Trick or treat at these family-friendly NYC Halloween events, most of which are FREE. NYC on the Cheap works overtime to share events and deals $25 or less, so you have fun in the greatest city on the planet without sending your budget into outer space.
SEE ALSO Our roundup of best NYC Halloween events for grownups only, including crypt crawls and haunted houses.
Shocktober Fest is a continuation of the summer-long FREE Movies Under the Stars series in NYC parks. Shocktober Fest films are all family-friendly, all FREE, and all and begin at dusk.
- Rocky Horror Show at McCarren Park Pool Plaza, Queens
- The Addams Family at Thomas Jefferson Park, Manhattan
- Bride of Frankenstein is the 1935 classic starring Elsa Lancaster, at Carroll Park, Brooklyn –
- Caspar The Friendly Ghost at Leif Ericson Park, Brooklyn
- Poltergeist at Sunset Park, Brooklyn
- Ghostbusters at Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn (unfortunately, the universally-panned recent remake, not the iconic and brilliant original)
- Hotel Transylvania 2 at Kelly Park, Brooklyn
22nd Annual Halloween Celebration at AMNH – Curious George®, Clifford the Big Red Dog®, Miffy, Franny K. Stein, Danny’s Dinosaur, and Little Critters® are among the characters who will greet costumed children, who also can prowl more than 30 museum halls to wander among “ferocious” dinosaurs, “eerie” elephants, and the “mysterious” universe for trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, and fun with roaming cartoon characters, stilt walkers, and balloon artists.
Activities and giveaways by: School of Rock, SpongeBob SquarePants, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Balloon artist Nick the Balloonatic, and more. Live performances by David Grover and Grover’s Gang, Louie Miranda and His Band, The Magic of Robert Austin, BIG NAZO Intergalactic Creature Band, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Maniac Pumpkin Carver, and more. Tickets are $15.
Also on Saturday, Oct. 28 –
Halloween Harvest Festival – Costume- and art-making with local artists, face-painting with Agostino Arts, add your mementos and relics to ancestral altars set up throughout the landscape and more. Urban Shaman Mama Donna will be offering harvest animal blessings for pets, and dogs is in costume you can participate in a Canine Costume Contest for prizes. Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, 11am to 3pm. FREE
Haunted Halloween on the High Line -Travel back in time and learn the history of the High Line. Get into character with artistic face painting, capture memories with our old-time photo booth, dance, go on a scavenger hunt with candy, and watch live performances. FREE, 11am to 3pm. Note this program takes place at two locations between 14th St. and 16th St. RSVP required – which does not guarantee participation since entrance is first-come, first-served.
Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead – Traditional dances honoring ancestors willl be performed by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa around the community ofrenda, or altar. Hands-on activities include embellishing paper skull masks, decorating skeleton puppets, creating paper flowers and painting plaster skulls. FREE, Noon to 5pm at the National Museum of the American Indian, at the northern tip of Battery Park. .
Halloween Game Expo – Video games take over the Microsoft office in Time Square for an all-out Halloween game expo celebrating local developers. More than 100 game developers will be showing off their latest games one-on-one, plus there’s pizza, treats and prizes as kids and the grown-ups they bring along try out the games.. Costumes are encouraged. Kids can trick-or-treat for candy from booth to booth, too. Click here for comp tickets, and avoid paying the walk-up price of $10
38th Annual Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair – Noon to 3pm in Prospect Park, followed by the first-ever !BKLYN BOO! taking place at City Point in downtown Brooklyn to 5pm. FREE
Halloween Dog Parade – Dogs don crazy costumes to win prizes at this annual FREE event in Tompkins Square Park
Friday to Sunday, Oct. 27-29
Day of the Dead – Celebrate the Mexican tradition of honoring lost souls with live music, arts and crafts projects, food, and more. FREE, St. Marks-in-the-Bowery, East Yard, 1pm to 6pm daily. The church is at 10th St. and Second Ave.
Haunted Gracie Mansion – The Mayor’s office is giving away FREE tickets to a spooky tour of the mayor’s official residence, including Mayor de Blasio and first lady Charlene McCray greeting guests in costume. The event is open only to children aged 6-10 and their parents or guardians. Apply for tickets online or by calling 311, before Oct. 17 to be eligible.
Sunday, Oct. 29 –
Halloween Flatiron Walking Tour – Take a FREE Halloween themed guided tour through the historic Flatiron District, and learn about spooky history including New York’s Eden Musée, once the home of the wax display “Chamber of Horrors,” and the city’s most popular Halloween destination, Abracadabra’s. The tour is rain or shine at 11am, starting at 11:00 a.m., and begins at the southwest corner of Madison Square Park (in front of the William Seward statue) at 23rd Street and Broadway. No advance registration is required. There are FREE walking tours every Sunday at 11am, but only this one on Halloween weekend focuses on the area’s spooky history.
Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla – Enjoy live music, spooky stories, pumpkin carving demonstrations, a costume parade, and Central Park Conservancy’s annual signature Pumpkin Flotilla, which sets sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight. FREE at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, 110th St. between Fifth and Lenox Aves. The website also tells you how you can submit your own carved pumpkin to the flotilla.
Seaport Halloween Block Party – Dance to the music of kid-friendly band “Ramblin’ Dan & the Freewheelin’ Band, check out the stilt walkers, visit with face painters and enjoy a fun day at the Seaport. A children’s mini-pumpkin station will be available (while supplies last), for decorating and kids get to take their mini pumpkins home. Attendees are encouraged to dress in costume. At the historic Seaport District, 11am to 2pm. FREE but RSVP requested.
Tuesday, Oct. 31 –
Spooky City – Third Annual Halloween Party at the Museum of the City of New York. Kids can wear a costume and make a mask, then “trick or treat” on a haunted New York scavenger hunt throughout the museum, complete with spooky tales. There’s also pumpkin decorating inspired by the exhibitions to take home, treats that originated in New York City., and a DJ’d monster mash dance party, 2pm to 5pm. FREE with registration, for ages 6-12.