As holidays in New York City go, few rival the scope of Halloween. Our 2017 Halloween Fun Guide overflows with parades, parties, and trick-or-treating spots in each of the five boroughs, and Tuesday, October 31, remains the main event, when kids score all that candy a parent can responsibly "test" once young trick or treaters have collapsed at bedtime.
Some things are certain: both the trick or treating in Tribeca and the Park Slope Civic Council Children's Halloween Parade will be packed with pretty amazing costumes. BAM's annual BAMboo! block party will again treat kids to dancing and bounce-house jumping, and the Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel will happily scare your tween or teen. But check out the new stuff, too, like Nitehawk Prospect Park or the Children's Museum of Manhattan's Magical S.T.E.A.M. Halloween.
Whatever you decide to do on October 31, arrive early and expect crowds. For the best ways to plan an epic Halloween night with your NYC kids, scroll on. Most of our picks are FREE or inexpensive.
Best Door-to-Door Trick-or-Treating
Trick-or-treating in New York City's Upper West Side neighborhood. Photo by Sagie via Flickr.
Trick or treating at stores or businesses is commonly accepted in New York City, so you don't have to stick to your own building. You can also leave your direct neighborhood for plenty of NYC neighborhoods with informally structured trick or treating. Our comprehensive trick-or-treat post includes specific blocks to hit in all five boroughs. But we've heard particularly great things about:
Chelsea around Seal Park
Harlem around Marcus Garvey Park
69th Street on the Upper West Side
92nd Street on the Upper East Side
Flushing's 166th Street between 45th and 46th Avenues in Queens
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Jackson Heights, Queens
Find all the details and other options in our trick-or-treating post.
Best Costume Parades
The Hippo Playground hosts a low-key family parade on Halloween. Photo courtesy of Hippo Playground Project.
There are also a slew of Halloween parades on October 31—and we're not even including the you-have-to-see-it-once Halloween parade in Greenwich Village. These are all kid-friendly neighborhood processions that deposit you into a stationary outdoor bash or in the vicinity of great door-to-door trick-or-treating. Our Halloween parades post features processions in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, but our top parade picks are:
The Hippo Playground Halloween Parade marches right after school, where little ones can enjoy cider and doughnuts. FREE
The Coney Island Children's Halloween Parade offers free, two-hour Luna Park wristbands to the first 1,500 kids. FREE
The Cobble Hill Halloween Parade leads into a fabulous trick-or-treat run on Clinton Street, full of brownstones decorations, and friendly neighbors. FREE
The Jackson Heights Halloween Parade proudly represents Queens as the second-largest Halloween procession in New York City. FREE
The Park Slope Civic Council Children's Halloween Parade, one of the biggest bashes of the night, ends with a party at the Old Stone House and J.J. Byrne Playground. FREE
The Dumboween festivities in downtown Brooklyn include a costume parade, trick-or-treating at local businesses along the waterfront, and more family fun. FREE
The 32nd Annual New South Bronx Halloween Parade routinely draws crowds, and this year goes with the theme "Celebrating Our Superheroes." FREE
Find all the details and other processions in our comprehensive Halloween parades post.
Best Events on Halloween for NYC Kids
Get in the Halloween spirit with a showing of Hansel and Gretel's Halloween Adventure. Photo by Justina Wong/courtesy of City Parks Foundation.
BAM in Fort Greene hosts its annual BAMboo! block party outside of the Peter Jay Sharp Building, featuring a DJ, bounce house, art projects and treats. FREE
Inwood turns Sherman Creek Park into "Sherman Shriek Park" for their Fall Fest, complete with free cider. FREE
At Nitehawk Prospect Park, Nitehawk Cinema transforms the Prospect Park Pavilion into a haunted house with treats, giveaways, a surprise author, and parent-only beverages. FREE
Are you trick or treating in Battery Park City? Check out the Battery Park City Library's Mini Trick or Treat Night, complete with a scavenger hunt. FREE
One of our picks for the preschool set is a visit to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre for its annual rendition of Hansel and Gretel's Halloween Adventure.
Enjoy the twice-daily Musical Halloween Costume Parade and Dance Party and a whole lot more at the Children's Museum of Manhattan's Magical S.T.E.A.M. Halloween.
If you've got a tween or teen, why not take in the spectacle at the Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel, a theme-park-quality haunted house put on by the theatrical troupe at City Tech.
A one-night-only spooky spectacular at the Halloween 313 house on Clinton Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. FREE
State Senator Marty Golden hosts his annual Haunted Halloween Walk and Fairytale Forest in Owl's Head Park, Brooklyn, where you can fill up at Dracula's Food Court. FREE
A night of Spooktaculars! You have one in Carnegie Hill, and another at the Alley Pond Recreation Center in Queens.
In Staten Island's Great Kills Park, the Urban Park Rangers host A Haunting We Will Go, possibly featuring real snakes and bugs.FREE
Also on Staten Island, the borough president's office again throws its Halloween Hoopla celebration in Bloomingdale Park. FREE
The Halloween Celebration at the American Museum of Natural History, where costumed kids can trick-or-treat throughout the ghoulishly decked out galleries. Advance tickets recommended.
Move to the Spooky City: Third Annual Halloween Party at the Museum of the City of New York, with dancing, pumpkin decorating, and a spooky scavenger hunt.
While these are our top picks, there are plenty of other Halloween celebrations on Monday, October 31 in our scarily jam-packed Event Calendar.
Top image: The FREE BAMboo! fun in Fort Greene is an all-ages block party. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan/courtesy of BAM.