BY KAITLYN MEADE | New York City is a great place for Halloween’s ghosts, princesses and pirates — you just have to know where to go! Whether you are a family with toddling pumpkins in search of treats or a more mature audience (in age at least) looking for a frightfully fun time, Downtown has some fantastic free events to celebrate the end of October.
Village Halloween Parade
It looks like the New York City’s biggest Halloween event, the Village Halloween Parade, will be making its merry way down Sixth Ave. on Oct. 31 once again.
It’s the 40-year anniversary of this New York City spooky extravaganza, so be prepared for an extra helping of tricks and treats. The theme this year, and rightly so, is Hallelujah Halloween Revival! After Sandy rained (and more) on the parade last year, causing its cancellation, the event was in major trouble. It launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise $50,000 by Oct. 24. As of press time, it was almost there and all indications are the parade will happen as planned.
It will honor the superheroes of the year, including Occupy Sandy, the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center Transplant Team and Jeff Bratcher a parade volunteer who donated a kidney to the parade director’s son, and the parade’s past organizers and artists.
The celebration would not be complete without the traditional procession of macabre puppets from well-known studios like Superior Concept Monsters, the Madagascar Institute, the Puppeteers’ Cooperative and Basil Twist. This year, 53 bands will also be bashing out the Monster Mash and other Halloween medleys, accompanied by tens of thousands of marchers and performers.
To take part, come in costume, and come early. People begin to line the streets well in advance of the official 6:30 line-up time. The parade line-up stretches from Canal St. to Spring St.
At 7 p.m., the parade begins to begins to wind its way from Spring St. up to 16th.. As it it most crowded between Bleecker and 14th St., parade organizers recommend coming further Downtown to get a good glimpse of the crazy costumes in display. See www.halloween-nyc.com for details.
Jefferson Market Harvest Fest
Also in Greenwich Village, the Jefferson Market Garden will be hosting a free fall festival for families on Sat., Oct. 19.
Kids will be able to decorate mini pumpkins, make fall-themed crafts and play among the hay bales and leaf piles. Jefferson Market Library next door has a lovely children’s reading room, stained glass windows and gorgeous Victorian Gothic architecture. Drop by the gate on Greenwich and West 10th St. between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Oct. 19. Rain date is Oct. 20. Visit NYPL.org for more info.
East Village Costume Swap
Haven’t gotten a costume yet? Be well-dressed and conscientious by recycling your child’s old costume or picking up one from a previous year. A costume swap will take place at the Ottendorfer Library on Fri., Oct. 18 from 1- 4 p.m.
The costumes should be for kids from infants to 12 years old. It’s free for everyone, and participants are welcome to bring or take away as much as they like. The Ottendorfer Library is located at 135 2nd Ave. Call 212-674-0947 or visit NYPL.org for more information.
Scholastic Store – Soho
Soho’s Scholastic Store is filling out its free events this month with a generous helping of Halloween spirit. There are events for all ages from infants to teens, but a few of them look especially spooky or sweet.
On Sat., Oct. 19, legendary children’s author R.L. Stine will be at the store at 3 p.m. to talk about his best-selling “Goosebumps” series. Stine will be reading some of his chilling children’s tales and signing copies of the books. Afterward, a workshop will invite young mad scientists to brew up their own vials of monster blood. Beware, this event is recommended for ages 6 and up, especially fans of the series.
The following weekend, the Scholastic Store will be hosting a Soho costume parade Oct. 26 at 3 p.m., which will circle around back to the store where kids can meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, make treat bags and show off in the costume contest. The event’s Facebook page assures parents that it is suitable for younger ages and is sure to “delight (not fright) young kids.”
Both events are free and take place at 557 Broadway, between Prince and Spring Sts. See scholastic.com/sohostore for more info.
Washington Market Park Halloween Parade and Party
The popular Tribeca Halloween party will be taking place again this year on Sunday, Oct. 27. It starts with a family-friendly costume parade from CitiGroup Plaza to the park. Once there, kids can play traditional Halloween games, do arts and crafts run by the Church Street School of Music and Art, participate in the sandbox Bone Dig and navigate a hay-bale maze.
Music will be provided in the gazebo by Princess Katie & Racer Steve, an adorable duo and wacky backup who play fun, kid-friendly rock with bits of just about everything else — from reggae to swing music — thrown in.
The parade line-up will start at 12:45 p.m. at the Citigroup Plaza at Greenwich and N. Moore Sts. Families will traipse down Greenwich St., ending at Duane St. and the park. The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band will be in the lead.
The event will end at 3 p.m. To find out more, visit washingtonmarketpark.org.
Trinity Wall Street
The Financial District’s Trinity Church will be hosting a “Hometown Halloween” on Oct. 31, with several free events for different ages.
Kids are invited to trick-or-treat in the chapel graveyard from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to treats, apple cider will be on offer and families can have their photos taken. A prize drawing for an iPod Nano will also take place. The trick-or-treating is open to kids of all ages, and costumes are encouraged.
Trinity is located at74 Trinity Place between Rector and Thames Sts. In the event of rain, it will be held in Charlotte’s Place at 107 Greenwich St., between Rector and Carlisle Sts.
At 6 p.m., the church will screen the silent 1920 film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” This flickering black and white masterpiece is a classic, starring iconic actor John Barrymore in the title role. It will be screened as it was intended: accompanied by live music, played on the organ by Dr. Robert Ridgell. The movie is recommended for older kids and adults.
Screamin’ Green Halloween in B.P.C.
Battery Park City’s Screamin’ Green Halloween is taking place at the Winter Garden and Waterfront Plaza this year. This gigantic eco-conscious get-together is a favorite of Downtown Families.
Enjoy autumnal games like Bobbing for Apples, Pin the Face on the Pumpkin and the Gourd Roll. Grab your gear to get a photo in front their “ghoulish green screen,” where haunting Halowwen characters will appear over your shoulder. Poets House will also be setting up a tent to host spooky poetry readings inside.
As for the traditional sugar rush, families can keep their sweets organic and fair trade, for the afternoon at least.
Don’t forget to drag last year’s Spiderman costume out of the closet to exchange for new duds at the costume swap. Revelers can also make their own costumes from recycled and repurposed materials for the Ghosts and Goblins parade around Battery Park City, beginning at 3 p.m.
Screamin’ Green Halloween and the Ghosts and Goblins Parade are free and will take place at 220 Vesey St. near West St., from noon-3 p.m. on Oct. 27. A free bicycle valet service will be run by Transportation Alternatives. Visit brookfieldplaceny.com/Screamin-Green-Halloween for more info.
Battery Park City Library Party
B.P.C.’s library will be hosting a Halloween shindig on Oct. 31, from 4-5 p.m. There will be face painting, games, scary story time, crafts and a costume parade. The event is free, open to all ages and handicap accessible at 175 North End Ave. Call 212-790-3499 or visit NYPL.org.
Get those little zombies off the couch and looking alive! The newly opened B.P.C. Asphalt Green will be hosting an All Hallows Eve romp, on Thurs., Oct. 31 from 4-6 p.m. The bash includes games like slow-moving Zombie Freeze Tag and a “Spooktacular” Soccer Shootout. The first 300 kids will receive a goody bag at the door.
“Asphalt Scream” will take place at both the Upper East Side and Battery Park City Locations. The B.P.C. center is locates at 212 North End Ave. It is free, but you must R.S.V.P. ahead of time at asphaltgreen.org/c-2582-p-Asphalt-Screams-RSVP.aspx.
South Street Seaport Parade
The Seaport’s Halloween Trick or Treating celebration is back for its 24th year after getting knocked out by Sandy last year. On Oct. 31, at 6 p.m., trick or treaters begin to gather at FishBridge Park on Water and Dover Sts. for the neighborhood parade, which makes a tour of the shops along Water and Front Sts., from Dover to Beekman Sts.
Neighbors and stores hand out sweet treats to the kids, while many of the restaurants and pubs (some of them still just reopened after Sandy) have All Hallows Eve specials for the adults.
The FishBridge festivities need volunteers to help put up fliers, arrange for treat givers, decorate the park on Halloween and cleaning up the park on Nov. 1. Email Gary Fagin at email@example.com..