Bay Ridge

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 can still 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 Free Halloween Events for Kids in New York City

What's the one way to make a costume-and-candy-filled Halloween celebration even sweeter? Make it FREE. In New York City there are so many no-cost Halloween celebrations, we've decided to give parents a real treat: a roundup of FREE Halloween events for kids in all five boroughs, including big annual family favorites like Fort Greene's BAMboo! block party, the Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla in Central Park, and more.

So bring your trick-or-treat bags, but leave your wallets at home for these gratis happenings, and then check out our Halloween Fun Guide for details on the best costume parades, trick-or-treat spots, and other seasonal activities.

Best NYC Playgrounds for Children with Special Needs

There's certainly no shortage of wonderful playgrounds and parks in New York City. But when you add a child with special needs into the mix, the selection of truly great playgrounds suddenly seems much smaller. As a mom of of a special needs child, I've explored quite a few of the city's playgrounds in search of the ones with the best play-for-all features and equipment.

Happily, many NYC playgrounds meet or exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and there are literally hundreds of special needs-friendly playgrounds throughout NYC. Some also include accessible JennSwings, those big plastic swings that offer full-body positioning support for kids up to 125 pounds. But the adaptive swing doesn't always appeal to my son, so there need to be other attractions for a playground to be cool in his book.

I'm spotlighting 17 playgrounds that I feel truly are the best. Not only are they accessible (half the battle), they're fun for all ages, with and without special needs. Grab some sunblock, towels, sand toys, and running shoes and get exploring: Your kids will thank you for it!

Top Traditional Summer Camps (with Modern Offerings) for NYC Kids

New York City has always been the best place on Earth to find uh-mazing summer camps, but the options for families looking for that traditional, all around camp experience have only gotten better over the years. Between city camps with tricked-out facilities, and lots of outdoor time, and accessible-by-bus destinations just outside the city, there are plenty of places that deliver those tried-and-true camp activities and then some, combining canoeing, arts and crafts, sports, and swimming with more modern camp curriculums and amenities.

If you'd like to stay within city limits, there are day camps across the five boroughs complete with 75-foot pools and outdoor ball fields, trips to amusement parks and adventure courses, fully-equipped air-conditioned gyms, and fun-filled days at the beach or the park. Meanwhile, if your kiddo is ready to travel, you'll find completely un-plugged media-free nature day camps, lush 27-acre campuses right nearby, lakes with boating and fishing, multiple-day overnight trips to state parks, and of course, that classic sleepaway camp experience.

6 New Birthday Spots in NYC for Your Kid's Next Party

Every year, your kid's birthday arrives even faster, right? It seems like you just had her last party! But here you are again, and you need some new ideas. 

Good news! So many great new spots have opened in NYC in the last year, so you're about to be the coolest parent party planner. Whether your kid wants to make art, roll in a ball pit, dress up her dolls, play with dogs, or just bounce up and down for an hour, there's a new place for everyone. Read on for six new kid party spots that have opened in the last year.

Find more party spots and entertainers in our NYC Party Directory.

22 Brooklyn Drop-In Play Spaces and Kiddie Gyms

Brooklyn can't be beat for indoor play spaces. While Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly twice that number, from the Brooklyn Children's Museum's outpost, Spark, to Busy Bodies in Clinton Hill, Curiosity on Court, and the brand new Fairytale Island in Bay Ridge.

While we've included a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best-of-Brooklyn list is focused on active play spaces, where toddlers, preschoolers, and even bigger kids can conquer multilevel mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls, or just turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted, ready for a nap.

Read on for nearly two dozen drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn. Find more play spots in our Indoor Family Fun Guide to Play Spaces.

Play Cafes: Shops in Brooklyn and Queens with Kid Play Spaces

If you're looking for a new spot to grab your morning coffee or merely want to enjoy brunch in peace, these kid-friendly restaurants can't be beat. At these Brooklyn and Queens cafes you will find a welcoming environment, great food, and a caffeine jolt, as well as dedicated and safe play areas for your kids. Several of them are actually play spaces first, and cafes second.

So turn your meal into a play date with a friend, or just sit back and take some well-deserved breathing space. Either way, both you and your kids are sure to have a good time.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great eateries, or our Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms.

Fairytale Island Opens in Bay Ridge with Ball Pit and More

Add Fairytale Island to the short list of winter (and hot day) indoor lifesavers. The brand-new play space in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, opened in late October, and it's huge. Not only that, but it offers just about every imaginable play item to keep the kids busy for hours.

When you enter Fairytale Island, you know that your child is entering an epic play zone. The main play space offers a giant ball pit, two-level Fairytale Island train, swings, crawl spaces, slides, little cars, and a trampoline—phew, hope I got it all. There are additional imaginary play and more toys set up in separate areas. Read on for our full review.

Birthing Centers in NYC: Where to Find Them

Pregnant New Yorkers often seek out their OB or midwife based a few key factors, including where that doctor delivers babies. You might sort through hospital c-section rates, get recommendations from your local mom group, and check various doctor reviews and ratings before narrowing down your list. But if you're looking for birthing center, the choices in NYC are more limited, though a small handful of venues do exist in both Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Birthing centers provide a more home-like environment, where moms-to-be are given the encouragement to labor in their own way, free from medical intervention. There is often a tub available as water is known to ease labor pains, full-size beds, and more perks to make mom more comfortable. It can be a great option for those not ready for a home birth, nor interested in a traditional hospital childbirth. Just know that birthing centers don’t offer epidurals, so you'll need to come to terms with that idea early on.

We’ve rounded up the birthing centers currently serving New York City, including both freestanding and in-hospital centers.

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