Category: Holidays

Halloween in NYC the Third: Less Horrifying Happenings

Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla, p/c

Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla, p/c:

I’ve gone Halloween-crazy on this here blog! Check out the first and second installments of my Halloween in NYC series.

Halloween is obviously a holiday that a lot of people associate with ghouls, goblins, and things that go bump in the night. But not everyone really likes to celebrate by being terrified on the reg (I don’t agree with you but I will defend to the death your right to feel this way). The good news is that there are plenty of NYC activities that are less intense but still…

David Caruso puts on shades

…plenty spirited.

CSI Skyline Yeahhhh

  • The Village Halloween Parade: Talking about Halloween in NYC and not mentioning the parade is pretty much tantamount to heresy or treason or something else appropriately hyperbolic. Everyone should experience this at least once in their lives, if only for the fact that we as a people need to see more choreographed dances to Thriller. Caveat spectator: the parade gets cuckoo-bananas crowded, so get there plenty early and I dunno, do, like, a root chakra grounding meditation to make sure you can handle all the craziness.

  • Grim Reaper on Halloween in NYC, p/c

    Grim Reaper on Halloween in NYC, p/c JonneyETV

  • People watching around the Village: If you’re not feeling the parade but you still want to participate in some festivities, you can honestly just walk around Greenwich Village for a few hours. Revelers are coming to or going from the parade, or looking for bars where they can celebrate, so this is a great way to people watch and enjoy things on your own terms. In my experience, everyone goes all out and is really excited to show off their costumes, and it makes for a really fun, communal atmosphere.

  • Watch the November 1 walk of shame: This one is slightly evil, but I can’t resist. If you’re not too partied out yourself, think about hopping on the subway and seeing if you can spot folks still in costume making their way home after an eventful night.

  • Pumpkin Flotilla in Central Park: Moving on to more family-friendly things!! This one sounds way too adorable: carve a pumpkin and bring it to the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center on October 25, then set that gourd off for a twilight sail on the Harlem Meer.

  • New York Botanical Garden’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden: This one is pretty much marketed for kids, but if you’re a freewheelin’ grownup who just digs looking at some pumpkins, I say check it out. They’ve got some of the most talented master carvers around pitching in, including Ray Villafane, the “Picasso of Pumpkin Carving.” This runs every day from now through Halloween.

  • Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo: Ok, this is how much of a devoted journalist I am for you guys: I actually called the zoo to confirm this was happening because the info wasn’t on their site as I wrote this. And Boo at the Zoo is really not to be missed! If you’ve ever wanted to see big cats playing with pumpkins or elephants smashing gourds, this is an achievable goal! Kids are encouraged to dress up and there’s also a not-too-scary haunted house. This kicks off the first weekend in October and runs every weekend throughout the month.

  • Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, p/c

    Wayne and Garth at the dog parade, I die. P/c Lauren Spinelli

  • Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade: Eee, this just sounds so cute I can’t stand it. Head to the dog run at Tompkins Square at noon on October 24th, and get ready for more adorableness than you can shake a fetching stick at. For a taste of what to expect, you can see photos from last year, but seriously, if you have to wonder about whether or not a dog parade is a good use of your time, you should probably reconsider your life choices.

  • As of now, this is probably all the Halloween coverage I’ll do, but if there are any cities y’all want me to cover, my arms are pretty flexible. As in, twist them. This is the best holiday ever, after all, and what better way to bid adieu to FOMO than by planning a rockin’ All Hallows’ Eve?


It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Spooky Halloween Activities in NYC

I’m originally from the Northeast, and since moving to the South I start longing for my temperate home state right around mid-August, without fail. It just doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get up there this fall — truly the most wonderful time of the year — and that’s a tough thing to deal with. So today we’re going to say so long to some of my own personal FOMO and chat about Halloween in New York City!

I lived in New York City for quite a few years and can almost unequivocally say that no place does Halloween better. Sure, sure, I may be biased, and to be fair, no, I have not been to Salem since middle school, but New York just does the (BESTBESTBEST) holiday right. So let’s kibbitz about all the bone-chilling things that are available for you to do!

Starting with…ghost tours! Ghost tours, ghost tours, ghost tours. I’m a history nerd who loves thrills and chills, so forgive me for straight up GEEKING OUT about this:

  • Merchant’s House: The Merchant’s House is supposedly the most haunted house in NYC, so they really get into the Halloween…spirit (muhahahaha). During Halloween they decorate to look like a 19th century home during a mourning period: black crepe everywhere, memento mori accessories, the whole deal. They also host candlelight ghost tours, lecture series, readings, and live music. Here’s the full October calendar of events for you to peruse.

  • Robert Gonyo as Professor Mortimer

    Robert Gonyo as Professor Mortimer

  • Haunted Manhattan Tours: My super-talented friend Robby, otherwise known as Professor Mortimer, hosts a tour of Greenwich Village that is not to be missed. His good friend Frankie the Bartender also hosts an East Village tour where you can hear about ghosties as you have a pint.

  • Green-Wood Cemetery tours: There’s nothing like a trek through a historic cemetery to get you in the Halloween mood. Green-Wood hosts a few tours that are just the ticket: a moonlight walking tour (accompanied by live accordion music?!?), Into The Veil: An After-Dark Exploration, and a Spirited Stroll that’s held during the day (and also lets you go into the catacombs, ooh!).

  • The Halloween Extravaganza at Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine: Missing the Halloween events at St. John’s is one of my major regrets. Not only do they host crypt crawls where you can hear stories of those entombed at the cathedral, they also show silent movies, accompanied by with the organ. This year they’re showing F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, über-creepy and absolutely perfect. Need another reason? Check out this amazing video of 2009’s Procession of the Ghouls!

  • Make your own tour! Time Out has a spooktacular list of the top ten most haunted spots in the City. Explore on your own and find out what sort of things go bump in the night.

Well kids, I still have A LOT to say on this topic, but I’ll end here and continue another day. Until then, stay spoooooooky! (And for those who are more faint of heart, I promise I’ll deliver something for y’all, too.)