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 favorites such as Fort Greene's BAMboo! block party, Brookfield Place Halloween Party, and 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. Then check out our Halloween Fun Guide for details on the best trick-or-treat spots and other seasonal festivities.

Editor's note: This post will be continually updated as we learn of new, fun events for Halloween 2016 and are able to confirm details on some old favorites, so keep checking back. Also, click through to our listings for all the details, including addresses, times and recommended ages.

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Weekend of October 8-9

Find your jack-'o-lantern at the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival. Photo courtesy of the Staten Island Greenbelt.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival — Staten Island
Saturday, October 8
Head to the Carousel for All Children for face painting, seasonal crafts, games, and a pumpkin patch. Note: Some activities are FREE, but pumpkins are sold from the patch and merry-go-round rides cost $1.50.

Children's Harvest Festival — Upper East Side
Saturday, October 8
Head to Carl Schurz Park for a small pumpkin patch, hayrides, and a rocking concert by a local family band. FREE

Jefferson Market Garden Children's Harvest Festival — Greenwich Village
Sunday, October 9
Pick and decorate tiny pumpkins, make fall crafts and enjoy country fun, including raking leaves and jumping in big bales of straw. The nearby Jefferson Market Library sponsors live entertainment, too. Rain date: Monday, October 10. FREE

Harvest Festival — Bay Ridge
Sunday, October 9
Get into the spirit of the season at Narrows Botanical Gardens' annual celebration, featuring a pumpkin patch and a canine costume parade. Rain date: Sunday, October 16. FREE

Weekend of October 15-16

Super Sabado! Día de los Muertos — East Harlem
Saturday, October 15
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. FREE

Fall Harvest Festival — Forest Hills, Queens
Saturday, October 15
Hit Forest Park for this annual shindig, featuring pumpkins to pick, kiddie games, live entertainment, and other seasonal fun. FREE

Hip Hop Halloween Celebration – Far Rockaway, Queens
Sunday, October 16
Head to the Hip Hop Community Garden for a music-themed Halloween celebration that includes pumpkin painting, face painting, and festive food. FREE

Rockaway Fall Festival — Rockaway, Queens
Sunday, October 16
Celebrate in Bayswater Park with a pumpkin patch, pony and hayrides, and live entertainment. There is a pair of obstacle courses, a bounce house, and activities to enjoy with the Urban Park Rangers. FREE

Weekend of October 22-23

See dressed up pups at the Tompkins Square Halloween Parade. Photo by istolethetv via Flickr.

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade — East Village
Saturday, October 22
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, suggested $5 donation to compete.

Friday, October 28-Sunday, October 30

Asphalt Screams — Upper East Side and Battery Park City
Friday, October 28
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.

Haunted Lantern Tours — Bayside, Queens
Friday, October 28-Saturday, October 29
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. FREE

Halloween Festival — Bayside, Queens
Saturday, October 29
More Halloween fun in Fort Totten Park! Hit the parade grounds for an afternoon of games, rides, crafts, a costume contest, pumpkin patch, and goodie bag giveaways while supplies last. FREE

Harvest Festival — Brooklyn Heights
Saturday, October 29
Hit Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 for a pumpkin patch, photo booth, storytelling, arts and crafts, live music, and a Halloween parade. FREE

Agostino Arts face painting. Photo courtesy of Agostino Arts.

Halloween Harvest Festival — Long Island City, Queens
Saturday, October 29
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 circus theme with juggling, acrobats, stilt walkers, and circus snacks. FREE

LC Trick or Treat – Upper West Side
Saturday, October 29
A fun-filled day complete with the costumes, candy, and memorable entertainment awaits at Lincoln Center.

Harvest Festival — Meatpacking District
Saturday, October 29
Enjoy a day of seasonal fun in Gansevoort Plaza, courtesy of the Meatpacking District Improvement Association. Face painting, crafts, storytelling, live music and tasty eats from local restaurants are all on tap. FREE

Haunted High Line Halloween — Chelsea
Saturday, October 29
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, eats, and puppet shows.

Halloween Haunted Walk and Halloween Fair — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 29
Grab your tweens and hike to Lookout Hill, which will be filled with zombies, wolfmen, 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. FREE

Creepy Crawly Halloween — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, October 29
Head to the Audubon Center to watch a snake eat its live dinner, go on an insect walk, and dissect owl pellets. FREE

Photo courtesy of Brookfield Place.

Brookfield Place Halloween Party — Battery Park City
Saturday, October 29
Hit the lovely Winter Garden glass atrium for mega Halloween fun, including geeky tricks by Carmelo the Science Fellow, puppets, live performances, trick-or-treating, a costume catwalk, face painting, and plenty of fun, holiday-themed photo-ops. FREE

Halloween Poe(treats) – Battery Park City
Saturday, October 29
If you're downtown for the Brookfield Place Party, follow up with a trip to the little-known nearby Poet's House, which hosts its own fete, complete with literary-themed fun, crafts, and treats in the Children's Room.

Halloween Parade and Party — Tribeca
Sunday, October 30
Washington Market Park's popular annual party kicks off with a costume parade from CitiGroup Plaza to the greenspace. 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. FREE

Halloween: Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla — Central Park
Sunday, October 30
Bring your jack-o'-lantern to the Dana Discovery Center and 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. FREE

Monday, October 31

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

Halloween 313 — Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Monday, 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 Abra Cadaver. Revelers come from all five boroughs to watch, so arrive early to snag your spot. FREE

BAMboo! — Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Monday, October 31
Kick off your trick-or-treating in the afternoon at BAM's annual free community event. This year's theme is BOO Bash and promises to be the "greatest costume party you've ever been to." In addition, there are plenty of treats, games, and a costume contest to get your holiday off on the right foot. FREE

Top photo: Brooklyn Bridge Park's Harvest Festival. Photo by Etienne Frossard/courtesy of BBP.

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