Trick or Treating New York City Style
October 23, 2013

As parents of Riley, age 10, and Halina, age 7, we grew up in the suburbs where Halloween meant throwing together a costume, meeting up with your friends, and then going around the neighborhood to knock on doors and chant “Trick or Treat!” Now that we are raising our kids in New York City, and a predictable feature of our Halloween routine is friends or family members who live in the suburbs lamenting that it’s “too bad” that our kids can’t trick or treat.

When they were both younger we took them to the American Museum of Natural History, which has a wonderful Halloween event for kids. The museum’s halls are open for trick or treating, and there is also live music, costumed characters, and even a magic show. This was great when we were still pushing strollers and monitoring toddlers, but now that Halina and Riley are a bit older they are eager for wider ranging adventures. 

This brings us back to how our kids’ Halloween is similar, yet so different, than their counterparts’ in the suburbs: We take our costumed children down Broadway where numerous shops and restaurants have jars of candy waiting for eager trick or treaters.

It’s become quite a tradition—and a funky one at that. There’s something about walking into a hair salon or a hardware store and doing something that transcends getting your hair done or buying towel rack. We have also noticed more and more kids out on the street each year. Over the four years that we’ve done this, we have also noticed that—for better or for worse—our kids come back with plastic pumpkins overloaded with far more treats than we ever got in the suburbs.

Heading into Halloween

For more structured Halloween festivities, there are numerous events in parks throughout the five boroughs, just to name a few:

• Bronx: Join a guided candlelit walk through Pell Cemetery on the Cemetery Walk and Victorian Ghost Stories told by the City Island Theatre Troop. 

• Brooklyn: Also on Saturday, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden will host its annual Ghouls and Gourds Halloween parade

• Manhattan: Riverbank State Park is holding its annual Halloween party on Saturday, October 26.  Kids can come in costume, play games, and get treats.

• Queens:  The Socrates Sculpture Park features its annual Halloween Harvest Festival with costume making, face painting and an apple pie bake off.

• Staten Island: On Halloween proper, enjoy crafts, haunted events, and games during the A Haunting We Will Go event. 

If you are folding a foliage trip into your Halloween festivities, Sunken Meadows State Park is hosting the Halloween Myth Busters event where kids go on a scavenger hunt and learn about Halloween myths like “vampire bats” and that black cats are bad luck. Jones Beach also has a great event on Tuesday, October 29, where kids go on nature walks and learn about the natural world along the sea.

As for an event that, while not necessarily Halloween related, does speak to the spirit of fall, the New York Restoration Project, in partnership with MillionTreesNYC, will be giving away 200 free trees in Manhattan. As the leaves turn gold and brown it is important to remember why we love them so much.

Happy Halloween!

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