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 8-9

Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival
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 will be 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 like 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

Day of the Dead El Museo
Celebrate Day of the Dead at El Museo del Barrio.

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

Weekend of October 22-23

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

Halloween Open House at Pixel Academy – Tribeca
Saturday, October 22
Head to this STEM hot spot for a day a techy holiday fun. Kids can craft Arduino lanterns, carve a Jack-O-Lantern with lasers, give yourself a scare with a Halloween VR game, and much more. FREE

Monday, October 24-Sunday, October 30

Greenpoint Playground Pumpkin Patch – Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Wednesday, October 26-Thursday, October 27
Head to Greepoint Playground either day for a morning full of Halloween fun. There will be pumpkins to decorate, face painting, seasonal activities, and a photo booth to capture pictures of your little monsters. FREE

Asphalt Screams
Enjoy spooky fun at both Asphalt Green athletic complexes.

Asphalt Screams — Upper East Side & 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 will snag goody bags. FREE but online RSVP required and donations encouraged.

Haunted Lantern Tours — Bayside
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
Saturday, October 29
More Halloween fun in Fort Totten Park! 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. FREE

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

Halloween Harvest Festival — Long Island City
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
Head to Lincoln Center for a fun-filled day complete with costumes, plenty of candy, and memorable entertainment the arts complex is known for.

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
Saturday, October 29
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. FREE

Creepy Crawly Halloween — Prospect Park
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

Brookfield Place Halloween Party — Battery Park City
Saturday, October 29
Hit the lovely Winter Garden glass atrium for Halloween fun like geeky tricks by Carmelo the Science Fellow, live performances, trick-or-treating, a Costume Catwalk to strut your stuff on, 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 the fun with a trip to the little-known nearby Poet's House, which is hosting 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 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. FREE

Halloween: Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla — Central Park
Sunday, October 30
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. 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 along the way. Once you're loaded with loot, have your face painted or pose in the photo booth. FREE

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

Halloween 313 — Clinton Hill
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
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 will be plenty of treats, games, and a costume contest to get your holiday off on the right foot. FREE

Abingdon Square Pumpkin Patch – West Village
Stop by this tiny West Village park to take in the spooky site of cleverly carved Jack-O-Lanterns as you head out to trick-or-treat. If you want a pumpkin of your own to display, stop by on October 24 to pick up a gourd, then bring it back in its carved glory on Halloween proper. FREE

DUMBOween — Dumbo
Monday, October 31
Join the Dumbo Business Improvement District for this annual tradition, which begins with a reading of Jack O'Lantern and free hot chocolate at the Brooklyn Roasting Company followed by a kids March to the Arch. Once there, enjoy a costume contest, music from the Funkrust Brass Band, puppets from Great Small Works, crafts, and lots of goodies.

For more seasonal fun check out our Halloween Guide.

Top photo: Get all amped up for trick-or-treating at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's annual BAMboo! afternoon block party.

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