Best Free Halloween Events for Kids in New York City

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 fetes, 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 the one-night-only theatrical spectacle at Brooklyn's Halloween 313 house.

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 7–8

Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival — Staten Island
Saturday, October 7
Head to the Carousel for All Children for face painting, seasonal crafts, games, a petting zoo, and a pumpkin patch. Note: 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 7
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.

Harvest Festival — Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Sunday, October 8
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 a canine costume parade.

Weekend of October 14–15

Fall Harvest Festival — Forest Hills, Queens
Saturday, October 14
Hit Forest Park for this annual shindig featuring pumpkins to pick, kiddie games, live entertainment, and other seasonal fun.

Hip Hop Halloween Celebration — Far Rockaway, Queens
Saturday, October 14
Head to the Hip Hop Community Garden for a music-themed Halloween celebration that also includes pumpkin painting, face painting, and festive food.

Halloween Open House at Pixel Academy – Tribeca
Sunday, October 15
Head to this STEM hot spot for a day a techy holiday fun. Kids can carve a virtual pumpkin, learn about 2D design and print a stencil for your jack-o-lantern, and make a motion-capture e-card to share with friends and family. Best for ages 7+. FREE

Weekend of October 21–22

Children's Harvest Festival — Upper East Side
Saturday, October 21
Head to Carl Schurz Park for a small pumpkin patch, hay rides, and a rocking concert by a local family band.

Super Sabado! Día de los Muertos — East Harlem
Saturday, October 21
Technically El Museo del Barrio's fiesta marks Day of the Dead, not Halloween. However, a lot of the trappings are the same. Enjoy flower and skull face painting, holiday crafts, storytelling, dancing, and a spooky procession from the nearby Dana Discovery Center to the museum.

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. Photo by Stacie Joy/CC BY-ND 2.0

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade — East Village
Saturday, October 21
Halloween truly goes to the dogs at this annual procession of costumed canines. Bring your pooch in costume and register at the door to compete for cool prizes, or just come and gawk at the adorable dogs. FREE to watch, $5 suggested donation to compete.

Harvest Festival — Staten Island
Saturday, October 21
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.

Weekend of October 27–October 29

Asphalt Screams — Upper East Side & Battery Park City
Friday, October 27
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. The first 500 children to arrive at each location snag goody bags. FREE but online RSVP required and donations encouraged.

Photo courtesy of NYC Parks Department

Haunted Lantern Tours — Bayside, Queens
Friday, October 27–Saturday, October 28
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.

Halloween Festival — Bayside, Queens
Saturday, October 28
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 goodie bag giveaways while supplies last.

Halloween Festival — Harlem
Saturday, October 28
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.

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

Photo by Etienne Frossard/courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Harvest Festival — Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 28
Hit Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 for a pumpkin patch, storytelling, arts and crafts, games, live music, and more.

Halloween Harvest Festival — Long Island City, Queens
Saturday, October 28
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 features a Day of the Dead theme with ancestral altars.

LC Trick or Treat — Upper West Side
Saturday, October 28
Head to Lincoln Center for a fun-filled day complete with costumes, plenty of candy, and memorable entertainment the arts complex is known for.

Pumpkin Carving Contest — Tribeca
Saturday, October 28
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.

Photo by Liz Ligon/Courtesy of Friends of the High Line

Haunted High Line Halloween — Chelsea
Saturday, October 28
Trick-or-treat your way through the elevated park's creepy past. Dip into an old-time photo booth, get your face painted, go on a spooky scavenger hunt, and enjoy seasonal stories, and eats. There will be live entertainment and plenty of space for dancing. FREE, but RSVP in advance for faster check in.

Halloween Havoc — East Harlem
Saturday, October 28
The Target Garden in East Harlem serves as the backdrop for this festive community event. Costumed characters will be on hand and plenty of treats will be doled out. Traverse the haunted alley if you dare.

Halloween Haunted Walk and Halloween Fair — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 28
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. The fun continues with an all-ages after party at City Point in downtown Brooklyn, where you'll party with a live DJ, enjoy trick-or-treating, a pumpkin patch, nail art, a costume contest, and more. FREE but please RSVP.

Brookfield Place Halloween Party — Battery Park City
Saturday, October 28
Hit the lovely Winter Garden glass atrium for Halloween fun like an interactive art installation by Emilie Baltz, quiet clubbing, trick-or-treating, a Costume Catwalk to strut your stuff on, face painting, and plenty of fun, holiday-themed photo ops.

Creepy Crawly Halloween — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 28
Head to the Audubon Center to watch a snake eat its live dinner, go on an insect walk, and dissect owl pellets.

Halloween Parade and Party — Tribeca
Sunday, October 29
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.

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

Photo courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy

Halloween: Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla — Central Park
Sunday, October 29
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.

Tuesday, October 31

Trick-or-Treat with Midtown East — Midtown East
Tuesday, 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.

BAMboo! — Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Tuesday, 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.

Catch a one-night-only creep show at Halloween 313. Photo by Chris Franko

Halloween 313 — Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Tuesday, October 31
Every Halloween, the creative volunteers at this house (including lots of theater design pros) put on a one-night-only, one-of-a-kind, over-the-top creep show for all ages. This edition is titled Marie Laveau: The Curse of the Voo Doo Queen. Revelers come from all five boroughs to watch, so arrive early to snag your spot.

For more seasonal fun check out our Halloween Guide.

Top photo by Etienne Frossard/courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park

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