Halloween events that are local, kid-friendly

Oct15 Dog Parade 2014

A canine in costume at the Tompkins Square dog parade in 2014

By Sabina Mollot

Fans of Halloween rejoice: The holiday can be celebrated locally at events for families that are happening on October 31 as well as earlier.

Read on for a roundup of parties, parades and more:

Tompkins Square Dog Parade
If you want Fido to be part of the festivities, the 26th annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade is scheduled for Saturday, October 22 from noon-3 p.m. Costumes will be judged by TV personality Giuliana Rancic. Along with a chance to enter your dog into the competition for prizes, there will also be some goodies from event sponsors PetSmart and Beggin’ and pet adoption opportunities from local Petfinder rescue groups.
All funds raised at the event will support the Friends of First Run, the organization responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the Tompkins Square Park Dog Run. This year’s event is at a new location, the park’s multipurpose courts at Avenue A and East 10th Street.

Party for Pets
Cauz for Pawz thrift shop will also be a place to bring your pets for a Halloween party on October 22 from 1-7 p.m. Costumes are encouraged and a psychic will predict guests’ futures. The store is located at 333 First Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets. For more information, call (212) 684-7299.

Halloween-Themed Comedy for Kids
Kids ‘N Comedy, which presents monthly shows performed by teens and tweens for teens and tweens at Gotham Comedy Club, will be holding a Halloween-themed performance. In “The Scary Pre-Halloween Show,” comedians will joke about why it’s okay to admit you’re scared and share their deepest, darkest and most hilarious fears. Shows are appropriate for kids age nine and up and run 90 minutes long. The show is on Sunday, October 23 at 1 p.m. at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd Street. Tickets are $15 plus a one-item minimum (food or drink.) There is a kids’ menu. For reservations, call (212) 877-6115 or visit kidsncomedy.com.

Costume Ball and Performances
On Halloween, Theater for the New City will hold its 40th annual Village Halloween Costume Ball on Monday, October 31. The event, which is designed for adults as well as kids, begins with free outdoor entertainment from 4-7 p.m. outside the theater at 155 First Avenue and East 10th Street. This includes R&B and Dixieland bands, fire eaters, jugglers, story weavers and stilt dancers. Outdoor entertainment is capped by “The Red and Black Masque,” an annual Medieval ritual show written by Arthur Sainer.


Candidates knock heads in Emily Pezzella’s witch’s cauldron in a playlet created for Theater for the New City’s 40th Village Halloween Costume Ball. (Photo by Jonathan Slaff)


At 7:30 p.m. doors open for the festivities inside which includes theater, cabaret, a costume contest and live music. Entertainment includes Hot Lavendar Swing Band, an all-Gay and Lesbian 18-piece orchestra, and Maquina Mono (The Monkey Machine), a Latin Salsa Rock band. There will also be aerial dance by Constellation Moving Company. Performers include Star 69, Joe Bendik, and Angel Choir, led by Matt Angel. Primy Rivera is emcee.

Scattered through the event will be stilt dancers, jugglers, fire-eaters, Vaudeville playlets, and burlesque performers. The lobby will be divided into rooms featuring rooms for astrology/numerology readings. Phyllis Yampolsky will throw the I-Ching.

The annual costume judging begins at midnight and qinners will receive one-year passes to TNC and a bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne. Attendees will be judged in categories including “Most Profiled,” “Most Wells-Fargo’d,” “Most Donald Trump” “Most Chris Christie” and more.

Admission is $20; costume or formal wear is required.  Once inside, everything is free except food and drink, which is provided by East Village restaurants. For more information, call the box office at (212) 254-1109 or visit theaterforthenewcity.net.

Village Halloween Parade
The Village Halloween Parade is open to spectators as well as marchers (as long as you’re in costume.) If you want to participate, visit halloween-nyc.com for instructions. But if you just want to watch the action, the parade starts on Halloween night at Sixth Avenue north of Spring Street at 7 p.m. and goes straight up on to 16th Street. The theme this year is “reverie.” Organizers warn that the streets are most crowded between Bleecker and 14th Street, so you may want to stake out a spot earlier or there early or go to another place along the route. The event is expected to end around 11 p.m. If you’d rather watch it on TV, it’ll be telecast live on NY1 from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Stuy Town, Waterside Festivities
On Saturday, October 29 from 2-6 p.m. Stuyvesant Town will hold its annual Halloween fair for kids on the Oval. There will be a haunted house, live music, a magic show, inflatables, games, face painting, a pumpkin patch and a costume contest. Prizes will be given to two winners. Lines will be cut off at 5:30 p.m. and The Oval will be cleared at 6 p.m. Stuy Town events are for residents and their guests only.

At Waterside, there will also be a residents-only celebration outdoors on the plaza on October 31 from 6-8 p.m. Highlights this year will include a train on the plaza and a pumpkin patch. 

Worth the trip uptown: Pumpkin Flotilla, Bat Presentation
The Central Park Conservancy is holding a Halloween parade and pumpkin flotilla, as well as a live “Bat Encounter” presentation by the Organization for Bat Conservation. The festivities begin on Sunday, October 30 at 3:30 p.m. and include live music by Aly Sunshine and Funkytown Playground, spooky stories with Story Laurie, pumpkin carving demonstrations with Hugh McMahon, a costume parade and the flotilla, which sets sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight. The location is the Dana Discovery Center in Central Park at 110th Street between Lenox Avenue and Fifth Avenue. Following the other activities, which end at 5:30 p.m., and the parade (5:45-6:30 p.m.) the flotilla launch is at twilight at around 6:30 p.m. Find a spot along the edge of the Harlem Meer and watch as the jack-o’-lanterns float by.

For instructions on how to participate in the flotilla, call the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at (212) 860-1370 or visit the website.

This event is free but an RSVP is requested online.

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