New York is by far THE place to be to celebrate Halloween! Particularly for us Aussies who didn’t really grow up celebrating this holiday, it is the perfect place to enjoy all the freaky and creepy shenanigans Halloween is known for.
We could spend days going through all the city has on offer throughout the month of October, so here at AWNY, we have pulled together some of our favorite events and bars to celebrate this ghoulish month!
Don’t Miss The Village Halloween Parade
Of all the New York parades, this is definitely the most fun (and yes, I am including the Thanksgiving day parade!) It is held on October 31st, roughly from 7–9 PM, and runs along 6th Ave from Canal Street up to 15th Street.
You can view the parade from both sides of 6th Ave, but it does get busy (particularly in the West Village) so if you want a prime spot, make sure to get there early. Or better yet, why not don your very own costume and join in! Anyone can walk the parade—you just need to show up at the starting point on Canal St in costume. And we think the parade could definitely benefit from a little Aussie flair!
Say WOOF at Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival
You only have to spend a few days in New York to figure out that New Yorkers love their dogs and they love to show off their furry friends. During this annual festival, they dress up their pups (and themselves!) and compete for a bunch of different awards, including best celebrity costume, best NY-themed costume, and best group costume. It is by far the cutest Halloween event in the city, and all we can say is—if you thought New Yorkers went all out on their Halloween costumes, just wait until you see what they do for the dogs! The festival is free for all and was held at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village on Saturday, 22nd October. It’s definitely something to pop into your calendar for next season!
Make Your Way to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
We have to say, this is one of the most impressive Halloween-themed events in New York. Every year, hundreds of pumpkins are carved and turned into giant displays, including dragons, elephants, and even the Brooklyn Bridge (or as they like to call it, The Pumpkin Bridge).
The Blaze will be held at two locations this year Hudson Valley (September 16th to November 20th) and Old Bethpage Village on Long Island (September 30th to November 6th). Tickets are $48 for adults and $40 for kids and must be purchased online in advance.
Quick tip from our AWNY ladies who have visited the Blaze in years past—though the website says it goes ahead rain or shine, they have in prior years been very quick to cancel when there is even the threat of bad weather, so make sure to check the forecast and the Blaze website before making your way there.
Take a Spooky Tour of Green-Wood Cemetery
This cemetery in the middle of Brooklyn actually attracts a high number of visitors year-round, but it really ups its game for Halloween. Several events and tours are set up to recount the murders, mysteries, and mayhem that surround some of the cemetery’s permanent residents. Here are some of our favorite events we definitely plan to catch!
The Crime and Catastrophe trolley tour on Saturday, October 29th, and the Spirited Stroll, a ghoulish walking tour taking place on Saturday and Sunday, 29th and 30th of October. There are also Moonlight tours held most nights during October and will give you a tour of the cemetery at night (if you dare!)
Most of these events do require advance ticket purchases (roughly around $30 per event), and you can find all the details and purchase tickets on the Green-Wood cemetery website.
Plan a Visit to Blood Manor if You Dare!
Every year, this haunted house opens to frighten and horrify all those who are brave enough to pass through its doors. It will be open from September 30th to November 5th and will host several themed events, including Lights Out in early November. The manor is plunged into complete darkness, and you only have a glowstick to guide you through. Warning!!! This is for truly brave souls only (aka not us!)
Get Tix to See Beetlejuice on Broadway
This year, even Broadway is getting into the Halloween action with Beetlejuice (which re-opened after closing before the pandemic). The show is based on Tim Burton’s famous movie and in our opinion, is a must-see before it closes on January 8th. On select nights during October, they will have special Halloween-themed events and giveaways.
Say Cheers at Some of the Best Halloween-Themed Bars
A slew of bars across the city will transform themselves into Halloween-inspired wonderlands this season. They really go all out, from themed cocktails to live performers! Some of our not to be missed include:
- Lillie’s Victorian Establishment has two spots in the city located in Union and Times Square. They love to decorate for any occasion, but their Halloween efforts are phenomenal and truly creepy! Even from the outside, the bars are immediately noticeable as you will see skeletons climbing up the windows!
- Beetle House is an East Village cocktail bar (and year-round Halloween haunt) with everything from themed cocktails to a real-life Beetlejuice impersonator! This Halloween, we recommend combining Beetlejuice on Broadway with a trip to this bar after the show!
- Café de L’Enfer is one of the East Village’s post-pandemic bars that opened in late 2021. It is a throwback to the famous Parisian cabaret, Café de L’Enfer, from the late 19th century, which really launched the concept of the themed restaurant. As you can likely tell just from its name (l’enfer is french for hell), it will not disappoint at this time of year!
- Jekyll and Hyde Club is a kitschy West Village institution and a local favorite for Halloween that’s definitely worth a stop in. Given its location so close to the Village Parade, it generally becomes one of the unofficial parade after-party bars.
- The Cauldron‘s immersive cocktail class allows people to channel their inner Harry Potter by using their own wand to conjure up magical cocktails. During the month of October, it will also be offering pumpkin carving or Halloween-themed cocktail experiences.
Not to be forgotten is Dia de Los Muertos!
Aussies new to the US may only know this Holiday from the opening scene of Spectre (no shame!), but it originated in Mexico and Central America, whereby the living create ofrendas (offerings) to remember and honor those who have passed. It’s traditionally more of a somber holiday, but it has taken on a more festive element in recent years. (Fun fact: Mexico City only started hosting the Dia de Los Muertos parade the year after Spectre came out due to the popularity of that scene).
Here are a couple of places where you can celebrate:
- Dia de Los Muertos at the Time Out Market will be a full week of festivities starting on Friday, October 28th. Activities include a costume party at the rooftop bar, Halloween pizza-making class, pumpkin painting, and a costume yoga class!
- Cocteleria de Los Muertos: is the Garret Cocteleria downtown’s seasonal pop-up to honor icons of days passed. The bar and menu receive a full-themed makeover which will run from September 21st to November 19th (when it will transform into a full Christmas-themed pop-up).
- Día De Muertos at Rockefeller Center will be a week-long celebration in the heart of the city from October 27th to November 2nd, including an exhibit, food, and music in honor of the holiday.
And Finally…Get Your Glam on for All the Parties!
New York is also the home of some mega parties over the Halloween weekend
- Nightmare on 48th Street: Their Monsters Ball party will be held on Friday 28th, Saturday 29th, and Monday 31st of October. Tickets start at $25.
- House of Horror Halloween Party on Saturday, October 28th Tickets start at $20.
Now, all that’s left is to decide what costume to wear, go out and enjoy the fun!