can beat the spooky Halloween characters roaming the grounds.
Anyone looking for a scare this Halloween should make sure to visit the Haunted House (recommended ages are 4-12). There are also a few extras like hayrides, Halloween treats, cider, apples, and more available at an additional cost.
Getting In: Admission to individual events is separately ticketed and is not included with the New York City Explorer Pass. Tickets may be purchased in person.
New York City Zombie Crawl
Beginning at The Continental
Put on your best undead face and head to the Continental to kick off a bloody Halloween celebration with live music, zombie and horror burlesque, sideshow performances, and more.
Getting In: Admission to individual venues and to get your makeup done is separately ticketed and is not included with the New York City Explorer Pass. For more information and to purchase tickets, check out their site.
Candlelight Ghost Tours of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House”
Merchant’s House Museum
Select Dates in October
Head to the Merchant’s House Museum, where the Tredwell family that occupied it for nearly 100 years never left, for a spooky, 50-minute candlelight tour of this real haunted house.
Getting In: Admission to the Merchant’s House Museum is separately ticketed and is not included with the New York City Explorer Pass. For more information and to purchase tickets, check out their site.
So there you have it. Our list of some seasonal things to do for Halloween in New York.
Remember, a few of these options are included on the New York Explorer Pass, where you can save up to 50% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Please note, the Halloween events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Explorer Pass.