Your Definitive Guide to Halloween in New York City

New York is the place to be if you're looking to let your freak flag fly a bit this Halloween. Be safe, ghouls, and give yourself over to the night.

DAYTIME

For some family-friendly fun, a lot of New York City's wonderful Botanical Gardens are hosting fun Halloween events all week. The Bronx's Botanical Garden has its Spooky Pumpkin Garden on display through Thursday, October 31. Open from 10-6, you can also stay after and meet some skeles and ghouls from 6:30-8:30 PM for Spooky Pumpkin Garden Nights.

At the Queens Botanical Garden, there will be a Halloween celebration from 12 to 4 PM on Sunday, October 27, featuring a trick or treat trail, arts and crafts, and much more. For more spooky Queens fun, check out the Queens County Farm Museum, which hosts an expansive corn maze, a Children's Fall Festival, and a haunted house recommended for ages 4-12. The museum is open daily from 10-5 PM.

Of course, The Tompkins Square Park Halloween Parade runs from October 24 to 27, and the best part of this classic attraction is that it's a parade for dogs.

American Kennel Club

If you're looking for an excuse to go to Central Park, the Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla kicks off at 5:30 PM on Sunday, October 27. Register in advance for the chance to send your very own Jack O'Lantern floating out over the reservoir, and best of all, it's free.

For Brooklynites, Prospect Park hosts a Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair on Saturday October 26, from 12-3 PM. It's perfect for kids or the young at heart.

NIGHTTIME

Evening Events:

The Village's Halloween Parade is probably NYC's biggest and most famous Halloween event, and that's saying a lot. Costumes are no laughing matter here (you have to dress up to march), and you'll find over 50,000 zombies, ghouls, witches, and monsters coming together for one wild night. The parade typically runs from 7 to 10:30 PM (line-up starts at 6:30!), running from Spring Street on Sixth Ave to 16th Street. If you don't want to march, try setting up shop around the parade's starting point or finish line.

If you're looking to get out of the city, check out the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in Sleepy Hollow (yes, the legendary home of the Headless Horseman) and see 7,000 illuminated pumpkins. Times and tickets vary by evening and cost $22.

hudsonvalley.com

If the Great Blaze is too far away, you can head out to Governor's Island to see a slightly smaller (around 1,000) but still impressive gathering of artfully carved orange gourds. Running from 5 to 10 PM, it's $26 for adults and runs from October 24-29 at various times.

And if you're looking for some more intellectually stimulating and/or introvert-friendly entertainment, you most definitely have options. If you're not exhausted by the end of Halloweekend because you've spent the whole time indoors watching scary movies and eating candy corn (totally understandable), you can get a more in-depth history of all your favorite Halloween candies at the Brooklyn Brainery's October 29 event, Candy: From Early History to Halloween. And don't worry, there will be candy samples. Tickets are $15 and the event is 6:30-7:45.

Haunted Houses and Immersive Events:

Enter the 5,000-foot labyrinth that is Manhattan's Blood Manor and forget that you're in ritzy Tribeca.

Then there's the Merchant's House Museum, said to be one of the most haunted houses in New York City. This macabre destination hosts a variety of events, and you can pick from everything from an Evening with Edgar Allan Poe to a 60-minute candlelit ghost tour ($30-40, every half hour from 6:30-9:30 PM, various evenings) to even spookier midnight tours, also on various evenings throughout October.

Being NYC, there are no shortage of immersive events that sound genuinely terrifying. At the event called The Cooping Theory 1969, you'll travel back to the 60's to meet the members of the so-called Poe Society, who try to channel the dead poet via a seance. Things don't go well, if that weren't obvious. This event runs through November 2, and costs $75.

Then there's the supposedly terrifying Bane Haunted House, which makes its Hell's Kitchen debut this year. If you get too scared during the half-hour trip you can yell "Mercy," and in the two weeks it's been open this year, there have apparently been over 200 mercy cries. If you want to brave it, the event takes place at various hours, runs through November 9, and costs $35-55.

Asbury Park Press

For Those Who Want to P$arty:

Looking to celebrate Halloween like Old Hollywood stars? Look no further than the Sleep No More Hitchcock Party at Chelsea's McKittrick Hotel. Running from Friday October 25, 2019 to Thursday. October 31, a ticket (expensive $) will get you admission to Sleep No More, the immersive Macbeth-inspired experience, as well as admission to a fancy dinner and the luxe all-night hotel party.

If Manhattan parties aren't your thing, don't worry: Brooklyn and all its resident hipsters have got you more than covered. First and foremost, there's Brooklyn's infamous House of Yes. From a so-called Poetry Brothel (Thursday, October 24, 6:30-9:30 PM, $50-250) to the House of Yes Horrorvaganza (Friday, October 25, 6:30 PM, $20-100) and the subsequent Cirque Nouveau freak show, this venue is sure to give you all the saturated, freaky Halloween party vibes that your heart desires.

There's the BangOn!NYC Warehouse of Horrors, which fills Queen's Knockdown Center with freaky performers, huge art installations, vendors, and all the glitchy DJ performances your cold, dead heart could desire. The event happens on Halloweekend (Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27) and a general admission ticket will cost you $75.

Brooklyn Bazaar also has a party on Friday the 25th, entitled "Halloween Massacre," so if you're looking to get murdered this is the place. Plus, it's only $8.

For more themed entertainment, check out Queens' It-themed Halloween party at the famous Doha Nightclub on Saturday, October 26. Admission is free before midnight. If none of these parties catch your eye, check out Eventbrite's hundreds of Halloween parties—or forgo it all for a movie.

Film Showings:

For some of us, Halloween is basically Rocky Horror Picture Show night and nothing else. Rocky Horror showings are happening all over the city, so get your fishnets out and check out one of the dozens of options. In Manhattan, every Friday and Saturday in October finds a shadow cast shaking to the Time Warp at the Cinéapolis Cinema in Chelsea at midnight. Tickets are $10, and it's recommended that you arrive early. In Brooklyn, you can sing along with four-piece group The Occasionalists at Union Hall, who will play the movie's score live (the film won't be shown).

If you're looking for something a bit witchier, Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg is exclusively showing movies about witches for all of October. Check out their schedule here—tickets still remain for the Friday, October 26 showing of Drag Me To Hell.

For an even more immersive experience, head uptown to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which holds an annual scoring of Nosferatu with a live score. Plus, after the showing, you can follow their macabre Procession of the Ghouls down Amsterdam Avenue. Tickets cost $27.50.

Observer

AVOID AT ALL COSTS

Halloween is a time to be free and release your inner monster. But there are some places you absolutely should not go, namely the Joker Steps in The Bronx.

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Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!

Travel Tips

8 of the Best Donut Spots In the United States

Celebrate National Donut Day with our favorite treats across the country.

November 5th marks one of 2020's two National Donut Days.

Occurring in both June and November, National Donut Day allows fans of those delectable yeasty treats to embrace their sweet tooth. But like any niche food group, people often take their donuts very, very seriously, and there are countless places to get your fix.


Below, we've rounded up some of the best donut spots across the country. From coast to coast, these bakeries are sure to impress even the pickiest donut-heads.

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop – Modesto, CA

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop

If you ever find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's worth taking a short trek out east towards Modesto for some of California's best donuts. Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop has remained family owned since its opening over 30 years ago, providing both tried-and-true classic donuts as well as experimental flavors and holiday specials. Even their 24-hour service doesn't diminish the line that trails out the door most mornings.

Dough — New York, NY

Dough \u2014 New York, NY

Donuts might not be the first circular, doughy treat you think of when it comes to New York City. If you've had your fair share of bagels, the Big Apple also boasts some spectacular donuts at Dough, a go-to spot for both tourists and locals alike. Here, you'll find a host of Latin American-inspired flavors that are hard to come by anywhere else; their Dulce de Leche flavor is a customer favorite, while the tangy Hibiscus donut is just as good for Instagramming as it is for eating.

Blackbird Doughnuts — Boston, MA

Blackbird Doughnuts \u2014 Boston, MA

Boston's Blackbird Doughnuts is a no-frills donut spot specializing in both brioche "raised" donuts and old-fashioned cake donuts. With a small menu of year-round donuts and a rotating cast of seasonal flavors, Blackbird keeps it simple and classic. Why mess around?

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop — Brooklyn, NY

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop \u2014 Brooklyn, NY

For over 60 years, Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop has been calling the quaint Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint home. Since then, the bakery has remained a popular spot for both regulars and new visitors passing through the area. Here, you won't find uber-trendy decor or gimmicky recipes, just damn good donuts that prove the power of long-standing local businesses.

Pip’s Original — Portland, OR

Pip\u2019s Original \u2014 Portland, OR

In both their mobile catering van and brick-and-mortar locations, Pip's Original is a staple for small, sweet treats in Portland. They're known for their tiny donuts that come in inventive seasonal flavors like marionberry-lavender and mango ghost pepper. But even if you opt for one of the more traditional flavors, Pip's Original proves good things can come in small packages.

Round Rock Donuts — Round Rock, TX

Round Rock Donuts \u2014 Round Rock, TX

Founded in 1926, Round Rock Donuts—located just north of Austin—are impossible to miss. These donuts' distinct yellow-orange color, caused by fresh eggs in the original recipe, make them stand out among the crowd. While this classic outpost can easily churn out hundreds of dozens of donuts a day, they also offer Texas-Sized Donuts, which are just as ginormous as you'd imagine. Round Rock Donuts are not only delicious and easily recognizable, but they're a slice of Lone Star history.

The Holy Donut — Portland, ME

The Holy Donut \u2014 Portland, ME

In Maine's Portland, you might not find tiny donuts or a decked-out catering van, but you will find a slightly healthier alternative. The Holy Donut was founded on the premise of creating tasty donuts that used all-natural ingredients to make a treat you could feel good about eating. The secret ingredient is fresh, mashed Maine potatoes, which make these donuts delectably moist without sacrificing flavor.

Donut Friend — Los Angeles, CA

Donut Friend \u2014 Los Angeles, CA

As expected of a city so focused on entertainment, Los Angeles' Donut Friend puts an edgy spin on their inventive donut flavors. Their year-round menu features donut flavors with names like Green Teagan and Sara, Fudgegazi, and Bacon-182 that are sure to delight the rock music nerds. For everyone else, the delicious donuts speak for themselves.