Free Halloween Parades for New York City Kids 2012
Due to Hurricane Sandy, most parades on Wednesday, October 31 have been canceled, even the huge annual Village Halloween Parade. A few are still going on, but some we can't confirm. If in doubt, assume it has been canceled!
Everybody loves a parade, which means we're all absolutely smitten with Halloween parades. While we think every family should take the kids to the big Greenwich Village Halloween Parade at least once, it can be pretty scary. It's always insanely crowded and loud, and many of the costumes are risqué, gory or in poor taste (which we happen to love, but we realize not every parent feels that way).
If you're ready to watch it, the parade starts at 7pm on October 31 and winds its way up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street. (Plan to arrive much earlier though if you want to snag a good viewing spot.) But if your family isn't up for the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade just yet, there are plenty of smaller, kid-friendly NYC neighborhood parades, and many are part of larger fun-filled Halloween festivals. We've rounded up 19 of these community-driven Halloween processions for families to watch or march in, and most of them are FREE. If you don't live in a great trick-or-treating area, these parades are also a wonderful way to hunt for candy in another community. And check out our Halloween Fun Guide for even more seasonal fun.
Brooklyn Heights Halloween Parade – Brooklyn Heights
Pierrepont Playground, Pierrepont Street and Columbia Heights
Saturday, October 27 at 10am
Put on your costumes and head to this popular neighborhood play spot for a short procession around the premises. Afterward, there will be a bake sale to benefit the playground, face painting and a professional photographer who will snap pics of the kids in their Halloween best. Rain date is Sunday, October 28.
Coney Island Children's Halloween Parade – Coney Island
Line up at MCU Park, 1904 Surf Avenue at West 19th Street
Saturday, October 27 11am-2pm. Preregister for the parade by 1pm.
Costumed marchers will take over the boardwalk between MCU Park and Luna Park at 1:30pm. Beforehand, there will be a ton of family-friendly entertainment including music, magicians and face painting, and a Coney Island-themed costume contest. After the procession, kids can trick-or-treat in Luna Park for free. (Rides cost extra.) Weather permitting.
Carroll Park Halloween Parade – Carroll Gardens
Line up in Carroll Park between Smith and Court Streets, President and Carroll Streets
Saturday, October 27 at 11:30pm
The procession will head up Smith Street at noon toward Douglass Street, and then back to the park via Court Street. Arrive early to snag one of the free noisemakers that will be distributed to the first 200 costumed kids.
Halloween Festival – Fort Greene
Fort Greene Park on the Great Lawn, between Myrtle and Dekalb Avenues, Washington Park and St. Edwards Street
Saturday, October 27 noon-3pm
The costume parade is one of the highlights of this popular annual fest. Other attractions include a pumpkin patch, two horse-drawn carriage hayrides, a spooky cemetery, games, face painting, a costume contest for dogs (and their owners) and Habana Outpost's bicycle-powered blender, which whips up pumpkin shakes. Rain date is Sunday, October 28.
Screamin' Green Halloween – Battery Park City
World Financial Center Plaza, 200 Vesey Street near West Street
Saturday, October 27 noon-3pm
This eco-friendly fete will be held outdoors this year. Families can make masks and costumes out of recycled and repurposed household materials, bob for apples, pin the face on the pumpkin, compete in a gourd roll, hear spooky tales and follow wandering puppets and marching bands. There will also be green art projects, photo ops in front of a ghoulish green screen, organic and fair-trade sweets, and a massive costume swap. At the end, join the Ghosts and Goblins Parade and march around Battery Park City.
Halloween Family Disco & Costume Parade – Harlem
Line up at the Harlem Center Police Athletic League, 441 Manhattan Avenue at 119th Street
Saturday, October 27 at 1pm
Parade is free; $15 per family suggested donation for the party. As of October 18, the party is sold out.
Nonprofit organizations Harlem4Kids and Mocha Moms are throwing their annual Halloween bash from 1:30 to 3pm (buying advance tickets is recommended as it usually sells out). Beforehand, families are invited to participate in a costume parade around the nabe. The procession starts at the Harlem Center PAL and heads east on 119th Street to Frederick Douglass Boulevard, then ends on 118th Street. Participants will be singing two songs to the tunes of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Lyric sheets will be provided.
Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association Costume Parade – Harlem
Marcus Garvey Park, toddler playground, 124th Street between Fifth Avenue and Mount Morris Park West
Saturday, October 27 1-4pm
This local community organization is hosting many different Halloween events but the big fest and costume parade take place the Saturday before Halloween. The festivities kick off with a costume contest, after which revelers will make their way in and around Marcus Garvey Park. Bring your noisemakers, drums, rattles and whistles. Other attractions include FDNY and NYPD vehicles, arts and crafts, and games.
Children's Halloween Parade & Party – Greenpoint
Line up near the Polish & Slavic Center, 176 Java Street between Manhattan Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard
Saturday, October 27 2-5pm
Parade is free, $5 per person for the party.
Arrive early is you want to snag a balloon, fake tattoo or face paint to go with your costume. Or show up at 3pm for the procession itself which heads down Manhattan Avenue to Driggs Avenue and back again. An indoor movie party follows at the Polish & Slavic Center.
Halloween Costume Parade – Soho
Line up at the Scholastic Store, 557 Broadway between Prince and Spring Streets
Saturday, October 27 at 3pm
Families parade through the streets led by Clifford the Big Red Dog. Afterward, revelers return to the bookstore to make creepy crafts (monster-blood), play the new Wii Goosebumps’ game and spin the Wheel of Misfortune for a spooky prize.
Washington Market Park Halloween Costume Parade & Party – Tribeca
Line up at CitiGroup Plaza, Greenwich Street at North Moore Street at 12:45pm
Sunday, October 28 1-3pm
This very popular neighborhood fete (read: crowded) begins with a parade down Greenwich Street to the park. Once there, kids can groove to a Princess Katie & Racer Steve concert, play games, do arts and crafts, and navigate a tricky hay maze. Leave your stroller at home or check it at the entrance; they're not allowed in the park.
Halloween: Parade & Pumpkin Sail – Harlem
Dana Discovery Center in Central Park, enter at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues
Sunday, October 28 4-6:30 pm
This event has been canceled due to the approaching hurricane. The festivities begin with spooky music, marshmallow crafts and other seasonal activities and entertainment. Afterward, kids can join a cool costume parade around the northeastern edge of the park (that seems to get bigger every year!), followed by the release of a fleet of floating pumpkins in the Harlem Meer. Weather permitting.
Greenwich Village Children's Halloween Parade – Greenwich Village
Still trying to confirm whether this is happening, but we doubt it since NYU is closed that day. Line up at the Washington Square Park Arch, Fifth Avenue and Washington Square Park North
Wednesday, October 31 3-6pm
At this G-rated version of the Greenwich Village parade (organized by New York University and Community Board 2), costumed children ages 3-12 and their parents march around Washington Square Park led by the Soul Tigers Marching Band. Afterward, stay for treats, live entertainment, rides and face painting.
Witches Walk – Williamsburg
Wednesday, October 31 at 4pm
Line up outside The Flying Squirrel, 96 North 6th Street between Wythe and Berry Streets
We confirmed that this parade is indeed going on! Organized by the owner of The Flying Squirrel, the procession hits three local spots for trick-or-treating. After the parade, families can hit Klub4Kidz for an all-ages party for $10.
Cobble Hill Halloween Parade – Cobble Hill
Line up in Cobble Hill Park, Clinton Street and Verandah Place
Wednesday, October 31 at 4pm
We confirmed this procession is still on! Just as in years past, this parade will wind its way through the neighborhood with the Jah Pan Steel Drum Band leading the way. Afterward, families can trick-or-treat on Clinton Street. Make sure you pass by the incredible Halloween pumpkin house on Kane Street, which we hope survived the storm.
Jackson Heights Halloween Parade – Jackson Heights
This parade has officially been canceled. Line up at 37th Avenue and 89th Street
Wednesday, October 31 at 4:30pm
Did you know that the Jackson Heights Halloween Parade is the second-largest Halloween parade in New York City? But unlike the big Greenwich Village parade, this one is all about the kids—approximately 3,000 of them show up every year! At the end of the procession, goodie bags are distributed.
Prospect Park South Parade – Prospect Park South
This parade has officially been canceled. Line up at the corner of Albemarle and Westminster Roads
Wednesday, October 31 at 5pm
Local families gather on the corner and then march through the nabe.
West Midwood Halloween Parade – West Midwood
Line up at Glenwood and Rugby Roads
Wednesday, October 31 at 4pm
We confirmed this one's still happening! The procession starts at 4:30pm and heads around the neighborhood.
Park Slope Civic Council Children’s Halloween Parade – Park Slope
This parade has officially been canceled. Line up at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street
Wednesday, October 31 at 6:30pm
The Park Slope Parade is another huge family procession. Little ghouls and goblins can march along Seventh Avenue to Third Street, then turn left to Fifth Avenue and end at the Old Stone House, where the party continues with live music, dancing and other festivities.
Hippo Playground Halloween Parade – Upper West Side
Line up at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Riverside Drive at 89th Street
Saturday, November 3 3:45-5:45pm
Even though this annual parade was canceled on Halloween, the organizers rescheduled it for Saturday. Little revelers can follow bagpipers down the steep slope to Riverside Park's beloved playground, where they'll get into the spirit with complimentary cider and doughnuts.
There are also Halloween parades at many local family spots. The Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden's Haunted Pumpkin Garden and Ghouls & Gourds at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden all offer families a chance to show off their costumes with the price of admission.
Did we miss a parade? Submit it to our Event Calendar or leave the info in the comments.
For more seasonal fun check out our Halloween Guide.
- Halloween 2011 for NYC Kids: Things to Do on Monday, October 31
- Halloween 2012 for NYC Kids: Yes, There Are Still a Few Things to Do on Wednesday, October 31 Despite the Hurricane
- Halloween Happenings and Parades in Fairfield County, CT
- Halloween Costume Parties, Carnivals and other Fun Events in Hartford County, CT