New York City

15 Not-So-Scary Halloween Events in NYC for the Preschool Set

When my son was a baby, I wondered if he'd ever know the joy of trick-or-treating door to door like his suburban counterparts. But over the years, I've learned that NYC really knows how to celebrate Halloween. There are a dizzying number of FREE Halloween celebrations, kid-friendly costume parades, and close-knit communities that dole out copious amounts of candy to trick-or-treaters.

For little New Yorkers, the holiday can sometimes seem more scary than sweet—or take place mostly after bedtime. So we've put together a list of 15 Halloween events perfect for the preschool set, many of them FREE. Ease them in and enjoy the holiday fun while it lasts; they'll be celebrating at the Village Halloween Parade before you know it.

For more Halloween happenings, check out our Halloween Guide and our events calendar, which is continually updated with new, fun events as we find out about them.

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 still can 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.

Eat Around the World in Astoria at Kid-Friendly Restaurants

New York City has always been called a melting pot, drawing immigrants from diverse backgrounds. But beyond the name, few people are aware that the most diverse part of the world lives in one particular borough: Queens! More languages are spoken in Queens than ANYWHERE else. People from around the world are attracted to Queens and have been growing their families here for generations. And everyone knows—with culture and language, comes food.

I asked my fellow Astoria moms to name their favorite eats and I received over 50 responses! With their help, I compiled this list of tried-and-true establishments that have friendly service, approachable menus for picky eaters and kid-friendly atmospheres.  

Welcome to “Eat Around the World in Astoria,” one of Queens’ most unique hodgepodge neighborhoods, with an extraordinary range of restaurants to please everyone.

The NYBG Holiday Train Show Returns with Tons of Updates in 2017

We may still be a few weeks away from Halloween, but the trappings of the holiday season have started to creep onto store shelves, and we're already anticipating one of our favorite seasonal traditions: the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden.

In 2017, the iconic skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan take center stage. The show, which opens to the public on Wednesday, November 22, debuts all-new replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew's Church.

Weekend Fun: Ragamuffin Parade, Pickle Day, and Major Legos

For New York City kids, October is the month-of-months when it comes to outdoor food and music in equal measure. Head to Randall's Island Park for the annual Harvest Festival, or stuff yourself at Pickle Day on the Lower East Side. As for music, the Moonlights play at Symphony Space, while Madison Square Park's Kids Fest: Stages in the Square offers musical acts all weekend. 

Hotel Rooms with Views of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Chances are you're not even thinking about Thanksgiving yet. After all, we still have Halloween to get through! But as anyone in the NYC hotel industry will tell you, families looking to book a hotel where they can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Midtown Manhattan do so up to a year ahead of time! For a room with a view of Snoopy, Spidey, Hello Kitty, and their other inflatable pals, you've really got to plan in advance.

It's not just NYC tourists who splurge on hotels for the Thanksgiving parade, either. Over the past few years, we've had many New Yorkers write in asking which hotels looked out on the Macy's Parade route (it sure beats watching from the street). While most of these hotels still have availability at the time of this writing, call right away as they'll most likely sell out soon. And if you do get shut out, it's worth checking closer to Thanksgiving since there are sometimes last-minute cancelations.

For a budget-saving alternative, catch a prime viewing spot the night before the parade as the giant balloons are inflated on the Upper West Side.

Boo at the Zoo: New Thrills and Attractions at the Bronx Zoo's Halloween Event

Fall has arrived in New York City and with it, a fantastic array of seasonal activities that make saying goodbye to summer feel more like a celebration than a somber farewell. And with Halloween just around the corner, one of my family's favorite Halloween-themed outings—the Bronx Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo—is already underway!

For years, we've enjoyed donning our costumes and exploring the zoo, joining the Halloween parade, marveling at the pumpkin carving demos and displays, and, of course, visiting and learning about the majestic resident animals. This year, we're particularly excited to visit as the zoo has revamped its programming with new activities and attractions, including a Haunted Forest geared at older kids, a hayride, and a corn maze. Read on for all the details on returning favorites and new offerings, including price details and best times to visit.

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The Day I Moved Into Target

As a mom, I live at Target.

No, really—I moved in a few weeks ago. A lot of moms are doing it. It just makes so much more sense than living in our houses, which we were constantly having to leave in order to go to Target.

"Gotta make another Target run!" I'd say, and my husband would tell me to "enjoy my mommy vacation." It was so funny—every time.

Haunted Halloween Houses and Not-too-Spooky Walks for NYC Kids

Looking for a not-too-scary Halloween fright for the kids? A tricked-out haunted house or slightly spooky Halloween trail just might be the right kind of boo for you.

Haunted houses long have been a popular suburban Halloween stapleLong Island and Westchester are rife with them. And while NYC has gained several spooky haunted houses of its own, including Blood Manor, those are for grown-ups only. However, there are a handful of haunted houses in New York City that offer gentler Halloween chills for families.

You're sure to find spooky, family-friendly attractions at pretty much every Halloween festival and fall fair. But we're skipping those to tell you about the best of the city's more elaborate and kid-friendly haunted houses and other spooky attractions for kids this year. Read on for the scoop—and heed the age warnings. While grade-school kids can attend most of these, not all are suitable for preschoolers.

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