15 Not-So-Scary Halloween Events in NYC for the Preschool Set

When my son was a baby, I wondered if he'd ever know the joy of trick-or-treating door to door like his suburban counterparts. But over the years, I've learned that NYC really knows how to celebrate Halloween. There are a dizzying number of FREE Halloween celebrations, kid-friendly costume parades, and close-knit communities that dole out copious amounts of candy to trick-or-treaters.

For little New Yorkers, the holiday can sometimes seem more scary than sweet—or take place mostly after bedtime. So we've put together a list of 15 Halloween events perfect for the preschool set, many of them FREE. Ease them in and enjoy the holiday fun while it lasts; they'll be celebrating at the Village Halloween Parade before you know it.

For more Halloween happenings, check out our Halloween Guide and our events calendar, which is continually updated with new, fun events as we find out about them.

Polar Express and Christmas Trains for New Jersey Kids

Every year, New Jersey's railroads get decked out in their holiday best to offer special Christmas-themed rides for the whole family. Wait—Christmas? We know, it's a bit early to start hauling out the holly, but these rides are a popular holiday tradition, and they sell out fast!

Though these trains don't go all the way to the North Pole, most include a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, along with treats, caroling, and stories. One storybook Santa train invites kids to wear their pajamas and hear a classic Christmas story read aloud on the rails, while another ferries passengers to a Christmas tree farm.

Read on to find out where to take a holiday train ride with Santa Claus, and book your tickets as soon as possible. Then you can put Christmas aside for a while and get back to your fall fun.  

10 Free (or Cheap) Weekday Events for Philly Kids: October 16-20

Whether your kids likes exploring museums, cozying up with a good book, being outside, or gearing up for the Halloween season, there are many options for Philly families during this October week. Museum goers can discover new things at the Franklin Institute during its free Community Night or engage in hands-on learning at Delaware Children's Museum's $2 Nights. Children who are mesmerized by books can listen to captivating stories at the library, in a bookstore, in enchanted woods, or near a gristmill. Outdoorsy types can learn about animals and their habitat at Nottingham County Park, take a wagon ride to view fall foliage at Warwick County Park, or meet a real bobcat at Upper Schuylkill Valley Park!

Terrifying Haunted Houses You Just Can't Miss

Halloween isn't all pumpkins and hayrides. There are also thrills and chills to be had right here in Connecticut at some of the scariest haunted houses you'll ever find! These frightful attractions are geared towards older children, teens, and adults and not recommended for very young children. If you're looking for the real deal, check out our post on the Real Haunted Houses of Connecticut. For those who just want to have a spooky-good time, then a haunted house attraction is just the thing. From amusement parks filled with zombies to empty summer camps and abandoned school buildings, there is something to scare the pants off of everyone. We've rounded up the scariest haunted houses across the state, and a couple that are right over the border, for all of your frightful fun this Halloween season. Check it out...if you dare!

Best Neighborhoods to Trick-or-Treat for Los Angeles Kids

Trick or treat! Los Angeles moved down to fifth place in Zillow's Halloween list of the country's 20 best cities for trick-or-treating—but that's not slowing down anyone around here. The real estate website bases its trick-or-treat ranking on criteria like home value and crime rates. That's good, but what about special effects and Halloween decorations? If one figures in the number of film industry creatives living in a given metropolitan area, LA wins first place by a country mile. Speaking of country miles, if you've walked the distance between houses in the most expensive LA neighborhoods, you know that higher home value does not always translate to better trick-or-treating. What does? Well, keep your Halloween hats on, because we've got a list of some of LA and Orange County's most legendary trick-or-treat neighborhoods. I defy anyone in Philadelphia to beat these!

25 Cool and Free Halloween Programs for Kids in Westchester

If you think Halloween town and library programs are only about storytime and paper pumpkins, think again! Many towns in Westchester offer stand-out events that are frightfully fun—not to mention the parades, parties and more free activities for families who love Halloween. 

Below we’ve listed more than two dozen places with fun Halloween programs. Best of all—they’re all FREE! (And, OK, there are some storytimes and crafts, but we do like those too.) 

Read on for our top picks, and then continue on to our Event Calendar for many more fun October events.

Best Places to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween with NYC Kids

One of my favorite childhood memories from growing up in NYC was Halloween in Greenwich Village. Back then, the Village Halloween Parade was just a couple hundred artists and others who marched through the neighborhood. Afterward, we would trick-or-treat up and down the brownstone blocks. Everyone was friendly, and we would come home with our shopping bags completely filled. It was magical.

Although the parade and Greenwich Village have changed a lot since then, your kids still can enjoy that kind of thrilling trick-or-treat experience in many New York City neighborhoods. Which neighborhood is the best for Halloween trick-or-treating depends on who you ask. New Yorkers love to bicker over the best coffee shops, the best (and worst) train lines, and yes, the best places to take their kids on Halloween. We also love to find that secret gem.

So we asked our astute readers and collected recommendations from our parent-driven NYC staff over many, many years to bring you a list of our favorite trick-or-treating spots so you'll know where to bring your kids this October 31.

Join one of the local Halloween parades and then go trick-or-treating throughout the community with local families. Or hit one of the neighborhoods or streets listed below: We have a slew of spots to try in all five boroughs. For more seasonal fun, check out our jam-packed Halloween Guide, showcasing FREE events, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and more.

Best Neighborhoods to Trick-or-Treat for Long Island Kids

There's nothing like trick-or-treating here on Long Island, where kids can head to their favorite downtowns to fill up on treats from local businesses. Or to their own neighborhoods, where they know how to traverse every nook and cranny. Plus, kids probably have a good idea which houses to avoid and which ones to knock on twice for those sweet rewards.

Camaraderie among neighbors gives you a sense of community. But sometimes change is good.

So which Long Island neighborhoods are best for trick-or-treating? We prefer those that have houses close together, merchants who participate, are well lit, and have minimal traffic. Read on for our list of favorites.

Check out our Halloween Guide for more Long Island trick-or-treating fun, including these top events for kids and not-too-scary haunted houses and walks.

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