Best Free Halloween Events for Kids in New York City

Harlem Meer Flotilla and Parade. Photo courtesy of Central Park Conservancy
Halloween in NYC: Free Costume Parades, Harvest Festivals, Pumpkin Patches

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.

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Click through to our listings for all the details, including address, time, and recommended ages.

Weekend of October 6–7

Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival — Heartland Village, Staten Island
Saturday, October 6
Head to the Carousel for All Children for face painting, seasonal crafts, games, and a pumpkin patch. Some activities are FREE, but pumpkins will be sold from the patch and merry-go-round rides cost $2.

Jefferson Market Garden Children's Harvest Festival — Greenwich Village
Saturday, October 6
Pick and decorate tiny pumpkins, make fall crafts, and enjoy country fun like raking leaves and jumping in big bales of straw. The nearby Jefferson Market Library sponsors live entertainment, too. Rain date: Sunday, October 7.

Harvest Festival — Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Sunday, October 7
Get into the spirit of the season at the Narrows Botanical Gardens annual celebration featuring a pumpkin patch, arts and crafts, live music, square dancing, and more. Rain date: Sunday, October 14.

Weekend of October 13–14

Fall Harvest Festival — Forest Hills, Queens
Saturday, October 13
Hit Forest Park for this annual shindig featuring pumpkins to pick, kiddie games, live entertainment, and other seasonal fun all sponsored by City Councilman Eric Ulrich.

Hip Hop Halloween Celebration — Far Rockaway, Queens
Saturday, October 13
Head to the Hip Hop Community Garden for a music-themed Halloween celebration that also includes pumpkin painting, face painting, and festive food.

Children's Harvest Festival — Upper East Side
Saturday, October 13
Head to Carl Schurz Park for a small pumpkin patch, hay rides, a rocking dance party with Mr. Corbitt, and a puppet show. Rain date: Sunday, October 14.

One of New York City's only pumpkin patches returns to Governors Island for free fall-themed family fun. Photo courtesy of Governors Island

Weekend of October 20–21

Pumpkin Point — Governors Island
Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21
Pumpkin Point returns to Governors Island, this year among the shady trees and historic houses in Nolan Park, ripe for photo-ops and jack o'lantern hunting.

Super Sabado! Día de los Muertos — East Harlem
Saturday, October 20
El Museo del Barrio's fiesta marks Day of the Dead, rather than just Halloween. Enjoy flower and skull face painting, holiday crafts, storytelling, dancing, and a spooky procession from the nearby Dana Discovery Center to the museum, plus peruse the museum's galleries.

Harvest Festival — Staten Island
Saturday, October 20
Head to the lovely Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve for this harvest festival featuring pumpkins to carve, scarecrows to dress, a costume contest, and a lovely forested fall backdrop perfect for a photo opp. There will be live music, lawn Twister, apples to bob for, and more family-friendly fun. Admission is FREE, but there are fees for some activities.

The Harvest Festival will be in full swing at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturday, Oct. 20th. Photo by Etienne Frossard for Brooklyn Bridge Park

Harvest Festival — Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 20
Hit Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 for a pumpkin patch, storytelling, arts and crafts, games, live music, and more.

Batty Over Halloween — Astoria, Queens
Sunday, October 21
Hit the Great Lawn at Astoria Park for a fun-filled day overflowing with cotton candy and sweet treats, puppets, face-painting, pumpkins, and more.

Weekend of October 26–October 28

Asphalt Screams — Upper East Side & Battery Park City
Friday, October 26
Both Asphalt Green locations are throwing Halloween-themed shindigs. Grab a few ghoulish goodies and enjoy Spooktacular Soccer Shootouts, on-site trick-or-treating, and more. FREE but online RSVP required and donations encouraged.

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

Head to Fort Totten Park for the Haunted Lantern Tour nighttime adventure. Photo courtesy of NYC Parks Department

Haunted Lantern Tours — Bayside, Queens
Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27
Are you brave enough to tour the historic Water Battery in Fort Totten Park after sundown? If so, join the Urban Park Rangers on a scary, historic adventure.

Pumpkin Point — Governors Island
Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28
The final weekend of Pumpkin Point on Governors Island also brings trick-or-treating along the row of historic houses in shady, beautiful Nolan Park. Update: Due to weather, Pumpkin Point will be closed Saturday, October 27, and trick-or-treating in Nolan Park has been rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday, October 28.

Halloween Festival — Bayside, Queens
Saturday, October 27
If your kids aren't quite old enough for haunted hikes, hit the Parade Grounds for an afternoon fest featuring games, rides, crafts, a costume contest, a pumpkin patch, and more.

Celebrate Halloween with Harlem Grown. Photo by Island Photography for Harlem Grown

Halloween Festival — Harlem
Saturday, October 27
Community org Harlem Grown ends its public season with this family-friendly fall festival featuring make-your-own treats, pick-your-own-pumpkins, and more seasonal fun.

Halloween Harvest Festival — Long Island City, Queens
Saturday, October 27
Head to Socrates Sculpture Park for crafts, seasonal eats, a canine costume contest, and face painting by the fabulous Agostino Arts. This season's fest focuses on Fet Gede, the Haitian Festival of the Ancestors.

Pumpkin Carving Contest — Tribeca
Saturday, October 27
Think your pumpkin-carving skills are award worthy? Bring your carved gourds to Washington Market Park for judging. There will be prizes for winners in three categories: scariest, funniest, and most creative. Take your award-winner home or leave it to add to the festive atmosphere of the Halloween Parade and Party the following day.

Halloween Havoc — East Harlem
Saturday, October 27
Community org NYSoM joins forces with the East Harlem Tutorial Program for an upgraded Halloween Havoc. Older kids will appreciate the Ghostbusters-themed haunted house and "Horrorfest," while little ones can enjoy the much more mild Halloween Village complete with pumpkin painting, make-your-own slime, and more. Plenty of treats will be doled out, too.

Halloween Haunted Walk and Halloween Fair — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 27
Grab your tweens and hike to Lookout Hill, which will be filled with zombies, wolf men, headless horsemen, witches, and other creepy characters. Afterward, head to the Nethermead for an all-ages Halloween-themed fair with games, treats, and other fun.

Bronx Halloween Parade — South Bronx, the Bronx
Saturday, October 27
Traverse the streets of the South Bronx in your Halloween best. Once you reach the end of the route, a trick-or-treat awaits. Sponsored by Community Board 2, this year's parade theme is "Stand for Peace."

BK Block Party: Halloween Edition — Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 27
Monster tunes await at this rocking party at Albee Square. Nab a balloon ghoul or a pumpkin for painting, plus pose for fun pics in the photo booth.

Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest and Halloween Festival — Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 27
Dogs take the stage in canine costumes at this annual neighborhood fair, with a costume parade, rides, live music performances, face painting, crafts, games, giveaways, even a pumpkin patch. Register your pooch in advance to participate in the costume contest, or just show up for the furry fun.

Halloween Parade and Party — Tribeca
Sunday, October 28
Washington Market Park's popular annual party kicks off with a costume parade from CitiGroup Plaza to the green space. Once inside, a dozen free activities await including penny-in-a-haystack, a bone dig in the sandbox, a hay circle on the lawn, and other classics. Strollers will not be allowed in the garden; but stroller check will be available nearby at Duane and Greenwich streets.

Trick or Treat the Terminal — Midtown East
Sunday, October 28
This annual event at Grand Central Terminal gives NYC kids an accessible, safe, indoor place to trick-or-treat, with candy galore from participating shops and eateries around the terminal, plus face-painting, giveaways, and Halloween activities. Check in at Vanderbilt Hall and spend 11am-2pm roving the beautiful space in search of treats.

RELATED: Where to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween with New York City Kids

The pumpkin flotilla produces a magical effect on the Harlem Meer. Photo courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy.

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla — Central Park
Sunday, October 28
Bring your jack o' lantern to the Dana Discovery Center and then watch it sail away at dusk on the Harlem Meer. Crafts, spooky stories, live music, and a costume parade around the northeastern edge of the park are also on tap.

High Line Hotel Dog Costume Parade — Chelsea
Sunday, October 28
Bring your family's furry friend decked out in his Halloween finest to this annual Halloween party and costume contest for dogs, with face painting, Halloween crafts, and treats for the kids.

An Irish Halloween: Celtic Magic — Midtown West
Sunday, October 28
Traditional Irish Halloween games, Irish dance performances, and a magic show from Irish trickster Joe Daly add up to spooky Celtic fun at the Irish Arts Center.

Wednesday, October 31

Trick-or-Treat with Midtown East — Midtown East
Wednesday, October 31
Head to Tramway Plaza to pick up bags and a map, then stroll through the neighborhood collecting treats along the way. Once you're loaded with loot, have your face painted or pose in the photo booth.

Head to BAM for BAMboo!  a free community Halloween family event. Photo courtesy of BAM

BAMboo! — Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Wednesday, October 31
Kick off your trick-or-treating in the afternoon at BAM's annual free community event. There will be plenty of treats, games, and a costume contest to get your holiday off on the right foot.

WBO Halloween Pumpkin Party — Williamsbridge, the Bronx
Wednesday, October 31
Residents of the Boogie Down can start the holiday with carnival games, plenty of treats, a guess the pumpkin weight contest, and more fun at this party hosted by the Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center.

Hippo Playground Halloween Parade — Upper West Side
Wednesday, October 31
A neighborhood tradition, the annual children's Halloween parade to Hippo Playground on the Upper West starts at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on 89th Street and Riverside Drive and ends at the playground with a live music performance and cider donuts. This early afternoon party ends at a perfect-for-littles 5:30pm.

Jackson Heights Halloween Parade — Jackson Heights, Queens
Wednesday, October 31
This is the second-largest Halloween parade in New York City after the Village Halloween Parade. But this Queens tradition is all about the kids—an estimated 3,000 of whom show up every October. The parade winds along 37th Avenue from 89th Street to 76th Streets, ending at PS 69, where complimentary goody bags are handed out.

For more seasonal fun check out our Halloween Guide.

This post was originally published in October 2009 and is updated annually.