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Six Kid-Friendly Halloween Celebrations

Home > New York > Family | Outdoor | Free | Fun for Children | Fun Things To Do | Museums | Day Trips
by Cristina Dimen (subscribe)
Cristina crafts pieces on travel, parenting and lifestyle. Connect with her at or and @CristinaDimen on Twitter. WN mentor link:
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The cool, crisp autumn air slowly enfolds New York City, bringing the promise of fun-filled festivities, including that all-time favorite—Halloween.

Young trick-or-treaters have lots of fun games awaiting them

Soon, masked super heroes, cats or bunnies will traverse city streets. Why not bring your little princess, pirate or witch to these kid-friendly venues for a frightfully great time.

Many possibilities

The Haunted Pumpkin Garden at the New York Botanical Garden

Forego driving, and hop on a Metro North train from Grand Central and enjoy a 20-minute ride to the New York Botanical Garden. Head to the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, home to the Haunted Pumpkin Garden from October 1 to 30, 2011.

Fall brings a canopy of reds and oranges

Approximately 500 sculpted pumpkins shaped like spiders and scarecrows complement the seasonal blossoms, firs and crimson red foliage in the New York Botanical Garden. Have the kids participate in the parades held at 2 p.m. on weekdays and at 2 and 4 p.m. on weekends. Tickets are $20; members and children under 2 years old are free.

Ripley's Boo-lieve It or Not! Slumber Fest

For a special sleepover party at the crossroads of the world, families can head to 234 West 42nd Street in Times Square for some ghoulish fun at Ripley's Boo-lieve It or Not! Slumber Fest, on October 28 and 29. Pick a colorful feather boa to go with your child's sparkly gown, and get creative with their costumes as there will be a contest for the best dressed little wizard, fashion diva or goblin. Attendees will score a souvenir T-shirt and lots of sweet treats. Order your tickets online and save 20% off the $32.61 charge for adults, and $24.99 for kids ages 4 to 12 years.

Accessories to complement a fashion diva's costume

Madison Square Park Kids Fest Fall 2011

Your young trick-or-treater is in for a ton of fun at the Madison Square Park Kids Fest Fall 2011 on October 15, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Head to Madison Square Park on Madison Avenue and 23rd Street. Dance to the live music, create some crafts, play some games and enjoy the snacks. Then watch their faces glow with excitement as they explore the patch, in search of that special pumpkin they can take home as a souvenir. The free public event is perfect for children from ages 0 to 12 years.

Pick a pumpkin for your stoop

Halloween Robotics Party at RoboFun Studio

On Sunday, October 30, 2011 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., your kids have the opportunity to create a ghoulish-themed robotics project, and take part in a Halloween scavenger hunt at RoboFun Studio at 255 West 71st Street. Should they get hungry from all their activities, it's okay—slices of pizza at the party should do the trick.Tickets are $75 for kids ages 6 to 10 years.

Ghouls, skeletons and jack-o-lanterns abound

Boo at the Zoo 2011 at the Bronx Zoo

Throughout every weekend in October, each purchase of a regular-priced adult general admission ticket enables one costume-clad child under 12 years free entry into the Bronx Zoo, for Boo at the Zoo 2011. Let your youngster lead the way out of the hay mazes, and enjoy the magic shows, hayrides and costume parade together. Don't forget to look for designated areas where gummy worms, chocolates and candy corn are aplenty.

Spinning a web of creepy crawly fun

16th Annual Halloween Celebration at AMNH

Make your way to Central Park West at 79th Street for an unforgettable Halloween Celebration at the American Museum of Natural History. On October 31, 2011 from 4 to 7 p.m., carve pumpkins with your child, and pose with the Cat in the Hat and Peter Rabbit. Best of all, walk from one treat station to another as you pass through halls where the T. rex, wooly mammoths and reptiles stand. Kids will come away with an array of goodies.

Bounty of sweets

Tickets are $10, or $9 for members. If you don't want to interrupt the evening's fun by leaving the museum in search of grub for your young ones, perhaps the $19 Special Monster Meal Package, which includes admission, is the way to go. Dinosaur-shaped nuggets or burgers with a side of fries and a soda will keep the little ones re-fueled to keep exploring and collecting treats.

Regardless of which venue you choose to celebrate Halloween, remind the kids to say the magic words—trick or treat. Then, get ready to haul home the day's loot, which may include a pumpkin, little knick knacks and, of course, a mother lode of yummy sweets.

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Why? Enjoy some good old spooky fun with the kids
When: October 1 to 31, 2011
Where: Various locations
Cost: Varies (some free), depending on venue
Sounds like lots of fun. Sometimes it makes me wish that we celebrated halloween properly in Australia. Last time I was in the US was when I was 7, and I was a little bit obsessed with scary things at the time, I think it was August or September when we were there, so the shops were full of Halloween goodies. It was so much fun.

People over here either celebrate a little bit, or are so any halloween. Apparently it is terrible to celebrate something that originated somewhere else even if it is lots of fun. Not every thing has to be a money making scam. :)

These sound like great fun! I think one of my favourite halloween activities is one you can do at home. When you get the kids to sit in a circle with their eyes closed, while you tell some sort of scary story, at the same time passing around things like spaghetti, and peeled grapes, saying they are eyeballs and hair etc. Lots of fun! :)
By Natasha Stewart - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 5th of October @ 11:33 am
Thanks, Natasha. I appreciate the insight on how Australians may or may not celebrate Halloween. It's always refreshing to learn how holidays and events are celebrated in other countries. Great to know.

Thanks for your idea. You're absolutely right. Sometimes the best things are the ones shared with the family, right in the comforts of home. I'm going to try it out this year, and will include some gummy worms and thin licorice strings (for spidey legs) in the mix. My kids love both candy types. : )
By Cristina Dimen - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 5th of October @ 02:32 pm
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