From costume parades to unique trick-or-treating neighborhoods and not-so-scary haunted houses and walks, there are plenty of fun, "spooktacular" happenings on Long Island this Halloween season.
Read on for our picks for Long Island children this Halloween, including museum events, enchanted forest trails, and even a boat burning that has become a seasonal tradition in one Suffolk County community. And don't forget to check out our Halloween Guide for more seasonal fun.
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Animated Story: Otto’s Special Pumpkin — Westbury
September 16—October 31
It’s an all-new animated tale this year featuring Otto the Ghost. FREE, but nonperishable food donations for Long Island Cares are encouraged. You can also take a hayride and visit the farm animals.
Jack-o-lanterns light the night sky at Old Westbury Gardens.
Rise of The Jack O' Lanterns — Old Westbury
Old Westbury Gardens
Various evenings and times in October
Be amazed and inspired as 5,000 hand-carved jack-o-lanterns light up one of Long Island's beautiful Gold Coast mansions. While an evening stroll through the woods can be spooky, there is nothing haunted about this walk, which is suitable for all ages. This unique experience features the work of dozens of local artists. Limited tickets are available per day and must be purchased in advance.
A Kooky Spooky Halloween — Port Jefferson
Saturdays in October; Sunday, October 22, with a sensory-sensitive performance October 15
Take the kids to see this live musical that is definitely geared to a younger crowd.
Pizza & Pajama Night / Halloween Bash — Bridgehampton
Children's Museum of the East End
October 6 / October 20
At Pizza & Pajama Night, children enjoy an interactive storytelling of The Halloween Kid, arts and crafts, activities, and pizza. During the museum's annual Halloween Bash, there's plenty going on, including Halloween games, trick-or-treating, crafts, a costume contest, and more. Advance registration is required.
Milleridge Halloween Village — Jericho
October 13-October 29
An annual event, the Halloween Village at the Milleridge Inn features a haunted house, tarot readers, rides, face painting, a pumpkin patch, and more. FREE
Halloween and Psychic Fair — Huntington
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington
This family-friendly event includes a not-so-scary haunted house, animals from Sweetbriar Nature Center, storytelling, face painting, a costume parade, and more for little ones. Adults and teens will enjoy psychic readings and a visit from author and local historian Kerrianne Flanagan Brosky.
Spooky Fest — Rockville Centre
October 14, 20-22, 27-29
Center for Science, Teaching & Learning
Family-friendly but a bit scary, you’ll walk through 16 acres of the Tanglewood Preserve, where special effects, spooky lighting, and dressed-up characters set the Halloween mood.
The Great Pumpkin Glow — Merrick
Children can come in costume to see the more than 100 carved pumpkins displayed throughout the school grounds. All proceeds benefit the Merrick Community Nursery School.
Halloween Family Movie Day — Garden City
College Center Building at Nassau Community College
Wear your costume to this showing of the family-friendly Halloween movie Room on a Broom. The event also includes crafts, face painting, balloons, and more. Proceeds benefit the Children’s Greenhouse at Nassau Community College.
Come in costume to Quogue Wildlife Refuge. You never know what you'll encounter on the Enchanted Forest Trail.
Enchanted Forest Trail — Quogue
Quogue Wildlife Refuge
October 21, 28-29 (various times)
Children are welcome to come dressed in costumes and meander with a guide through the refuge trails, where they'll meet costumed characters along the way. Before the hike, kids can enjoy games and activities.
Halloween Family Day with Michael the Magician — Huntington Station
Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site
Kids can come in costume to this family-friendly magic show, which includes face painting, prizes for the best costume, and guided tours.
Trick-or-Treat at Stew Leonard’s — East Meadow, Farmingdale
Children can trick-or-treat throughout the store at both Long Island locations. Pick up a map at the customer service station, and don’t forget costumes.
Halloween Boat Burning — West Sayville
Long Island Maritime Museum
October 27 (Rain date October 28)
It’s the Long Island Maritime Museum’s 28th annual Halloween boat burning. Each year, someone donates an old boat to the museum, which is burned in the harbor. Enjoy entertainment, light refreshments, and a raffle drawing.
Ghostly Gala — Garden City
Long Island Children's Museum
Children can come in costume for an evening of spooky events, including a costume party, face painting, crafting, and trick-or-treating. Advance tickets are recommended.
Halloween in the Plaza — Long Beach
Enjoy live music, a hula hoop contest, arts and crafts, and plenty of time for trick-or-treating around the plaza.
Halloween Festival — Mount Sinai
Kids can come dressed in costume and enjoy a parade, pumpkin decorating, games, and more.
It's jack-o-lantern season: Set them adrift at Belmont Lake State Park.
The Great Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Sail — North Babylon
Belmont Lake State Park
The first 50 carved pumpkins to arrive set sail atop flotation devices on Belmont Lake. Children can make crafts, play games, visit the "Spooky Den," check out the petting zoo, and stop at trick-or-treat stations.
What's cuter than a parade of costumed penguins?
Bats, Barnacles & Broomsticks — Riverhead
Long Island Aquarium
All “buoys” and “ghouls” in costume will get 50 percent off admission with a paying adult (one child,12 years and younger, per adult). Children gather sweets and treats throughout the Aquarium. There’s also a penguin costume parade, author reading and book signing, crafts, and more.
Decorate a personal pumpkin at Madison Theatre.
Halloween Family Fun Fest — Rockville Centre
This annual event that features Halloween fun for the whole family. Enjoy costume contests, pumpkin picking and decorating, a haunted house, mask making, and more.
Halloween Family Fun Day at Long Island Museum — Stony Brook
Little ones can come in costume to enjoy trick-or-treating, pumpkin painting, animals, music, and arts and crafts.
Halloween Hayride — Northport
Families can hop aboard from noon to 4pm for a festive ride around Northport’s downtown.
Harvest Festival — Port Jefferson
Enjoy a haunted building walking tour, “Scarecrow Alley,” a costumed canine parade, marshmallow roast, live music and more.
Halloween Day parades and more
Bellmore — Connect Church hosts an afternoon of candy, bouncers, an obstacle course, costumed characters, and more.
Farmingdale Public Library — Arrive early and join the library for stories, crafts, spooky activities, a parade around the library, and more. The fun begins at 10am.
Hicksville — The Theory of Arts & Sciences hosts a costume contest at 4:15pm. One child will win a “spooktacular” prize.
Tanger Outlets, Riverhead — Kids 12 and younger are invited to trick-or-treat. Look for the display decal on the windows of participating stores.
Trick-or-treating — Head to your favorite downtown or perhaps try one of these favorite Long Island neighborhoods to see decked-out spooky displays while kids fill up their bags with candy.
Top image: Enjoy Halloween bowling and more at the Children's Museum of the East End's holiday celebrations. Photos courtesy of the events/venues
This article, first published in 2012, is updated annually.