Halloween season has finally arrived, and with it comes plenty of spooky activities to do throughout the city. With Halloween on a Sunday this year, there are tons of fun Halloween events in NYC to attend leading up to and during the holiday. While most city blocks boast decorations, be sure to check out the Village Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village or stop to take a photo at the famous Pumpkin Arch in the Seaport District, which are just two of the highlights of this list. Read on for more Halloween-themed events happening throughout New York City’s five boroughs this week.
1. Village Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village
On October 31, the Village Halloween Parade will return to Greenwich Village. As one of the city’s spookiest processions and the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration, the parade features more than 50,000 zombies, ghouls, witches, monsters, robots, and Jedis. In past years, the parade has been viewed by more than four million people, and this year it will be live-streamed on NY1 starting at 8 p.m. The parade’s two themes for this year are LET’S PLAY and All Together NOW, and the parade is dedicated to the children of New York City who were unable to properly celebrate Halloween in 2020. Going along with the themes, children have been invited to submit drawings that will be used to create giant puppets for the parade. Comedian Randy Rainbow will serve as the Grand Marshal for this year’s parade due to his bravery and determination to sing truth to power and make the world laugh during hard times.
Marching in the parade is free for all, but costumes are mandatory. Members of the procession will begin lining up at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street around 6:30 p.m. and take off at 7 p.m. For those who wish to skip the line and march in the special theme section, $25 tickets can be purchased in advance. The parade will run up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street in Manhattan until around 9 p.m.
2. Pumpkin Point on Governors Island
During the last two weekends in October, Pumpkin Point, Governors Island’s annual pumpkin patch, will return. Thousands of pumpkins will be scattered throughout the historic Nolan Park, transforming the area into a fall wonderland. In exchange for a small donation, visitors can pick a pumpkin to take home with them.
Besides pumpkin picking, free programming will include Halloween and autumn-inspired arts and crafts, storytelling, and live music. In addition, a number of the island’s vendors will be offering seasonally-inspired food and beverages for purchase. Some vendors will include Little Eva’s, Threes Brewing, and Joe’s Coffee.
3. Grab a broomstick & head to Meatpacking’s “Treats in the Streets“
On October 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Meatpacking Business Improvement District will be hosting Treats in the Streets, a Halloween celebration in the district’s plaza and open streets. Businesses in the area such as Amy’s Bread, Belstaff, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Common Ground Bar will offer free candy for trick-or-treaters. Neighborhood Goods will offer in-store dog and owner portraits and sell mini pumpkin-spiced beignets with house caramel. The Meeting Point Gallery is hosting a storytime with the New York Public Library at 11am. At Serafina Meatpacking, special complimentary ravioli flavored with pumpkin, Amaretto cookie, or Parmigiano will be served. For adults, Alice + Olivia and the Gansevoort Hotel will feature alcoholic beverages, and Blue Point will be handing out samples of beer in 14th Street Park with a beautiful pumpkin patch perfect for Instagramming.
Throughout the day, activities such as pumpkin decorating, pumpkin ring toss, pumpkin tic-tac-toe, and corn hole will be available in the streets. At noon, there will be a live music performance and Drag Queen Story Hour at Gansevoort Plaza. At 2 p.m. the Meatpacking District will host its 3rd Annual Doggie Costume Contest on Little W. 12th Street. The winner of the contest will receive an overnight stay at the dog-friendly Gansevoort Hotel. If you’re wearing a costume, be sure to check out the Artists & Fleas market for their annual costume contest. All events are open to the public with no reservations or tickets required.
4. Halloween Impalements: The Toll of Time
This Halloween, pumpkins carved by artist Jane Greengold and residents of Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood will be impaled on the 273 sharp posts located along the fence at Kane Street and Strong Place. Greengold started this yearly Halloween tradition in 1998 with her friend (and fence owner) Chip Gray. Though Greengold originally carved all the pumpkins herself, she now accepts outside contributions, bringing together the Cobble Hill community in celebration of the spookiest holiday of the year. Every pumpkin in Halloween Impalements: The Toll of Time is given its own unique expressive face.
On Halloween night, the pumpkins will be illuminated, serving as a perfect attraction for trick-or-treaters. Over the following weeks, the pumpkins will be left to rot on the posts, having stayed in past years all the way until Christmas.
5. The Pumpkin Arch returns to the Seaport District
At Heineken Riverdeck on Pier 17 is the famous Pumpkin Arch, put together yearly by the Seaport District. The arch for this year is made entirely of real pumpkins, fall leaves, and twisted vines. Framing the Brooklyn Bridge, the massive arch is an ideal spot for grabbing a fall-themed photo.
After visiting the pumpkin arch, be sure to check out some of the Seaport District’s many restaurants including Malibu Farm, the Fulton, and Mister Dips. In addition, the nearby immersive Bill Cunningham exhibition is a must-see attraction. The arch will be up through the month.
6. Halloween Harvest Festival at Socrates Sculpture Park
From 12 to 5 p.m. on October 30th, Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City will be hosting its annual Halloween Harvest Festival. One highlight of the festival will be the Rocky Horror Doggie Show, the city’s second-largest dog costume contest. The contest will be judged this year by Natassa Contini and Nina Agüero Rios. Award gifts for the competition have been provided by Chateau Le Woof, Friends with Four Paws, Pupstoria, and La Tour Caline. Dog ice cream will also be served.
Besides the dog competition, the festival will also have a pumpkin carving competition in which a group of children will challenge the park’s artist fellows to see who can make the most bedazzled pumpkin in the Tri-State area. In addition, artist fellow Levan Mindiashvili will host a paper palm leaf-making workshop. Finally, Bond Street Theatre’s Shinbone Alley Stilt Band will provide jazz music while performing above the heads of visitors on stilts.
7. Halloween Weekend At The Seaport
During Halloweekend, the South Street Seaport will be celebrating with a series of exclusive markets, contests, and activities. In partnership with the Hester Street Fair, the Seaport will be offering a Halloween-themed market on October 30th, which will house a costume contest and paint your own pumpkin tent. In addition, visitors can stop by the Fulton Stall Market for locally grown fall produce and apple cider.
On both days of the weekend, pumpkin painting will be available with the South Street Seaport Museum on Pier 16, and a Halloween block party featuring trick-or-treating will take place on Fulton Street. The block party will include live music, face painting, and adult treats at the nearby Garden Bar.
8. Boo at the Zoo returns to the Bronx Zoo
Boo at the Zoo, the Bronx Zoo’s annual family-friendly Halloween tradition, returned every Saturday and Sunday during October. As you walk through the zoo, you’ll pass by an array of eerie Halloween decorations with animal-themed stilt walkers and live music along the way.
Activities for Boo At The Zoo include magic and mind reading at the Grizzly Corner every 30 minutes, a candy trail along Mouse House Lawn, and a pumpkin trail at the Butterfly Patio, Visitors can also watch expert artists create giant animals out of pumpkins at the Giraffe Corner from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with speed carving demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. At Astor Court, visitors can enjoy a costume parade, extinct animal graveyard, spider maze, and the Wildlife Witch’s Super Scary Halloween Show featuring bat, vulture, owl, and snake puppets. Tickets to the Bronx Zoo are required for entrance and can be purchased online. 50% will be taken off the price of a child’s ticket when kids ages 3-12 wear a costume to the zoo.
9. Halloween Extravaganza at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
For those hoping to get into the Halloween spirit before the weekend starts, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine will be screening the classic silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with live accompaniment from organist Timothy Brumfield. Released in 1920 by Robert Wiene, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema. The film tells the story of an insane hypnotist who uses a somnambulist to commit murders, working to thematize brutal and irrational authority.
After the showing of the film, puppeteer and Cathedral artist in residence Ralph Lee and members of the Mettawee River Theatre Company will put on a performance using ghouls and goblins to scare the crowd. Tickets are free, but reservations are required. Two screenings and puppet performances will be offered at 7 and 10 p.m.
10. Hurl axes & sip skull cocktails at Live Axe for Halloween Weekend
If channeling your inner horror movie villains like Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) and Jack Torrance (The Shining) has ever appealed to you, be sure to check out Live Axe — Manhattan’s first and only elevated ax-throwing destination. All Halloween weekend, Live Axe will be decked out with spooky decorations in celebration of the holiday, featuring a wall of silver skulls with red roses and a multi-colored ax display.
Classic Halloween tunes will be played with specialty cocktails served in skull mugs. One such drink will be the Ursula featuring Lillet Blond, vodka, gin, charcoal, and lemon. Food offerings will include flatbread pizza, chicken skewers, and phyllo ice cream served with a date fig wine reduction and caramel. For those in costume, Live Axe will be hosting a contest on Instagram. The winner will receive a free Live Axe experience.
Next, check out Summit One Vanderbilt Opens Today, a great spot to visit during the fall season!