While 2020 has been scary enough, the spookiest time of year is yet to come. Halloween is right around the corner and is a favorite holiday for most – especially in New York City. As we all know, New Yorkers live life to the fullest, whether it be rooting for our favorite sports teams (no matter how bad their records might be – Rangers, I’m looking at you), shopping till we literally drop or celebrating every holiday, no matter how small.
However, with COVID-19 plaguing what was supposed to be a cheery entrance into a new decade, holidays will be looking a bit different this year. Large family gatherings and parades throughout the city won’t be able to happen as usual due to health and safety guidelines.
That being said, we’re New Yorkers, which means this is the perfect time to get creative and find the best ways to maximize the holiday season, and maybe even save 2020. We’ve curated a list of the best activities, events and ideas to celebrate Halloween in the city, whether in your home, or safely outdoors. No, you won’t be able to attend the annual Halloween Parade this year, but we guarantee you’ll still have a great time nonetheless.
Through Dec. 1, New Yorkers can take nightly tours to see the Village’s most infamous ghosts. On a short, hour-long tour beginning at 8pm, you may experience possible sightings of the ghosts of Aaron Burr, Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain at the House of Death, among others. Be sure to reserve your tickets ahead of time here, meet under the Washington Square Park arch right at 8pm and prepare yourself for a spooky evening.
El Día de Los Muertos, also known as The Day of the Dead, is a three-day holiday honoring those who have passed. From now through Nov. 1, visitors can celebrate at Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel, where local artist Scherezade García created a large community altar for viewing. Bring family, friends and any personal offerings like photographs and flowers to visit the altar and honor loved ones at this special free event happening daily from 10am – 4pm.
Looking for a fun way to spend Halloweekend outside of your home but still catch the classic holiday films? Check out the Queens Drive-In movie theater now through Sunday Nov. 1 for a series of double-feature Halloween movies, from Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Friday, Oct. 30, then Little Shop of Horrors and Beetlejuice on Saturday, Oct. 31.
On Friday, Oct. 30, local businesses of lower Manhattan are participating in a SoHo Trick-or-Treat Takeover. From 11am to 6pm, New Yorkers can stop by their booths to take candy and buy raffle tickets to win possible prizes from Sephora, NOMO SoHo, Maman, Levi’s, Housing Works, and more. A $500 shopping spree at Hugo Boss? Yes, please. Register early here for free and check out the takeover on Friday!
A fan favorite for New Yorkers with kids, explore the Bronx Zoo this weekend to get your animal fix. With all sorts of spooky exhibits from the Extinct Animal Graveyard, to Magic & Mind Reading, to a Scavenger Hunt of “costumed” animals, the zoo is keeping their annual Halloween tradition alive and open Thursday – Sunday all day. Ticket reservations can be made online.
The sports and fitness nonprofit will be hosting a COVID-friendly trick-or-treating event on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 3pm – 5pm for the first 500 families that arrive (but you can also RSVP here). First come, first serve, this event is perfect for those who want to take their children trick-or-treating outdoors and be home before sundown. Think this event couldn’t get any better? Well, it’s free – just wear your costume and mask!
Chelsea Market Pumpkin Carving & Trick-or-Treating
Chelsea Market is hosting several fabulous events for all kinds of New Yorkers this week. On Thursday, Oct. 29, watch the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers carve pumpkins live from 10am – 4pm, and make sure to stay for their 600-pound pumpkin! Then on Saturday Oct. 31, bring your heavy-duty tote bag for trick-or-treating from 12pm – 10pm. The restaurant vendors will be handing out all types of sweets, so make sure to visit the stilt walkers around the market for other goodies as well.
Decker Farm Pumpkin Picking
435 Richmond Hill Rd, Staten Island, NY 10314 / Website
Lastly, for our Staten Island friends, we suggest checking out Decker Farm in Richmond Town for pumpkin picking and hayrides. Open Saturdays and Sundays since the beginning of October, you’re able to visit the patch, learn about 19th century farm life and taste delectable fall food at the oldest continuously operating small farm in NYC. Hours are from 11am – 4pm, so don’t forget to reserve your ticket ahead of time!