In the city that never sleeps, it is no surprise that New York City displays a plethora of Halloween events across the city each year. Some events are focused toward adults only, whereas others are created to make Halloween fun and memorable for children. Regardless of your age there seems to be an endless amount of choices of things to do from mid-September to Halloween.
Village Halloween Parade
Every Halloween from 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm there is a Halloween parade along 6th Avenue. The parade begins at Springs Street and continues down 6th Avenue to 23rd Street. Many of the residents and visitors to New York City come out each Halloween to enjoy this parade. Over 50,000 residents of New York City participated in this parade and Halloween tradition to showcase their amazing costume choices. Aside from showcasing creative costumes, spectators are able to enjoy live music, dancers, and even a showing of giant Halloween theme puppets. For more information on this parade be sure to visit their website.
Halloween Bash at Webster Hall
Another New York City favorite is the Halloween Bash at Webster Hall that is considered to be an after-party to the Halloween parade. It begins at 8pm and is four floors of loud music, club dancing, drinking and celebrating. It is a once-in-a-lifetime party that is guaranteed to leave lasting memories. There are literally thousands of people who show up to attend this Halloween party each year.
You will see many people in costume but it isn't your run of the mill, trick-or-treating costumes. Many people spend hundreds of dollars and months planning their costume, and for good reason. There is always a costume contest with the grand prize winner walking home with $5000 in cash.
Another Webster Hall favorite is the annual virgin sacrifice. It is a large stage production with dancers, fire spinning, ominous music and much more. Finally, a virgin is plucked from the crowd and stripped down to nothing. Then she is tied to a large pentagram as the sacrifice display begins.
Although advance tickets to this Halloween bash are available, they tend to sell out quickly.
The Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of Ghouls
Another New York City Halloween tradition is The Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of Ghouls at John the Divine. At this Halloween event, residents can come out in their favorite costume and enjoy silent movies amongst the eerie ambiance of dim lighting and organ music that adds to the creepy atmosphere. Once the movie is over, residents proceed to the Halloween parade to take part in the Procession of Ghouls. Tickets generally cost $20 and are available in advance. For more information on this event, call 866-811-4111.
Halloween in Central Park
If you're looking for free events this Halloween season, consider hanging out in Central Park. Each year Central Park schedules several Halloween-themed events perfect for all ages. These events typically include dressing up in your Halloween costume, Halloween crafts, and learning real-life facts about animals that typically give Halloween the spook factor. For the most up-to-date information on events this Halloween, visit the official Central Park website.
WARNING: This video contains a POV (point-of-view) walk through of Nightmare New York and is uncensored. Not for the faint of heart or easily offended.
Nightmare New York
Considered New York City's most terrifying haunted house attraction, this draws many adult residents, who come out to get their scream on each Halloween season. Due to the nature of this event, it is not suitable for children under the age of 16 unless accompanied by an adult. Unlike most haunted attractions across the country, this one has a little twist. Only groups of 8 to 12 people are allowed to go in at time, and the themes change from year to year. In the past they have had scary fairy tale themes and serial killer themes.
The haunted attractions runs from late September to the end of October. They do not recommend anyone who is prone to seizures, have a heart condition, pregnant, or any other health problems that my be complicated by being scared or terrified. After all, this is a haunted attraction with actors who are trained to scare you and give you nightmares for weeks to come.
For more information on what to expect from this attraction be sure to visit their website.
Haunted Pumpkin Garden
The New York Botanical Garden as a variety of fall and Halloween-themed events. Once of which is the Haunted Pumpkin Garden. This Halloween event is fun for the whole family or even as a unique date experience. Learn tips on carving pumpkins, which the New York Botanical Garden likes to call "funkins", stroll through a variety of sculptures and displays using pumpkins, let the children play in the whimsical pumpkin house, and watch humorous puppet shows, plus much more.
Admission ranges from $20 - $25 for adults, $18-$22 for students, and $8 - $10 for children. The Haunted Pumpkin Garden is open from late September through Halloween.
Spooky Nighttime Adventures
The New York Botanical Garden also offers Spooky Nighttime Adventures on select dates throughout the Halloween season. You can bring along a flashlight and listen to spooky ghost stories as you hike the trick-or-treat trail. Learn about sounds that echo through the night and make fun, spooky crafts. This is definitely an event to bring a camera with you to capture the memorable experience.
Halloween Murder Mystery
Why not make Halloween interactive? Consider heading over to the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden to take part in its fictional mystery game with the classic element of "who done it". This event is designed for adults and children over the age of eight. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for kids under the age of 12. Members get a special discounted ticket price of $15. To learn more about this year's murder mystery theme, call 212-838-6878.
Also hosted by the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden, is perfect for younger children. Designed for children ages six and under, this is the time to listen to stories about Halloween, make crafts, and take a tour the museum. Although the event itself is free, you will have to purchase admission to the museum.
There is also a variety of walking tours available in New York City regardless of the time of year. However, during the Halloween season special ghost tours are added to the roster. Come take a guided tour through Greenwood Cemetery and learn about the ghosts and spirits that haunt this place.
Merchants House Museum also has several ghostly tours. You can come here to listen to ghostly tales and take a candlelight tour through the museum, or you can step back in time to participate in a reenactment of the 1865 funeral of Seabury Treadwell. Even get a chance to learn more about Edgar Allan Poe.
Ghosts of New York is a walking tour by licensed tour guides. They will walk you through what is thought to be some of the most haunted areas of New York City and tell ghostly tales steep in history and eyewitness accounts. Each tour lasts for about 90 minutes and the walking portion of the tour is generally less than a mile. For more information on tour dates and times, be sure visit their website.
Consider going on an adventure this Halloween in New York City. Watson Adventures has a few scavenger hunts to choose from. Some are more geared toward an adult audience, whereas others are perfect for the little ones. When it comes to the scavenger hunt themes and locations, it is best to check the website for the most up-to-date information on Watson Adventures' Halloween scavenger hunts.
Keep in mind the Halloween events listed here are just a fraction of what is available in New York City. However, these are some of the most popular Halloween events in which residents enjoy participating each year.
© 2014 Linda Sarhan
Billy Turnock from Manchester England on September 22, 2014:
What an excellent round-up of all things Halloween in New York. Fantastic article.