The 17 Best Ways to Celebrate Halloween in NYC This Year

Gear up for ghost tours, costume contests, and the grand return of the beloved Village Halloween Parade.

Malibu Farm’s Roasted Pumpkin Sundae
Malibu Farm’s Roasted Pumpkin Sundae | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Malibu Farm’s Roasted Pumpkin Sundae | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Halloween in NYC is a holiday unlike any other, one that embraces creativity and the fun side of fear in all its forms. Spooky season involves autumnal food and experimental cocktails, cozy nights on the couch, wild nights bar hopping, and a legendary parade of course—and in NYC, the options for celebrating cater to every niche interest.

This Halloween, New Yorkers can confront claustrophobia in eerie mazes, explore the paranormal in haunted environs, watch ghouls dance in a century-old cathedral, and participate in the return of the world’s favorite nighttime parade. Here are the 17 best ways to celebrate Halloween in NYC this year.

Historic Richmond Town
Historic Richmond Town | Photo by Marc Hermann

Various dates in October
When Halloween rolls around, Staten Island’s Historic Richmond Town comes to life. Of course, you could play it safe and make a weekend visit to the pumpkin patch at Decker Farm, but we also recommend the exciting offerings of its eerie nighttime tours. Weave in and out of colonial homes under lantern light on the Village Ghost Tour—which happens on a handful of dates in October—led by costumed storytellers who share scary tales of paranormal encounters along the way. Or, if your schedule permits, join the Spooky Richmond Town tour on Saturday, October 23, for a historian’s take on Richmond’s haunted past.
Cost: Tickets are $10 for Village Ghost Tours, $25 for the Spooky Richmond Town tour

The Green-Wood Cemetery
The Green-Wood Cemetery

Various dates in October
Sunset Park
Brooklyn’s 478-acre Green-Wood Cemetery has a storied past in NYC, and a variety of tours and events hosted by the Green-Wood Historic Fund let visitors absorb its beautiful landscape after dark, when its gates are normally shut. The most standard evening tour is Green-Wood After Hours, which weaves along the cemetery trails, passing prominent graves along the way, and ends with a stop inside the closed-to-the-public catacombs. In late October, you can also snag tickets to evening musical performances, whether that’s the emotional Fauré: Requiem with Cantori New York or a catacomb concert featuring saxophonist Darius Jones. Whichever event you choose, remember to be respectful to the dead—which includes leaving your costume at home.
Cost: Tickets range from $30 to $80, depending on the event

Boo at the Zoo
Boo at the Zoo | Photo courtesy of Julie Larsen Maher

Weekends through October 31
Bronx Park
The Bronx Zoo gives families something to enjoy beyond live animals. Boo at the Zoo is a family-friendly affair that features pumpkin-carving demos, magic shows, and puppet musicals, plus an extinct animal graveyard, costume parade, and candy trail. Of course, guests will still see plenty of living, breathing creatures during their visit, but why not get more bang for your buck?
Cost: $39.95 per ticket for adults, $34.95 for seniors, $29.95 for children under 12, and free admission for kids under 2

The Queens County Farm Museum
The Queens County Farm Museum

Until Saturday, October 30
Glen Oaks
The Queens County Farm Museum put its square footage to use to create a harvest festival that outshines anything else in the city. Halloween at the farm includes spooky hayrides, a haunted farmhouse, apple cider donuts, a pumpkin patch, and the city’s only corn maze. The Amazing Maize Maze, shaped like Andy Warhol’s cow this year, involves three acres of interactive puzzle solving to find your way to the finish—and in honor of Halloween, guests can navigate the maze in the moonlight on Saturday, October 23, and Thursday, October 28, for a scary twist.
Cost: Online tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for kids; if you’re going at night, they’re $15 for adults, $10 for kids

Sloomoo Institute
Photo courtesy of Sloomoo Institute

Until Sunday, October 31
If you’re a kid, kid at heart, or parent, Sloomoo Institute’s month-long Halloween makeover will make for a fun daytime adventure. The children’s museum is a self-described “celebration of slime” with interactive slime exhibits and a DIY slime bar. For Halloween, it’s taken a more exciting turn, now boasting an Instagrammable “slime cove” to explore and spooky limited-edition slimes to bring home—plus, candy and costume contests. General admission gets you entry and a free 8-ounce container of slime; enhanced admission includes all that plus a trip to Sloomoo Falls, where you’ll get covered in a poncho and doused with slime old-school Nickelodeon-style.
Cost: General admission is $39, enhanced admission is $68

Coctelería de los Muertos
Coctelería de los Muertos | Photo by Front of House

Until Sunday, November 21
While you’d be mistaken to think that Día de los Muertos and Halloween are the same, their shared focus of remembering the dead makes them sister holidays by nature. The Coctelería de los Muertos pop-up gives city-dwellers the chance to celebrate Día de los Muertos before, during, and after the holiday, which spans November 1 and 2. The festive concept is occupying The Garret Coctelería this fall, serving a menu of small plates and jaw-dropping signature cocktails like the Weeping in Queens (rum, bell pepper, pumpkin), Certified Sad Boy (tequila, tamarind, pineapple), and Cob Ross (whiskey, corn, honey). Advance reservations are recommended to ensure you can get a table.
Cost: Food and drink prices vary

Various dates through November
What’s more thrilling than a haunted house? A haunted house you can’t escape, of course. Euphoria’s Nightmare on Jefferson Street is a Halloween attraction meets art installation that occupies a 4,000-square-foot event venue. Recommended for adults and teens alike, the space includes a dozen “horror scenes” to immerse yourself in so you can feel like you’re starring in a gory movie—whether that’s witnessing an exorcism, shimmying past a vacant children’s swing set, or praying to a candle-lit deer altar.
Cost: $25

Malibu Farm’s Roasted Pumpkin Sundae
Malibu Farm’s Roasted Pumpkin Sundae | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Until December
You only get a few months each year to fill up on pumpkin-themed treats, and if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks, Malibu Farm’s Roasted Pumpkin Sundae deserves your attention. Crafted by pastry chef Paola Marocchi, the dessert is framed in a miniature pumpkin that’s roasted in brown sugar and spices, stuffed full of pumpkin ice cream, and topped with candied pecans and pumpkin seeds, a heavy dollop of roasted meringue, and pumpkin spiced caramel sauce.
Cost: $17

Sunday to Sunday
Photo courtesy of Sunday to Sunday

Sunday, October 24
Lower East Side
All-day café Sunday to Sunday is showing back-to-back scary movies ahead of Halloween weekend, with a screening of Scary Movie at 6:30 pm and Halloween at 8:30 pm. Buy your tickets at the shop’s takeout window—it’s recommended that you purchase in advance in case they sell out—and enjoy free cacio e pepe popcorn and a cocktail when you return to watch. The Halloween-inspired cocktails on offer include the cherry-red Bloody Valentine and the Sunday Scaries, made with tequila, egg white, apple cider, cinnamon, and spiced maple syrup.
Cost: $20 for a ticket to one of the films, with cacio e pepe popcorn and a Halloween cocktail included

Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Photo courtesy of Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Friday, October 29
Morningside Heights
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is welcoming back in-person guests for two seatings of this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. The show begins with a screening of the 1920 silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, accompanied by a live organist. After the movie, a master puppeteer—with help from members of the Mettawee River Theatre Company—will put on a Hallween performance filled with ghouls and goblins. The show is offered at both 7 pm and 10 pm, so all can enjoy it regardless of their bedtime.
Cost: $40

Resident | Photo by Sarvie Studios

Friday, October 29
Downtown Brooklyn
Chef Brendan Kelley (Roberta’s, Aska, Amass) put together a Nordic-inspired Halloween dinner perfect for anyone who feels they’ve outgrown trick-or-treating. The “New York Is Undead” dinner event is from Resident, a roving program that offers intimate dining experiences in unique NYC spaces from high-caliber chefs. On this night out, expect an upscale tasting menu with expert wine pairings, in addition to entertainment that includes bespoke tarot card readings and surprise giveaways.
Cost: $225 per person

The Rockaway Hotel
The Rockaway Hotel | Photo courtesy of The Rockaway Hotel

Friday, October 29
The Super Heroes Ball at The Rockaway Hotel adds a beachy flair to the typical Halloween party. The superhero-themed event takes place on the hotel’s rooftop, with a live DJ, curated cocktails, impeccable views, and the chance to win a two-night stay at the hotel if you’re deemed best-dressed. Unless you live nearby, this may be your last chance to enjoy the beach before next season, so why not have some fun with it?
Cost: $10 cover charge to get in

Seaport District
Seaport District | Photo by Don Stahl

Saturday, October 30 - Sunday, October 31
If you love a good farmer’s market, a trip to Lower Manhattan’s in store. Celebrating the holiday at the Seaport includes a laid-back Halloween wonderland with a variety of shopping and entertainment options. There's the Hester Street Fair, Fulton Stall Market, and storefront trick-or-treating on Saturday, pumpkin painting at the South Street Seaport Museum on both Saturday and Sunday, and a Halloween Block Party on Sunday with live music, face-painting, and adult beverages.
Cost: Free to attend

Saturday, October 30
Financial District
The theme of Watermark’s Oktoberfest: Halloween Edition is all-day costumes and beer. From 11 am to 1 am, enjoy fresh river air and German beer while creepy characters roam among you and horror movies play on the big screen. If you’re feeling rebellious, make the switch from beer to liquor and get one of Watermark’s Halloween-inspired cocktails while you’re at it. It’s an outdoor extravaganza that ties in the two best autumn holidays, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s on a scenic pier.
Cost: General admission is free, or you can pay to reserve an area

Arlo NoMad
Arlo NoMad

Saturday, October 30
The Nightmare on 31st Street party sounds more like paradise to us. If you can snag a ticket to the coveted nighttime event, you’ll be granted entry to Arlo NoMad’s terrace, where you’ll get an hour of free cocktails and enjoy more than an hour of live beats by Ghost DJs under the moonlight. The party rages from 8 pm to 2 am, and in the true spirit of Halloween, costumes are mandatory the whole time. Just imagine how nice your Squid Game costume will photograph in front of the city skyline.
Cost: $50

Industry City’s Dog Howl-O-Ween Parade
Industry City’s Dog Howl-O-Ween Parade | Photo courtesy of Industry City

Sunday, October 31
Sunset Park
Dog owners (and dog lovers) can go wild at Industry City’s Dog Howl-O-Ween Parade, featuring drinks from Big aLICe Brewing. If you have a canine friend, bring it in costume and prepare to mingle. If you don’t, come ready to meet some—including a handful that are up for adoption through local nonprofit Rescue City. Not only will you get out and enjoy a wholesome afternoon, but you’ll help rescued dogs find forever homes. Even if you don’t plan to adopt a pup on the spot, $2 of every large draft pour you buy from Big aLICe will be donated to Rescue City. And if you can’t make it to Sunday’s dog parade, stop by Industry City on any Saturday afternoon to explore the newly opened Morbid Anatomy Library, filled with eerie artifacts on the topic of death.
Cost: Free to attend

Village Halloween Parade
Village Halloween Parade | Steve Edreff/Shutterstock

Sunday, October 31
Greenwich Village
After the iconic Village Halloween Parade was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, it’s making its grand return—and the organizers are ready to make up for lost time. The 2021 parade theme is “Let’s Play,” dedicated to the children who didn’t get to experience Halloween last year, and musical comedian Randy Rainbow has been named the grand marshal. The parade begins at Spring Street at 7 pm and makes its way up Sixth Avenue to 16th Street. If you’re not ready to call it a night when the procession ends, snag tickets to the official after-party at Webster Hall.
Cost: Free to attend; after-party tickets are $40 each

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Kyler Alvord is a contributor for Thrillist.