New York City

13 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 tons 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, Halloween can sometimes seem more scary than sweet—and a lot of it takes place after bedtime. So we've put together a list of 13 Halloween events perfect for the preschool set, many of them FREE. Enjoy the gentle spirit of these Halloween events while you can—your kids will 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.

20 Free Ways to Celebrate Your Kid's Birthday

Do an internet search for "NYC Birthday Fun for Kids" and you'd think, based on the results, that what city parents really want more than anything is to find the most outrageously expensive ways possible to celebrate their child’s special day. Clowns! Mermaids! Mermaid clowns!

Nothing against mermaids or clowns, of course, but we’ve got 20 super simple and fun ideas to make your kid's birthday as extraordinary as he or she is, without coughing up the equivalent of next month’s rent. All it takes is a bit of imagination and ingenuity to create new traditions that make the birthday child feel special...without spending a dime.

Check out our Birthday Party Guide for more ideas for the big day, or our 100 Things to Do in NYC list for more memory-making inspiration.

No Fee When You Join the YMCA Now (And More Reasons to Sign-Up)

When you're a parent, the new year pretty much starts in September. Summer's over, school's back in session, and we're all getting back into our regular routines—or at least trying to, right? If you're one of the many moms and dads still attempting to fill up your kiddo's fall calendar or maybe even make some mid-year resolutions of your own, the YMCA of Greater New York just might be your new best friend.

If you've never stopped by your local YMCA, you may be surprised by just how much you're missing. Lucky for you, all locations are hosting open houses on Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 11:00am to 3:00pm, so you can take a look at all of the programs and amenities available at each location. And in addition to waiving their joiner's fee from now until October 8, 2018, we've got plenty more reasons a YMCA membership will be a total family game-changer this fall.

Register for Free Fall/Winter Swim Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE swim lessons for children and adults all year round, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE fall/winter swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, October 1, 2018, at noon.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kids' swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those in Brooklyn and in Queens.

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.

25 Things To Do in Nashville, TN with Kids

It only takes one minute in the Music City to see it's truly alive, from the constant pulse of live music in almost every public space and eatery to the rich history and beautiful landmarks. One thing is for sure, your family will never be bored. There is something for every kid, from the train enthusiast to the science lover to the outdoor adventurer.

And for more guides on visiting cities around the world with kids, check out our Mommy Poppins Family City Guide.

Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: October GoList

Get your calendars ready: Here are the top things to do with kids in New York City this October, many of which are FREE. Halloween may generate the hoopla, but there are plenty of other must-do activities this month, including the much-anticipated opening of the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibit, a brand-new show inspired by the music of Laurie Berkner, plus a concert by the rocker herself. 

The fall culture season kicks into high gear with amazing events and theater. Many annual seasonal favorites also take place in October, including the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine's blessing of the animals and Bay Ridge's costume-filled Ragamuffin Parade—plus the return of Pumpkin Point on Governors Island.

The Met with Kids: Exploring NYC's Biggest Art Museum

One Friday afternoon, my son came home from kindergarten and announced that we must go to The Met over the weekend because he had to see the Renoirs. (His wonderful art teacher had introduced the class to Impressionist art.) I was overjoyed—and I had to laugh, too. Hey, maybe my husband and I were living up to the NYC parenting dream after all, if our 5-year-old was requesting weekend visits to The Met instead of his favorite playground!

If you're lucky enough to live down the road from a world-famous art museum, why shouldn't your whole family should take advantage, and explore it together? We've made countless trips to this irreplaceable cultural institution over the years. The anchor of NYC's Museum Mile, The Met is more than 2 million square feet and houses at least that many pieces in its collection, which date back more than 5,000 years—so, as any parent knows, it's impossible to really cover it all in one outing, or even several. Fortunately, admission is always "suggested," so you can visit as often as you like. And with the enticing Ancient Playground and all of Central Park right outside its doors, The Met is always worth the trip. Here are our top tips for visiting The Met with kids, including our favorite sections to explore, and hidden treasures.

25 Fun Things To Do with NYC Kids on Columbus Day

New York City kids have been in school for less than a month and weary parents are staring down another off-day. But don’t panic. There are plenty of New York City kid spots and activities ready to entertain you and your brood on Columbus Day, October 8.

Fall weather offers the perfect chance to hit one of New York City’s many destination playgrounds, of course, but we’ve also scoured our event calendar and museum listings, and combed through our day trip guides to put together a list of 25 things to do with the family on Columbus Day. Read on, desperate parent, read on.

Weekend Fun: Boo at the Zoo, Sukkot, Chile Peppers, Medieval Fest

New York City kids itching to get into the "spirit" of Halloween early are in luck: This weekend, the Bronx Zoo launches its revamped, month-long Boo at the Zoo, Brooklyn Bridge Park dedicates itself to an Autumn Festival on Saturday, Luna Park unleashes Halloween Harvest festivities, and Queens County Farm Museum invites you to get lost in its Amazing Maize Maze.

Sukkot celebrations abound too, with shelter-building fun at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Children's Museum of Manhattan, Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn, and Aviator Sports.

Feeling extra festive-al? On Saturday, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden celebrates one of autumn's hottest seasonal crops at its annual Chile Pepper Festival, Governors Island hosts the Healthy NYC Expo, and kids can visit the Little Red Lighthouse Festival under the Great Grey Bridge at the annual celebration of that beloved kid lit classic. The 92Y Festival and Fort Tryon Park's annual, amazing, Medieval Festival roll out on Sunday.

Hungry for more? Check out our guide to the city's best harvest fests, pumpkin patches and hayrides. Don't forget to pair our Fall Fun Guide with our event calendar when you make your weekend plans.

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