Halloween

Ultimate Halloween Guide for NYC Kids: Parades, Costumes, More

For New York City kids, Halloween doesn't just take place on October 31. The entire month is filled with a terrifying number of costume parades, pumpkin festivals, and plenty of FREE Halloween happenings leading up to the big night of trick-or-treating. You think getting your kid to choose a costume is hard? Trying to figure out which celebrations to hit is enough to make you run screaming into the night, which is why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season.

You'll find top picks for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and several fun family day trips to the nearby Hudson Valley and New Jersey. As always, we included only our favorite events, and many are FREE or inexpensive. To make sure your brood is truly prepared, we've also included info on where to get children's costumes and professional makeup done in NYC. Booyah!

Westchester's Top Haunted Houses and Halloween Events for Kids

Think you can handle the Creepy Morgue at Playland or survive the Haunt at Rocky Ledge? Whether you’re local or a daytripper, Westchester is a hot spot of exciting and fun (and terrifying!) Halloween happenings for children. We've collected some of the best frights, a couple ideas better suited for the younger ghouls, and a few fun parades in the Lower Hudson Valley.  

Keep in mind that the listed age minimums are suggested by the event producers. You know your kid best—what’s no big deal to one grade-schooler could cause nightmares for weeks to another.

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Pumpkin Patches Near NYC Where Kids Can Pick Their Own

We can't deny it any longer: The Halloween season is upon us! And what's All Hallows' Eve without the perfect pumpkin? Sure you can grab one from the local farmers' market, grocery store, or one of the few pumpkin patches right here in New York City in a pinch. But for a more immersive experience, head to the country to pick your own this fall. Many of these farms and orchards offer additional activities for kids, including hayrides, bouncy houses, corn mazes, and apple picking, so you can expand your hunt into a family day trip.

Like our recent profile of nearby pick-your-own-apple orchards, these 12 pumpkin patches are all about an hour from Midtown Manhattan by car. We even found a few reachable via public transportation.

Halloween Events in Salem, MA: Spooky, Not-Too-Scary Fun for Little Ones

If your kids are like mine, they started getting excited for Halloween about the time the 4th of July fireworks ended. From the costumes to carving pumpkins, it’s a whimsical time full of imagination, and revolves around children like no other holiday. And we’re lucky to live very close to what may be the Halloween capital of the country: Salem

But despite what you might have heard about "Witch City," it’s not all scary stuff. Many of the events happening in Salem over the next month are tailor-made for families, replacing most of the tricks with treats. This year, the town has introduced a new Wednesday program just for kids, and have made some old favorites more fun than frightening. If you've never done fall in Salem, it's time!

Halloween and Fall Foliage Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but if you really want to up your game this year, take a trip on a Halloween train! If you have a junior conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures. From spooky to scenic, these rides offer a unique bit of fall fun for the whole family: passengers can take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities like corn mazes, crafts, and a costume party.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state.

Corn Mazes and Haunted Mazes for LA and Orange County Kids

As kids are mostly settled into the new school year, and local orchards are open for apple picking, the next sign of autumn is the corn maze.

Corn mazes are created by a tractor in a growing field of corn—usually following a fairly intricate design. For large mazes, GPS is often used to create a picture that can be seen from the air. A mature corn maze is a true adventure, with walls of corn that are taller than most adults; children (and adults) can for sure lose their way! Most operators recommend kids be at least 5-8 years old before going in alone; use your judgment, of course. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for comfort (sneakers are best), as corn mazes involve walking on uneven ground and broken cornstalks. And if you head into the maze at dusk, be sure to bring a flashlight!

Top Pumpkin Patches and Farms for Long Island Kids

The leaves soon will start turning colors, and you might have noticed there’s a crispness in the air, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to go pumpkin picking. Happily, no matter where you live on Long Island there are places to find the perfect family pumpkins this fall—whether you want to pick your own off the vine or have the picking already done for you.

All of these farms and pumpkin patches offer other family-friendly activities such as corn mazes, hayrides, and more, so make a day of it. Pick-your-own farms are fun, but can get messy, so make sure kids are dressed appropriately. Look at individual websites for hours and costs since some activities are free while other attractions have added fees.

If you’re heading to one of the farms on the East End, why not stop at a kid-friendly winery or a pick-your-own apple farm? And, for more seasonal fun, check out our list of the best fairs and festivals.

Happy autumn (and early Halloween)!

Houston's Spookiest Haunted Houses and Attractions for Halloween

While Houston offers several Halloween-themed events and attractions safe for the littlest trick-or-treater, like the Zoo Boo or Scream on the Green, those of you with older children may want something a little stronger in the scare department. We've rounded up a list of Houston area haunted houses that are not for the faint of heart - most of these destinations have age requirements of 12 and up. If you're feeling daring, take a trip to one of these haunted horrors, and don't forget to scream at least a little softer than your pre-teen.

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