Halloween is all about fun, with plenty of opportunities for kids and adults.
Here’s our list of FREE and cheap Halloween events in NYC, before, during and after the scariest day of the year, including the return of the Village Parade and Dios de la Muerta events.
Add these to your calendar, and say Boo!
Village Halloween Parade
After being canceled last year because of the coronavirus, New York City’s famous and famously creative Village Halloween Parade is back on Oct. 31.
Now in its 48th year, the parade prances and dances up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street, starting at 7 p.m. and finishing around 11 p.m.
The grand marshal is the comedian and YouTube star Randy Rainbow.
Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla
Drop off your carved pumpkin and find a spot along the edge of the Harlem Meer to watch as the jack-o’-lanterns float by in New York’s largest pumpkin flotilla.
New this year: pumpkin owners may retrieve their carved pumpkins at the conclusion of the flotilla at 6.30 pm from the Harlem Meer beach near Fifth Avenue and East 108th Street.
Come dressed in your Halloween costume and celebrate Halloween on the Harlem Meer.
- 4pm to 6pm, Thursday, Oct. 28, at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
Pumpkin Point at Governors Island
During the last two weekends of October, Pumpkin Point brings thousands of pumpkins to Governors Island, transforming historic Nolan Park into a fall wonderland.
Stroll through the expansive pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin to take home in exchange for a small suggested donation.
Programming includes FREE Halloween and autumn-inspired arts and crafts, activities and more.
A selection of Governors Island vendors — including Little Eva’s, Threes Brewing and Joe Coffee — will offer seasonally-inspired food and beverages on-site, including autumn brews.
Governors Island is now open year-round.
Click here to book ferry tickets.
Through Oct. 31, Metrograph Theater is offering digital streams of a 45-minute compilation of Halloween-themed cartoons from the collection of the archivist Tommy José Stathes, with live-action and animated shorts featuring Felix the Cat and Koko the Clown. It’s recommended for ages 8 and up.
On Oct. 29, Cathedral of St. John the Divine is screening the classic silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, accompanied by organist Timothy Brumfield playing appropriately scary music. Following the screenings, master puppeteer Ralph Lee will be joined by members of the Mettawee River Theatre Company to act out the roles of ghouls and goblins.
- At 7pm and 10pm. Reservations are recommended.
- 11am screening. Reservations are recommended.
PBS is streaming Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive
Best known for his Gothic horror tales and narrative poem “The Raven,” Poe’s stories are the basis of countless films and TV episodes, and have inspired even more, as has his name and image. Determined to re-invent American literature, Poe was an influential – and brutally honest – literary critic and magazine editor, who also invented the detective protagonist with his character C. Auguste Dupin.
Not So Scary Movies
Movies Under the Stars – Twitches
Destiny brings twin witches, separated at birth, back together on their 21st birthday to fight a dark force that is threatening their long-lost birth mother. Rated TV-G.
- FREE screening
- 7pm, Wed., Oct. 27, Lyons Pool, 6 Victory Blvd., Staten Island
Movies Under the Stars – The Addams Family
Dark hilarity ensues after the Addams family—and their macabre traditions—relocate to suburbia, 21st century New Jersey. As they prepare for a major celebration that involves their extended family, they have to maneuver around the machinations of a devious reality television host. Rated PG.
- FREE outdoor screening
- Bring your own blanket or chairs. Food and beverages are okay, but not alcohol
- 6pm, Fri., Brownsville Recreation Center, 1555 Linden Blvd., Brooklyn
Family-Friendly Halloween Events
“No Tricks, All Treats” Concert
On Oct. 31, Regina Opera Company presents a 90-minute operatic and instrumental concert, with music by composers incluing Verdi and Puccini. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help school auditorium, 5902 6th Avenue, Brooklyn
- October 31st at 3PM.
- Tickets are $15 for General Admission; TDF will be accepted. Teens – $5; children – Free Admission. Cash or check at the door.
- COVID VACCINATION Certificates, ID, and masks are required.
On Oct. 31, Essex Market on the Lower East Side has two FREE events, a pumpkin decorating workshop and a costume parade.
- Both events are between 2pm and 4pm. No registration required.
- Essex Market is at 88 Essex Street, at the corner of Essex and Delancey.
On Oct. 30, The National Lighthouse Museum will present a Haunted Halloween Boat Tour to Execution Rocks on October 30 from 3 to 6pm, where guests will cruise the East River while hearing stories of haunted lighthouses and ghostly river tales. There will also be a costume contest and a DJ on board.
This falls into the splurge category, since tickets are $60 for adults and $40 for kids
- All boat tours will depart from Pier 1, St. George, Staten Island, adjacent to the National Lighthouse Museum.
- Check-in begins an hour before boat’s departure
- 3pm to 6pm.
More Day of the Dead Events
National Museum of the American Indian
On Oct. 28, NMAI presents a virtual celebration of the Day of the Dead with several films and shorts.
In recorded presentations by two renowned Mexican families, the museum showcases two traditions central to Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos): the art of making figures from sugar and papier-mâché. These two presentations will take place in Spanish. Closed captioning in Spanish and English will be available.
“The Sweet Story of Alfeñique” follows matriarch Margarita Mondragón as she creates skulls and animals, artworks made of sugar (alfeñique). The Mondragón family is from Toluca, the heart of sugar-making activities in Mexico, and her family has been making hand-decorated sugar skulls for more than 150 years.
“The Story of Cartonería Tradicional” (The Story of Papier-mâché) follows artisans Ana Miriam Castañeda Montes de Oca and Martín Ramírez as they make compelling figures known as calaveras (laughing skeletons), figures that humorously and poetically continue with their work in the afterlife. The art form dates to at least to the 17th century and were used to adorn religious spaces and represent various historical figures in processions.
“Day of the Dead: The Basics” with Cynthia Vidaurri, museum research and scholarship. Join Cynthia as she answers and illustrates the basic questions about Day of the Dead, including “What is Día de los Muertos”? How is it different from Halloween? And what is an ofrenda and what do the beautiful decorations mean? Cynthia will illustrate the presentation with images collected over her years of research and selected images from previous Day of the Dead programs at the museum.
“How to Make Paper Marigolds” with Evelyn Orantes (Quiche Maya) and Joaquin Newman (Yaqui/Mexica). Flowers play an important role in many celebrations, from births to funerals they help us express our feelings towards people we care about. For Day of the Dead, the colorful petals of zempasuchil (marigold flowers) are used. Evelyn Orantes and Joaquin Newman will demonstrate how to create paper marigolds.
Pumpkin Smash in Hudson River Park