Sure Halloween is celebrated all month long in NYC, but the city rolls out tons of free events (“spooky” and otherwise). It’s still festival season, you and the family can explore the city’s architectural gems and landmarks and of course it’s time for doggies on parade in costumes. (Lots of them.) Read on to plan your month of free fun!

photo: Shinya Suzuki

Big Apple Crunch Throughout the City

Bite into an apple… at the same time as hundreds of other people in NYS! The Big Apple Crunch is a yearly event that invites kids and adults alike to buy apples (and other groceries) from local suppliers. Ask in your school or local community center, or host your own miniature version with your family or neighbors. Just take a bite, snap a picture, and share it with others using #BigAppleCrunch!

Various times and locations
Online: farmon.org

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Archtober 2019 Across the City

Architecture is all around us, yet we rarely stop to notice it! Archtober seeks to change that by bringing our attention to the wonders of NYC's buildings and structures. Every day in October focuses on a different structure, and special tours are available to explore places like the Brooklyn Children's Museum, Bronx Music Hall, the MoMA expansion and renovation, and even behind the scenes looks at the NYC transit system.

Various times and locations
Online: archtober.org

Oktoberfest at Dumbo

You might think Oktoberfest is all about the beer, but this event makes the yearly celebration a family-friendly affair. Stop by for themed arts and crafts, live Polka tunes, and some virtual apple-picking photo ops.

Fri.-Sat., Oct. 4-5
5-9 p.m. on Fri., 1-9 p.m. on Sat.
Dumbo Archway
155 Water St.
Dumbo
Online: dumbo.is

Meadow Walk at Randall's Island

What flowers bloom in fall? Find out on this walk through the Water’s Edge Garden on Randall's Island, where families will be introduced to the city's local autumn blooms and their seeds.

Sat., Oct. 5
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Hell Gate Wildflower Meadow
Randall's Island
Online: randallsisland.org 

Coastline Ecology at Rockaway Beach

Learn all about the kinds of plants and animals that thrive along the coastlines of NYC in this educational walk, led by the city's Urban Rangers.

Sat., Oct. 5
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
Beach 86th St. & Shorefront Pkwy
Rockaway Beach
Online: nycgovparks.org

Pumpkin Festival at the Greenbelt

It's pumpkin season and the Greenbelt will have their very best on display at this yearly family festival. Go pumpkin picking, meet the horses from the city Parks department, learn about the local flora and fauna, and more! Stop by at 2 p.m. for a pumpkin-side performance by Music with Patrick.

Sat., Oct 5
12-4 p.m.
Willowbrook Park
Staten Island
Online: nycgovparks.org

Hands on History at King Manor Museum

Join the King Manor in celebrating the 250th birthday of the lady of the house. Learn all about the jewelry worn in the 19th century — including the necklace and hairpin in the portrait of the lady — then make your own era-inspired trinket to take home. Recommended for kids 6 and up.

Sat., Oct. 5
1-4 p.m.
King Manor Museum
150-03 Jamaica Ave.
Jamaica
Online: eventbrite.com

photo: Lola Star

Skate Night in the Upper East Side

Experience an old-school roller party with a live DJ and outdoor skating and dancing jam. A limited number of free skates are available (wear socks!) but you can also bring your own. Jumbo games and other entertainment will be available, as well.

Sat., Oct. 5
4-5 p.m.
Stanley Isaacs Playground
Between E 95th St. & E 96 St. and 1st Ave.
Upper East Side
Online: nycgovparks.org

photo: PET EXPO

Strut Your Mutt at Pier 84

Stop by to support animal rescues and shelters at the pup walk fundraiser. Bring your fur baby along if you have one for fun activities the whole family will enjoy, like paw painting, a photo booth where you can "smooch your pooch," puppy trivia, and more. Don't have a pup? No problem — come by to make some furry friends and enjoy the show!

Sat., Oct. 5
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Pier 84
555 12th Ave.
Hell's Kitchen
Online: facebook.com

Little Red Lighthouse Festival in Fort Washington Park

Explore the city's last remaining lighthouse with this festival, which will feature children's book readings, fishing, live music performances, vendors of all sorts of food and art, and more fun things for the little ones to do.

Sat., Oct. 5
12-4 p.m.
Little Red Lighthouse at Fort Washington Park
Hudson River Greenway
Washington Heights
Online: nycgovparks.org

photo: Kuo Heng Huang, courtesy of Lincoln Center

Brown Rice Family at Lincoln Center

This month's rendition of Free Saturdays at the Atrium stars the eight-member Brown Rice Family for a far-reaching performance that spans music genres from jazz and hip-hop to rock and Brazilian music. Recommended for ages 2-5.

Sat., Oct. 5
11 a.m.
David Reubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
61 W. 62nd St.
Hell's Kitchen
Online: lincolncenter.org

Pickle Day at the LES

We hope you like pickles, because there are a lot of them at this festival — and we mean a lot! Picklers from all over the city unite for a special day of pickle-loving treats like pickle on a stick and even pickle ice cream. Besides the 20+ picklers selling their wares, you'll also find carnival attractions, music, games and, of course, the event's giant pickle mascot.

Sun., Oct. 6
Lower East Side
Online: pickleday.nyc

Parade of Boats at Chelsea Piers

Watch a spectacular parade of many different types of boats as they make their way across the Hudson River with the setting sun as a backdrop. Historic ships, modern yachts, tiny sailboats and huge work boats will join many others for a visual treat for attendees.

Mon., Oct. 7
6-7 p.m.
Pier 62
Chelsea Piers
Online: waterfrontalliance.org 

Astronomy: Phases of the Moon at Bushwick Inlet Park

This event gives kids a chance to learn about the stars and the moon by getting their hands on a telescope or high-powered binoculars and exploring the skies up close and personal. Urban Rangers will be on hand to supply educational info about the science, history, and mythology surrounding astronomy.

Sun., Oct. 13
8-9:30 p.m.
50 Kent Pop-Up Park in Bushwick Inlet Park
Williamsburg
Online: nycgovparks.org

Fall Festival at Bayswater

Celebrate the fall and harvest season with a carnival flair at this event with fun attractions like bouncy castles, pony and hayrides, pumpkin picking, a magician, and lots more kid-friendly activities.

Sun., Oct. 13
12-3 p.m.
Bayswater Park
Bay 32nd St. & Beach Channel Dr.
Far Rockaway
Online: nycgovparks.org

Tennis Clinic at Flushing Meadows Park

Whether your child is the ace at their school's tennis team or has never held a racket in their hand, the Tennis Clinic will give them a chance to learn various fundamentals of the sports, from the serve to the volley. Recommended for ages 8-13.

Sun., Oct. 13
12-3 p.m.
Al Oerter Recreation Center in Flushing Meadows Park
131-40 Fowler Ave.
Flushing
Online: nycgovparks.org

photo: Randall's Island Conservancy

Indigenous Peoples Day at Randall's Island

This day-long celebration places the spotlight on indigenous people, featuring traditional food, performances, and other cultural experiences.

Sun.-Mon., Oct. 13-14
11 a.m.-late on Sun., 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Mon.
Randall's Island
Online: ipdnyc.org

Columbus Day Parade

Starring participants from all over the world, this fun parade features lots of musical performances, fun floats, and more. Check out the main performances on 5th Ave. between 67th and 69th Streets. The yearly event draws huge crowds so be aware that it'll be loud and crowded!

Mon., Oct. 14
5th Ave. from 44th to 72nd St.
Midtown to Upper East Side
Online: columbuscitizensfd.org

Art in Odd Places

Art is all around us! This event aims to make NYC residents find the beauty in the everyday by placing art installations across 14th Street. The event includes artists over the age of 60, who you can find parading their artistic creations on Saturday and Sunday of the event.

Thurs.-Sun., Oct. 17-20
14th Street from Ave. C to the Hudson River
Midtown
Online: artinoddplaces.org

Open House New York

For one weekend, the city's most important and iconic buildings will be open to residents to visit, learn about, and meet the people behind them. Over 300 buildings and institutions will be available for viewing (some will require reservations). The full lineup will be released on October 1, as well as a useful "itenerary" feature to help you plan your weekend.

Fri.-Sun., Oct. 18-20
Various times and locations
Online: ohny.org

Halloween Dog Parade at Tompkins Square

Dress your pooch in his best costume or come pooch-less to see the festivities at this yearly Halloween pup parade. The whole family will enjoy seeing all the costumed dogs as they strut their stuff on the runway. Come early for best viewing spots, as this is a popular event!

Sat., Oct. 19
12-3 p.m.
East River Park Amphitheater
Alongside the FDR Grand St. in East River Park
Lower East Side
Online: tompkinssquaredogrun.com

Halloween Harvest Festival at Socrates Sculpture Park

Inspired by a Haitian festival, this event is a bit different from your typical harvest fest. Enjoy a Gede song workshop and a parade that ends in a traditional dance and performance — or stop by for the usual fare like costume making, face painting, and a doggie costume event.

Sat., Oct. 26
12-4 p.m.
Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Blvd.
Long Island City
Online: socratessculpturepark.org 

photo: Prospect Park Alliance

Halloween Haunted Walk at Prospect Park

Prospect Park will be invaded by friendly spirits for one day. Visit for a chance to see zombies, werewolves, witches and more on the prowl. The haunted walk is recommended for kids ages 7-12, but all ages are welcome to visit the Halloween Fair, which features less scary things to do and see.

Sat., Oct. 26
12-3 p.m.
Prospect Park Nethermead
Online: prospectpark.org

photo: I Stole the TV via Flickr

The Great PUPkin at Fort Greene Park

Dogs of all types and sizes will put on their Halloween best for the great PUPkin event. Can't make it? The event will be livestreamed on Facebook! In case of poor weather, the event will be held on Oct. 27.

Sat., Oct. 26
Fort Greene Park
Online: fortgreenepups.org

photo: Heather Walker Photography

Halloween Festival at Fort Totten

Visit Fort Totten Park for a family-friendly Halloween celebration full of things to do, like a pumpkin patch, hayrides, costume contests, bouncy castles, relay races, obstacle courses, and much more.

Sat., Oct. 26
12-3 p.m.
Parade Grounds in Fort Totten Park
Totten Ave. & 15th Rd.
Bayside
Online: nycgovparks.org

Day of the Dead at the East Village

Honor the dead and your ancestors at this Day of the Dead event, where you'll also find Mexican cultural art, music, and a food and folk art market. Join many others in remembrance by placing a copy of a photograph of a lost loved one on the altar.

Sat.-Sun., Oct. 26-27
East Yard of St. Mark's in-the-Bowery
10th St. and 2nd Ave.
East Village
Online: manoamano.us

All About Bats at Bloomingdale Park Playground

Have you ever seen bats flying among the treetops at night? This event will demystify these unique mammals and educate visitors about the animal, led by the Urban Rangers.

Sun., Oct. 27
7-8:30 p.m.
Bloomingdale Park Playground in Bloomingdale Park
Ramona and Lenevar Aves.
Staten Island
Online: nycgovparks.org

Halloween Game Expo at the Microsoft Office

Try out over 100 games created by local indie developers at this event, with a Halloween twist. Kids can try their hand at the different games, as well as trick or treat among the booths for a fun-filled afternoon. Note that space is limited, and admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sun., Oct. 27
12 p.m.
Microsoft HQ
11 Times Square
Midtown
Online: playcrafting.com 

photo: Bronx Museum of Art

Tour de Bronx

Bike the Bronx at the Tour de Bronx event, where New Yorkers are welcome to bring their bicycles and join hundreds of others in a friendly race. If you don't have a bike of your own, there will be adult and children's rentals available on site. Participants will go through the New York Botanical Garden, where they'll receive a complimentary t-shirt and get to enjoy some music and relax after their ride.

Sun., Oct. 27
Starts at 161 St. & Grand Concourse
Bronx
Online: ilovethebronx.com

Toddler Halloween at the Williamsburg Oval

Enjoy a tamer, toddler-friendly Halloween celebration with arts and crafts, fun games, and sigalongs. Recommended for kids ages 5 and under.

Mon., Oct. 28
11 a.m.12:30 p.m.
Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center in Williamsbridge Oval
3225 Reservoir Oval E.
Bronx
Online: nycgovparks.org

Halloween Dog Costume Contest at Washington Square Park

Can't get enough of dogs in costumes? Stop by Washington Square Park for another pup parade. Think your family pet has what it takes to be best in show? Pre-registration is encouraged, and prizes will be awarded to the best costumed pupper.

Sun., Oct. 28
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Arch Plaza at Washington Square Park
Washington Square N.
Greenwich Village
Online: washingtonsquareparkconservancy.org

photo: NYC Parks

Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla in Central Park

For one afternoon, the Harlem Meer will be transformed into a magical light show. Pick a pumpkin, craft your own jack-o-lantern, then set it afloat with hundreds of others for a beautiful sight. Children will also enjoy more themed crafts and spooky stories.

Wed., Oct. 30
4-7 p.m.
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
Inside Central Park at 110th St. btwn Fifth and Lenox Ave.
Online: centralparknyc.org

Children's Halloween Parade at Washington Square Park

The main Halloween Parade might not be too kid-friendly, but this children's version is perfect for little ones who want to show off their costumes. Following the parade, kids can trick or treat, play games, or go on rides.

Thurs., Oct. 31
3-6 p.m.
The arch at Washington Square Park
Washington Square N.
Greenwich Village
Online: nyu.edu

—Yuliya Geikhman

 

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