Celebrating Halloween in New York City

For the uninitiated, Halloween takes place on October 31 and traditionally, young children go door to door trick-or-treating and adults sometimes host costume parties.

Visitors to New York City can participate in a number of Halloween-themed activities throughout the month of October, with options for adults, as well as families. On Halloween night, you can expect a particularly busy nightlife, with costumed revelers enjoying the night out -- particularly in the Village after the Halloween Parade.

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    Skeleton in Halloween Parade
    ••• Skeleton in Halloween Parade. Photo by Dan Cross, licensed to About.com

    Taking place on Halloween night since 1973, the Village Halloween Parade is the largest Halloween celebration in the world with over 50,000 marchers participating each year. Anyone in costume can participate in the parade (you don't even need to pre-register!), but it's also an amazing experience for spectators who enjoy watching the amazing costumes and performances as the parade works its way up 6th Avenue.

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    The Ghouls Arrive for the Procession
    ••• The Ghouls Arrive for the Procession. Photo by Dan Cross, licensed to About.com

    This might be the favorite Halloween event in New York City -- and since it often takes place before Halloween, it's also an extra opportunity to wear your costume! The Halloween Extravaganza begins with the screening a silent horror film with live organ music accompaniment, followed by amazing Ralph Lee designed puppets and costumes marching down the aisle of the Cathedral. Buy tickets in advance, since the event often sells out.

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    Lizards on Jack-O-Lantern at Boo at the Zoo Halloween Celebration at the Bronx Zoo
    ••• Lizards on Jack-O-Lantern at Boo at the Zoo. Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

    Halloween is such a great holiday for kids and New York City seems to know that, with activities and events throughout October with a Halloween twist. From New York City's zoos and gardens to museums and churches, there are a surprising number of fun ways to enjoy Halloween with kids in New York City. Don't forget to pack your kid's costume, since some even offer free admission if you're wearing one!

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    Madame Tussauds After Dark
    ••• Madame Tussauds After Dark. Madame Tussauds

    Of course, Halloween in New York City isn't just for the kids! Whether you want to have a heart-racing scare or a fun night out in costume, these haunted houses, guided tours and Halloween parties offer adults-only Halloween fun.

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    Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of the Ghouls
    ••• Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of the Ghouls. Photo by Dan Cross, licensed to About.com

    In addition to the Halloween Extravaganza and the Village Halloween Parade, there are a number of great events that are appropriate for Halloween revelers of all ages. These Halloween-themed tours and events are enjoyable for adults, and not-to-scary (or sexy) for most children.

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    The Bridge Cafe
    ••• The Bridge Cafe. Photo by Heather Cross, licensed to About.com

    New York City is full of haunted places, from Broadway theaters and New York City hotels to restaurants and even hospitals! Our list of haunted places in New York City highlights some of the most famous spots in New York City that are rumored to be haunted or having reported ghost sightings. Visit if you dare!

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    If you're looking for a Halloween costume, look no further than one of New York City's great costume shops. From run-of-the-mill to high-end, New York City costume shops have everyone covered, whether you want to be a sexy nurse or Harry Potter. Of course, the closer it gets to Halloween, the crazier these places get, so it's recommended to shop early for the best costume options and service.