Here’s what you need to know about Halloween in New York City this year

Photo via Getty Images

By Grace Benninghoff

Halloween in New York City

It’s been a tough year for kids (okay, for everyone) with everything from sports to summer vacations canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Halloween is coming up and we are desperate for some normalcy and celebration. While it might not look exactly like Halloween’s past, it’s still possible to have a fun and safe Halloween this year, here’s what you need to know to make Halloween great this year.

What Officials Have to Say

Before we get to the fun part about what we can do this year to celebrate Halloween, let’s get on the same page about what won’t fly for Halloween 2020. The CDC says that traditional trick-or-treating, large costume parties, crowded hay rides and haunted houses are not advised. These activities are all classified as high-risk activities by the CDC.

However, Governor Cuomo said he will not ban trick-or-treating this year, so it is technically allowed. Also, Mayor de Blasio issued some guidelines for trick-or-treating this year, explaining that all children should still be wearing masks that cover their nose and mouth. He also advises that candy should be left in bowls outside stoops instead of placing treats directly into buckets or bags.

How to Make Halloween 2020 Fun

While big costume parties and Halloween parades may be canceled, there are still plenty of fun ways to celebrate this season. Here are some safe ways to make Halloween 2020 unforgettable:

Socially-Distanced Trick-or-Treating

While going door to door to get candy from neighbors may not be in the cards this year, you and your family can put together Halloween goody bags and leave them on the porch, or somewhere else where friends and neighbors can grab them from a safe distance. Chat with neighbors and see if other families want to do the same, so your kiddos can pick up goody bags too!

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze

This fun Halloween activity opened its doors on September 18th and will stay open until mid-November. Set against the backdrop of Van Cortlandt manor, this event features more than seven thousand hand-carved, glowing jack-o-lanterns. It’s a great chance for you and your family to get outside and bask in some magical Halloween fun. The event will have strict social distancing guidelines and advanced reservations are required.

Pumpkin Patches

This is one Halloween activity that doesn’t have to look different this year! Lots of fresh air, acres of space to run around, and pumpkins galore. Pumpkin patches are COVID-safe and are a great traditional Halloween activity that we can enjoy this year. There are tons of pumpkin patches around and near the city where you and your family can enjoy some fresh air and open space.

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels


Pumpkin Carving Parties 

Invite some neighbors to meet up in a local park to carve jack-o-lanterns. Play some seasonal music, bring the kids, and carve pumpkins just like every other Halloween, but this time outside and six feet apart!


Spend an afternoon as a family making crafts, hanging lights and fake cobwebs, maybe even bake a seasonal treat to enjoy while decorating. This will be a fun way to get in the spirit of Halloween as a family, from the comfort of your home! You can even finish off the evening with a spooky film.

Photo by Artie Siegel from Pexels


Host a Virtual Costume Party

This is a great way to give kids a chance to show off their costumes if they are not going trick-or-treating this year. Invite friends and relatives near and far to a virtual costume party. You can all connect via Zoom and compare costumes. It’s a great chance to connect with family who live out of state too!

Halloween at the Garden

Halloween is on a Saturday this year, and celebrating at the Queens Botanical Gardens is the best way to take advantage of a Halloween that falls on a weekend! The event provides a chance for kids to show off their costumes, walk the trick-or-treat trail, and enjoy outdoor performances. The Botanical Gardens are taking plenty of precautions to make sure the event is COVID-safe. Everything will be outdoors, surfaces will be disinfected, and masks and social-distancing are required.

Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo is back and they have tons of family-friendly experiences to get in the Halloween spirit. Make sure to participate in classic events like watching expert artists carve exceptional pumpkins, search for your favorite “masked” and “costumed” animals in a scavenger hunt, and more! Thursdays – Sundays, October 1- November 1 (including October 12). Make sure to grab your tickets online!

Museum of Ice Cream

Celebrate Halloween from October 29-31 at the Museum of Ice Cream! Come in costume and enjoy tons of Halloween delights such as candies, prizes, and special MOIC merchandise. Make sure to purchase the “Trick or Sweet” add on when checking out.

CAMP’s Halloween Mystery Adventure at Hudson Yards

Head to Hudson Yards for a trick-or-treating mystery adventure. You’ll be given a map to follow where you’ll discover 17 mystery doors. This a touchless event with doors that open automatically, candy dispensers, and sanitation stations at each door. Buy your tickets here and pick them up at the CAMP store on level two. Tickets are $30 for trick-or-treaters (includes a map, candy bag, and mystery code). October 25 – November 1, from 12 pm – 7 pm.

Photo courtesy of Time Out

Time Out Market New York

Bring the family to Time Out Market where you can show off your costume. Upon arrival, guests will receive a safely wrapped bag of candy and can take a photo by their Halloween-themed photo installation. Tables can be reserved for 90 mins at the Riverside Dining Room at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm (with a max of four people). Tickets will include a $5 credit to us at eight different vendors. Reserve your ticket here!

3rd Annual Cobble Hill Window Painting Day

Register to create a Halloween-themed painting in a retail window space on October 31st. This event is for kids ages 6-12 living in neighborhoods between and including Atlantic Avenue to Union Street, Smith Street to Columbia Street.

Beat the Bomb Halloween-Themed

From October 25-Nov 1st, Beat the Bomb is offering a special Halloween experience. This immersive event will allow players to engage in Halloween-themed games, free candy and more! Groups of 2-6 players can choose from five different games with 60 mins for each game. Players must work together to gain time on the bomb in order to disarm it before it blasts with tons of paint.

BAMboo Annual Halloween Block Party

Join BAM for their first-ever virtual annual block party. You can expect there to be a live Monster Mash dance party, a live musician and storyteller, professional pumpkin carvings, and make-up artists showing incredible transformations. Best of all, there will be a Halloween costume contest where you can win prizes. This event is happening over Zoom and Vimeo on October 31 at 2 pm and is free of charge.

Halloween Happenings at Goosefeather

On October 31st, get in the Halloween spirit with costume contests, candy hunts, lawn games and more! There will be two time slots to enjoy the fun: 11 am-1:30 pm with a Costume Parade and Contest at 12:30 pm, and 1:30 pm-4 pm with a Costume Parade and Contest at 3 pm. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for kids. Make sure to email events@goosefeatherny.com to book your time slot.

Virtual Trick-or-Treating Hosted by Flowcode

Stop by one of the Craft Studio’s two locations in Tribeca and the Upper East Side for a socially distanced fun time. There will be free family photos for guests that dress up, free cookies printed with Flowcode’s Trick-or-Treat QR, and craft kits for purchase. Upon arrival, guests can scan Flowcodes Trick-or-Treat QR where they will be able to immersive themselves in a Halloween-themed augmented reality. October 29, 2020, from 9 am – 5 pm. The Craft Studio – Upper East Side, 1657 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10128 and The Craft Studio – Tribeca, 174 Duane St., New York, NY 10013

This story first appeared on our sister publication newyorkfamily.com.