When New York City was going bankrupt in the 1970s, it was a scary place. Now, we have to manufacture the thrills. In October, you can find plenty of free Halloween activities around the city, perfect for a family. The highlight, of course, is Greenwich Village’s 43rd Annual Village Halloween Parade on October 31. Anyone can join in, costumed or not, or just watch the parade of festively costumed locals, along with bands, floats and dancers.
Free Halloween Events in New York City
NYC & Company provided this list of free family-friendly activities to help you celebrate Halloween in New York City:
Brooklyn Bridge Park Harvest Festival: On October 29, celebrate Halloween and fall on Pier 6 with pumpkin picking, face painting, mask making and old-time trolley rides.
Halloween Haunted Walk at Lookout Hill in Prospect Park: On October 29, join this haunted walk atop the highest point in Prospect Park, where ghouls and goblins (usually local teens; my kids used to volunteer for this) come out to play.
Park Slope Civic Council Halloween Parade: This family friendly parade starts at 6:30 on October 31, but streets along 7th Avenue close by 4pm so kids can trick or treat. After the parade, dance off some of the sugar at J.J. Byrne Playground, in front of the Old Stone House at Washington Park.
Haunted High Line Halloween: On October 29, take a haunting tour of the High Line, hear about its spooky history, and join a trick-or-treat quest; those with the right answers get sweet treats.
Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade: On October 22, see costumed dogs and their animal companions.
Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla: On October 30, There is kids costume parade followed by lit jack-o’-lanterns floating into the Harlem Meer.
Haunted Lantern Tour and Halloween Festival at Fort Totten Park: On October 28–29, celebrate Halloween with an evening lantern tour of the historic Water Battery at Fort Totten. The free festival on October 29, from noon to 3pm, includes games, rides, craft projects, a costume contest, pumpkin patch and goodie bags.
Socrates Sculpture Park’s Halloween Harvest Festival: On October 29, kids can make their own costumes and masks with the help of the Free Style Arts Association. Families also can listen to live music and see Urban Shaman Mama Donna performing a pet blessing ritual; there is also a canine costume contest.