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How to Celebrate Halloween in New York City

Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays in New York City, and New Yorkers love to celebrate it in many different ways.  Here is how you can participate in some of the fun and free events the city has to offer (in addition to the activities held by the English Language Institute's Student Life).

#1  Join the New York Village Halloween Parade (October 31st)

Halloween parade Greenwich Village, New York City

If you want to see some of the most exciting and creative Halloween costumes in the world, look no further than the annual NYC Village Halloween parade. Anyone can march in the parade as long as you have a costume! The parade starts at 7 pm in downtown Manhattan, and if you want to join in, be sure to arrive early at the entrance point of Canal Street and 6th Avenue. 

Read all the helpful tips on parade arrival and entry here.   If you just want to watch the parade, arrive early to get a great viewing spot along 6th Avenue between Spring Street and 16th Street. The parade travels north up 6th Avenue from 7 pm to 11 pm, and the most crowded areas are near the West 4th Street and 14th Street subways stations. Plan well and claim your viewing spot early!


 #2  Check out the Halloween Dog Parade in the East Village (October 28th )

Hallloween dog parade in East Village, NYC

Do you want to see some adorable New York dogs wearing some amazing Halloween costumes? Check out the annual Halloween Dog Parade in the East Village. CNN calls it "the largest dog costume parade in the world”, and you’ll be able to see hundreds of dogs wearing their crazy costumes. Many students studying in New York miss their pets back in their home countries, so here is a chance to hang out with some friendly pooches. The parade starts at noon, and admission is free. Note: This year’s parade has been moved from Tompkins Square Park to the East River Park Amphitheater. More information about the parade can be found here.


 #3  Score an Awesome Halloween Costume

Halloween Adventure shop in New York City

Don’t forget to dress up! If you’re studying English in New York and this is your first Halloween, you are in for a treat when it comes to shopping for a costume. New York has fantastic Halloween shops at every price range. One of the most famous Halloween stores is Halloween Adventure, near Union Square. Choose from the hundreds of costumes available for purchase or rental.  

Another fantastic store is Spirit Halloween, in Lower Manhattan within walking distance to Pace University’s English Language Institute.

For the ultimate Halloween makeup and hair products, head to Ricky’s New York for an amazing collection of wigs, colorful makeup, and costume accessories. Ricky’s has several locations throughout Manhattan and is a one-stop shop for all your Halloween extras.


Celebrate Halloween in New York while improving your English.  To find out more about living and studying English in New York City, visit the ELI website,  contact the ELI  or apply here.


Word List:

  • admission (n.) - entry or ticket to an event
  • pooch (n.) – an informal slang word for dog
  • to be in for a treat (idiom) – to be guaranteed to receive or experience something positive or beneficial
  • to score something (v.) – to achieve or acquire something special
  • wig (n.) – a head covering made from real or artificial hair
  • accessories (n.) – articles that can be added to enhance an outfit, such as belts, jewelry, and gloves.

WRITTEN BY A. WOFFORD