Free & Fun Things to Do this Weekend for NYC Kids: Halloween Celebrations, Harvest Festivals, Day of the Dead October 19-20

Best Weekend Events for New York City Kids and Families

Families can celebrate Halloween, Day of the Dead and the harvest season this weekend all over NYC. There are FREE activity-packed outdoor festivals in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village, Queens' Socrates Sculpture Park and Madison Square Park, to name just a few. Plus it's prime pumpkin picking season in case you want to take a day trip to a nearby pumpkin patch.

If you're already suffering from Halloween fatigue (or just want to save those costumes for the 31st), there are some cool cultural events for kids as well, like family workshops at the New-York Historical Society's new Armory Show at 100 exhibit, the East meets West Marco Polo Festival and offbeat music fun at Kids Honk! at the Children's Museum of the Arts.

Plus, we are hosting two special Mommy Poppins events this weekend that you won't want to miss! On Saturday, set sail on our Haunted Halloween Family Cruise on New York Harbor featuring Dr. Blood and tons of seasonal fun. Then on Sunday evening, see Me and My Shadow and enjoy pre- and post-show activities at Mommy Poppins Night at the New Victory Theater. Tickets for both events are going fast so don't delay, book yours today.

All of our best bets for the weekend are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Halloween Fun Guide.

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All Weekend

Me and My Shadow – Midtown West
Head to the New Victory Theater for this inventive and visually engaging show about the friendship between a girl and her shadow. While there are multiple performances this weekend, Mommy Poppins is sponsoring Sunday's 5pm show, which includes a pre-show puppetry-themed workshop, a post-show meet and greet with the cast, complimentary posters and a 20% discount on tickets. Read our post for additional details. $14-$38

Armory Art for Kids – Upper West Side
Take a family-friendly tour of the New-York Historical Society's brand-new exhibit, The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution, which features works by Duchamp, Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and other art icons. Afterward, kids can get creative in a family workshop. Reservations required. Free with admission: $18 for adults, $6 for children ages 5-13

Little Orchestra Society: Surprise Symphony – Upper East Side
Introduce your tots to classical masterpieces at this concert specifically aimed at the preschool set. Hear Haydn's Surprise Symphony while Bow the Panda, Toot the Bird, Buzz the Bee and Bang the Lion teach kids about the different instrument families. $15-$50
 

Saturday, October 19

Mommy Poppins' Haunted Halloween Sail with Dr. Blood – South Street Seaport
Put on your costume and join the Mommy Poppins gang on our Halloween Family Cruise on Manhattan by Sail's Clipper City Tall Ship. The hysterical and not-too-scary Dr. Blood will perform crazy science experiments and creepy magic tricks, and lead kids in a costume parade. Other attractions include face painting, nautical skills, incredible New York Harbor views, complimentary digital photos from Big Apple Portraits, Rice Krispy treats from the Treat House and New Victory Theater goody bags. It's our last cruise of the series so don't miss it. $39 for adults, $25 for children under 13

Kids Honk! – Hudson Square
Head to the Children's Museum of the Arts for a horn-heavy street concert as music festival Honk NYC! puts on a special show just for families. There will also be instrument building workshops and an "instrument petting zoo." While there, be sure to check out the museum's current exhibit Tweet. Free with admission: $11

Marco Polo Festival – Chinatown and Little Italy
Celebrate Italian and Chinese culture at this annual fest, which kicks off with an over-the-top parade of giant marionette puppets that winds its way through Little Italy and Chinatown toward the Hester Street Stage. Post-procession, catch multicultural entertainment including Italian and Chinese opera, folk dancing and musical performances. FREE

Fall Kids Fest – Flatiron
A big annual favorite! Come in costume (or trade an old one for a new-to-you outfit at the costume swap) to participate in one of two parades around Madison Square Park led by Big Apple Circus performers, and then hit the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect jack-o'-lantern. Other festivities include live music from the Little Rockers Band and Songs for Seeds, tricks by the Amazing Max, games, arts and crafts, face painting and snacks. Be sure to arrive early as it gets mobbed fast. Afterward, skip Shake Shack and try one of these other nearby family-friendly restaurants. FREE

Halloween Harvest Festival – Long Island City
The wonderful Socrates Sculpture Park hosts its annual bash with costume making workshops, face painting by Agostino Arts, walking tours themed around the area's haunted history and seasonal treats from local eateries. If you've got a pooch, put him in his Halloween best for the canine costume parade. FREE

Super Sabado: Dia de los Muertos Celebration – East Harlem
Celebrate Day of the Dead at El Museo del Barrio with a host of holiday activities. Contribute to a colorful collaborative altar, catch traditional Aztec and Mexican dance performances, hear stories, get spooky face painting and enjoy kid-friendly tours of the galleries. The fest kicks off with a spirited musical procession from the nearby Dana Discovery Center in Central Park to the museum at 11am. FREE

Central Park East II's Fall Fair – East Harlem
You'll find this fun-filled fest right next door to El Museo, so you can hit both events in one day! This school fundraiser features two bounce houses, an FDNY truck to climb on, face painting, live music, cupcake and pumpkin decorating, and lots of other activities. Free admission but there are fees for activities

Children's Harvest Festival – Greenwich Village
Hit the charming Jefferson Market Garden to decorate mini pumpkins, roll around in freshly raked leaves and romp in big piles of hay. FREE

Harvest Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park – Brooklyn Heights
Head to Pier 6 for pumpkin picking, mask making, storytelling, face painting and live tunes by Audra Rox and Bilingual Birdies. Families can also hop a ride on trolley-style bus that will run down Atlantic Avenue from Brooklyn Bridge Park to Fourth Avenue, with activity stops along the way. FREE.

Go Fish! Festival Featuring Suzi Shelton – Battery Park City
Head to Wagner Park for catch-and-release fishing, bird watching, nature crafts and a performance by local kids' crooner Suzi Shelton. FREE

Uptown Lit: A Festival Of Readers and Writers – Washington Heights
Get literary at this brand-new festival, which isn't aimed at families but promises fun for young bookworms. Sit in on readings by local authors, enjoy interactive storytelling with StoryUp, apply for a NYPL library card and make books from recycled materials with Skraptacular. FREE

See all Saturday events.
 

Sunday, October 20

Family Fit Day – East Village
Head to the 14th Street Y for a fun sports-oriented outing (maybe you can work off some of that Halloween candy in advance?). Enjoy rock climbing, relay races, PopFit Kids workouts and other heart-pumping activities, and then bust a move at the family dance party. In advance: $35 per family; at the door: $40

Jazz for Kids Brunch – Gramercy
Watch the super-talented members of the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra perform classic tunes during their season opener. Come hungry: The eats from Blue Smoke restaurant are delicious. $5 suggested donation plus cost of meal

See all Sunday events.

Don't forget: There are lots of other options in our Event Calendar.