Here’s what you need to know about Halloween in New York City this year

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Its been a tough year for kids (okay, for everyone) with everything from sports to summer vacations canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Halloween is coming up and we are desperate for some normalcy and celebration. While it might not look exactly like Halloween’s past, it’s still possible to have a fun and safe Halloween this year, here’s what you need to know to make Halloween great this year.

What Officials Have to Say

Before we get to the fun part about what we can do this year to celebrate Halloween, let’s get on the same page about what won’t fly for Halloween 2020. The CDC says that traditional trick-or-treating, large costume parties, hay rides and haunted houses are a no go. These activities are all classified as high-risk activities, and if we want to go all out for Halloween 2021 then we need to be cautious. However, Governor Cuomo said he will not ban trick-or-treating this year, so it is technically allowed, but use your judgment about what’s safe for your family.

How to Make Halloween 2020 Fun

While big costume parties and Halloween parades may be canceled, there are still plenty of fun ways to celebrate this season. Here are some safe ways to make Halloween 2020 unforgettable:

Socially-Distanced Trick-or-Treating

While going door to door to get candy from neighbors may not be in the cards this year, you and your family can put together Halloween goody bags and leave them on the porch, or somewhere else where friends and neighbors can grab them from a safe distance. Chat with neighbors and see if other families want to do the same, so your kiddos can pick up goody bags too!

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze

This fun Halloween activity opened its doors on September 18th and will stay open until mid-November. Set against the backdrop of Van Cortlandt manor, this event features more than seven thousand hand-carved, glowing jack-o-lanterns. It’s a great chance for you and your family to get outside and bask in some magical Halloween fun. The event will have strict social distancing guidelines and advanced reservations are required.

Pumpkin Patches

This is one Halloween activity that doesn’t have to look different this year! Lots of fresh air, acres of space to run around, and pumpkins galore. Pumpkin patches are COVID-safe and are a great traditional Halloween activity that we can enjoy this year. There are tons of pumpkin patches around the city where you and your family can enjoy some fresh air and open space; there might not be a hay ride this year, but pumpkin-picking is on!

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

Pumpkin Carving Parties 

Invite some neighbors to meet up in a local park to carve jack-o-lanterns. Play some seasonal music, bring the kids, and carve pumpkins just like every other Halloween, but this time outside and six feet apart!


Spend an afternoon as a family making crafts, hanging lights and fake cobwebs, maybe even bake a seasonal treat to enjoy while decorating. This will be a fun way to get in the spirit of Halloween as a family, from the comfort of your home! You can even finish off the evening with a spooky film.

Photo by Artie Siegel from Pexels

Host a Virtual Costume Party

This is a great way to give kids a chance to show off their costumes if they are not going trick-or-treating this year. Invite friends and relatives near and far to a virtual costume party. You can all connect via Zoom and compare costumes. It’s a great chance to connect with family who live out of state too!

Halloween at the Garden

Halloween is on a Saturday this year, and celebrating at the Queens Botanical Gardens is the best way to take advantage of a Halloween that falls on a weekend! The event provides a chance for kids to show off their costumes, walk the trick-or-treat trail, and enjoy outdoor performances. The Botanical Gardens are taking plenty of precautions to make sure the event is COVID-safe. Everything will be outdoors, surfaces will be disinfected, and masks and social-distancing are required.

Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo is back and they have tons of family-friendly experiences to get in the Halloween spirit. Make sure to participate in classic events like watching expert artists carve exceptional pumpkins, search for your favorite “masked” and “costumed” animals in a scavenger hunt, and more! Thursdays – Sundays, October 1- November 1 (including October 12). Make sure to grab your tickets online!

Museum of Ice Cream

Celebrate Halloween from October 29-31 at the Museum of Ice Cream! Come in costume and enjoy tons of Halloween delights such as candies, prizes, and special MOIC merchandise. Make sure to purchase the “Trick or Sweet” add on when checking out.

This story originally appeared on newyorkfamily.com

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