Haunted Houses and Halloween Walks in NYC for Kids
Looking for a not-too-scary Halloween fright for your kids? A tricked-out haunted house or slightly spooky Halloween trail just might be the right kind of boo for you. Haunted houses have long been popular suburban Halloween staples—Long Island and Westchester have dozens. And while NYC has several spooky haunted houses of its own, including Blood Manor, most are definitely grown-ups only. There are, however, a handful of haunted houses in New York City offering gentler Halloween chills for families.
Read on for the scoop on these kid-friendly haunted attractions—and heed the age warnings. While grade-school kids can attend most of these, not all are suitable for preschoolers. Find more family-friendly holiday happenings in our Halloween Fun Guide.
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Boo at the Zoo – Bronx Park, the Bronx
Weekends through Sunday, October 30
Don your costumes and head to the Bronx Zoo where mild thrills await, including a candy trail where kids can gather Halloween treats while discovering some of the zoo creatures’ favorite foods. Walk the Pumpkin Trail, which features hundreds of intricately carved gourds and pumpkins.
Dinosaurs in Darkness: The Hatching – Bronx Park, the Bronx
Friday and Saturday nights, October 7-29
Ages 13 and up
Dinosaurs in Darkness: The Hatching is a scary Halloween walk-through experience that sends participants on an adventure that brings them up close with prehistoric creatures in a whole new way as they follow the story of a rare dinosaur egg, found intact after 66 million years, that is finally ready to hatch! What could possibly go wrong?
Scarecrows and pumpkins take over the New York Botanical Garden this month. Photo courtesy of the NYBG
Scarecrows & Pumpkins Takeover the NYBG – Bronx Park, the Bronx
Tuesdays through Sundays, through Sunday, October 30
Wander the Everett Children's Adventure Garden to take in its eye-popping transformation as it's filled with silly scarecrows, professionally carved pumpkins, and seasonal entertainment. Kids can watch a pumpkin carving demonstration or hang out with some larger-than-life pumpkin and skeleton puppets.
The whole family can participate in a Watson Adventures Ghosts of Greenwich Village Scavenger Hunt. Photo courtesy of Watson Adventures
Watson Adventures Ghosts of Greenwich Village Scavenger Hunt – Greenwich Village
Saturdays October 22 and October 29
Ages 7 and older
See this classic New York neighborhood through an entirely new lens. Creepy clues lead you to the haunted houses once occupied by Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain, plus help you find some spooky landmarks. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
The Halloween haunted house at the Queens County Farm Museum is a spooky but gentle intro for kids. Photo courtesy of the Queens County Farm Museum
Halloween on the Farm – Floral Park, Queens
Sunday, October 30
You never know what you'll find—or what will find you—in the Queens County Farm Museum's not-too-scary haunted house. The house will be completely dark inside and filled with winding paths and sudden surprises, but it is generally considered a good "intro" haunted house for school-age children. Afterward, go for a spooky hayride, down some cider, buy your pumpkins and apples, and navigate the Amazing Maize Maze for an additional fee.
Halloween Family Fun Hike – Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Saturday, October 8
Team up with the Van Cortland Park Alliance to wander into the enchanting woods of Van Cortlandt Park. Enjoy the fall colors while searching for spiders and other insects. Then, get crafty by creating pinecone spiders to add to your Halloween Decor.
Creepy Crawly Halloween – Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Sunday, October 30
The Prospect Park Alliance hosts a special FREE Halloween event at the Audubon Center where kids of all ages can take a look at the creepy, crawly creatures. Kids can participate in fun activities and experiments like owl pellet discussion, a creepy crawly walk through the park, and Halloween-inspired tasty treats.
Friday, October 28
Celebrate Halloween with Williamsbridge Oval Recreation. A safe way to have family fun in our haunted house with ghouls, witches, ghost and more. Great fun for all ages.
Haunted Halloween Easter River Dinner Cruise – Staten Island
Friday, October 28
Tweens and up
Take a Halloween maritime tour and discover macabre and terrifying tales of "ghosts, murder, mayhem and piracy along the East River and Long Island Sound." This haunted Halloween cruise includes a three course dinner, drinks and dancing.
This post was originally published in October 2010 and is updated annually.