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 October GoList and Halloween Guide for more seasonal fun.
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Animated Story: Otto’s Special Pumpkin — Westbury
September 15-October 28
It’s an all-new animated tale this year featuring Otto the Ghost. FREE, but nonperishable food donations for Long Island Cares are encouraged. For a fee, you can also take a hayride, visit the farm animals, and have breakfast with Otto.
RELATED: The best pumpkin picking destinations on Long Island
Jack-o-lanterns light the night sky at Old Westbury Gardens.
Rise of The Jack O' Lanterns — Old Westbury
Old Westbury Gardens
October 5-October 29
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 21, with a sensory-sensitive performance October 14
Take the kids to see this live musical at Theatre Three that features Abner Perkins, a friendly ghost who’s afraid of the dark. It's definitely geared to a younger crowd.
Pizza & Pajama Night / Halloween Bash — Bridgehampton
October 5, 26
Children's Museum of the East End
At Pizza & Pajama Night on October 5, children enjoy an interactive storytelling of Room on the Broom, arts and crafts, activities, and pizza. During the museum's annual Halloween Bash on the 26th, 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 12-14, 19-21, 26-28
An annual event, the Halloween Village at the Milleridge Inn features a haunted house, tarot readers, rides, face painting, a pumpkin patch, magic shows, fire eaters and more. Kids can even monkey around in the not-so-spooky graveyard. NOTE: Some attractions have a per-person fee. 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, a glow-in-the-dark dance party, face painting, and more for little ones. Adults and teens will enjoy psychic readings from medium Joe Gianquinto, the LI Paranormal Investigators, and a Halloween trivia challenge.
Spooky Fest — Rockville Centre
October 13, 19-21, 26-28
Center for Science, Teaching & Learning
Family-friendly but a bit scary (there is a less scary option for little ones), you’ll walk through 16 acres of Tanglewood Preserve, where special effects, spooky lighting, and dressed-up characters set the Halloween mood. It also features an arts and crafts area, live animal exhibit, face painting, and more.
The Great Pumpkin Glow — Merrick
October 20 (rain date October 21)
Children can come in costume to see more than 100 carved pumpkins displayed throughout the school grounds. All proceeds benefit the Merrick Community Nursery School.
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
It’s the Long Island Maritime Museum’s 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.
Halloween Festival — Riverhead
This East End festival has it all, including trick-or-treating on Main Street, costume parade, a jack o’lantern walk, pumpkin carving, and even coffin races.
RELATED: Corn mazes and more seasonal fun on Long Island
Come in costume to Quogue Wildlife Refuge. You never know who or what you'll encounter on the Enchanted Forest Trail.
Enchanted Forest Trail — Quogue
October 27-28, November 3
Quogue Wildlife Refuge
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 other activities.
Join in the Halloween fun at the Long Island Children's Museum's annual Ghostly Gala.
Ghostly Gala — Garden City
Long Island Children's Museum
Enjoy an evening of spooky events, including a costume party, face painting, crafting, and trick-or-treating. Advance tickets are recommended.
Wear your favorite costumes and parade around the plaza in Long Beach. Photo courtesy of Arts in the Plaza
Halloween in the Plaza — Long Beach
This annual, FREE family event includes trick-or-treating around the plaza all day. At 11am, enjoy a costume parade followed by a hula hoop dance party. There's live music by Studio Noir, plus a farmers' market, local art vendors, and an art station for kids.
Halloween Festival — Mount Sinai
Kids can come dressed in costume and enjoy a parade, pumpkin decorating, games, and more. Registration is required.
RELATED: Great fall fairs and festivals on Long Island
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 contributed by visitors 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.
RELATED: Fall day trip destinations for Long Island families
What's cuter than a Halloween parade of costumed penguins at the Long Island Aquarium?
Bats, Barnacles & Broomsticks — Riverhead
Long Island Aquarium
All “buoys” and “ghouls” in costume 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.
RELATED: Free fun things to do with LI kids in October
Decorate your personal pumpkin at Madison Theatre's fun fest.
Halloween Family Fun Fest — Rockville Centre
This annual event 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, arts and crafts, and a live performance of Steve Petra’s Tricky Treat by Petra Puppets.
Halloween Hayride — Northport
Families can hop aboard the hayride tractor from noon to 4pm for a festive ride around Northport’s downtown. Kids will also enjoy a petting zoo and pumpkin patch.
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.
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 our favorite Long Island neighborhoods to see decked-out spooky displays while kids fill up their bags with candy.
This article, first published in 2012, is updated annually.
Unless noted, photos are courtesy of the events/venues.