Halloween events are becoming more of a big deal in the UK, but compared to our friends’ across the pond in New York City? Let’s just say ours look positively sedate in comparison. Kicking things off with the almighty Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, here’s a quick run down of five of NYC’s haunted happenings for Halloween 2018…
Village Halloween Parade
The Village Halloween Parade is the biggest in the world. This is the event you won’t want to miss (or be able to avoid) if you’re in Lower Manhattan on October 31st. The brilliantly bizarre parade of aliens, witches, monsters, circus performers, dancers, puppeteers, pirates, skeletons and ghosts runs along Sixth Avenue from Canal Street to 16th Street. It attracts around two million spectators, but you don’t just have to watch – you can join in.
This years’ theme is I AM a Robot inspired by the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. If you want to take part in this quintessential New York experience, all you have to do is show up in costume at the lineup area at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street anytime between 6.30 p.m and 9 p.m. The biggest crowds congregate between 14th and Bleecker streets – so arrive early for the best views.
Parade starts at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street, New York
Central Park Parade and Pumpkin Sail
On Sunday October 28, head up to the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center alongside Harlem Meer at the northern end of Central Park for the annual family-favourite Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla. Wear your scariest outfits and bring a not-too-large carved pumpkin (about the size of a football or smaller) between 4 p.m and 5.45 p.m, and get ready for some spooky music, live entertainment, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, a haunted costume parade and New York City’s largest twinkling pumpkin flotilla at twilight.
Harlem Meer, Central Park, East Side between 106th to 110th streets.
Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo
Running every weekend throughout October (as well as Colombus Day on Monday 8 October), the annual Boo at the Zoo festival lays on a host of activities for Halloween-hungry kids, including pumpkin carving, costume parades, magic shows, candy trails and tours of extinct animal graveyards. Special events include Spooktacular Night Walks, to see what goes down among the creepy crawlies once the zoo gates are closed for the night, including dedicated walks for the over 21s complete with appetizers, wine and beer.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, off Fifth Avenue between W 50th and W 49th streets.
NYC Botanical Garden’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden
For a respite from the city in an altogether different environment, head north to the Bronx where the New York Botanical Garden has turned the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden into a special Spooky Pumpkin Garden from now until Wednesday 31 October.
This years event presents a cornucopia of sinister scarecrows, shocking snakes and scary spiders to strike mild fear into the hearts of your little ones, and the kids will also get to hang out in a bat-filled Victorian playhouse and help put on a horror-tastic puppet show at the Pumpkin Puppet Theatre.
2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York. Check here for directions.
Definitely not one for the kids, Blood Manor is a walk-through haunted house horror experience, billing itself as New York City’s premier haunted attraction. Truly terrifying, it uses state-of-the-art animatronics, cutting edge props and professional actors to bring your nightmares to life, as you make your way through various chambers with creepy names like Maggot Invasion, Hannibal’s Hell and the Killer Clown Room. The experience lasts around 25 minutes, during which you’ll be led through 5,000 square feet of themed rooms, corridors and a dark maze of passageways designed to maximise your deepest fears.
163 Varick Street, New York, every day until 31 October 2018 (plus student nights on 2 and 3 November).
Virgin Atlantic operates daily flights to New York from London Heathrow and Manchester.