If you’re catching a flight to New York at the end of this month, you’ll find lots of Halloween celebrations taking place throughout the city. Halloween in New York is an all-out celebration, filled with outlandish costumes and elaborate decorations. To help you plan your trip, we’ve rounded up the spooktacular events you should add to your NYC itinerary.
Village Halloween Parade
This is the absolute pinnacle of Halloween in New York. Now in its 46th year, the parade will take place on Thursday, 31st October between 7pm and 10.30pm. It’s free to march in the parade – which runs up Sixth Ave in Manhattan, from Spring Street to 16th Street – but costumes are mandatory. This year’s theme is ‘Wild Thing’. Alternatively, you can stick to your normal clothes and watch from the sidelines. The section of Sixth Ave between Bleeker Street and 14th Street tends to get the most congested, though, so try to avoid this area.
Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade
Halloween in New York isn’t all about people. There are opportunities for furry friends to get involved too. Happening on Sunday 20th October, the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade lets pooches show off their spooky alter egos. This annual parade of costumed dogs is the largest Halloween Dog Parade in the US (yes, there are others). It used to take place in Tompkins Square Park in Alphabet City – as the name suggests – but it moved to the East River Park Amphitheatre a few years back. So if you want to watch dogs in fancy dress – and really, who doesn’t? – head down to the Lower East Side anytime between noon and 3pm. There’s even a whopping thousand dollars worth of prizes up for grabs for the best-dressed pup.
Hitchcock Halloween Party at The McKittrick Hotel
Step into Hollywood’s Golden Age at The McKittrick Hotel’s Hitchcock Halloween Party. Since 2011, this pseudo hotel has been the permanent home of Punchdrunk’s immersive theatre masterpiece, Sleep No More. And on October 25th, 26th, and 31st, it will be throwing open its doors for a late-night bash inspired by the master of suspense. One of the most glamorous ways to spend Halloween in New York, the event will feature live performances, installations, surprise guests, and an epic dance party with an open bar. Party-only tickets are available, or you can go all out with a package that includes a performance of Sleep No More and/or an elegant dinner banquet in The Club Car before the party.
Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla
If you’re spending Halloween in New York with kids, don’t miss this one. The family-friendly event will take place at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center in Central Park on Wednesday 30th October. Completely free and open to all ages, it sees 50 homemade jack-o’-lanterns float across the Harlem Meer at twilight. The main event kicks off at 6:30pm, but there’s a bunch of other activities happening beforehand. Between 4pm and 5:45pm, you can watch live pumpkin-carving demonstrations, listen to scary stories, and partake in creepy crafts. And then immediately before the flotilla there’s a Halloween parade, so the kids can show off their creative costumes.
Halloween at the Museum
There’s no reason Halloween in New York shouldn’t come with a dose of culture. Head to the American Museum of Natural History on Saturday 26th October, between 2-6pm, and you’ll find it decked out with spine-tingling decorations. Kids, in their ghoulish garb, can trick-or-treat, enjoy some arts and crafts, and explore more than 30 of the museum’s halls. Cartoon characters like Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog will be roaming around, and there’ll be special performances by the Big Apple Circus, magician Robert Austin, and the Gazillion Bubble Show.