6 COVID-19 Safe Halloween Happenings in New York

Halloween events where you can stay safe and still celebrate the spooky season



A performer at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at the 2019 event. Though Halloween will be different this year, there are still plenty of opportunities to celebrate.


New York City does not mess around when it comes to celebrating certain holidays like Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and, of course, Halloween. Usually, during Hallo-weekend, the city erupts with parties when New Yorkers in costumes spill out of bars and other venues. However, the spookiest night in the city is going to look a little different this year as events adapt to the city and state’s COVID-19 safety guidelines

While some events have been canceled altogether this year, many were able to effectively adapt, meaning that this Halloween does not have to end up a bust. 

Fordham will be hosting virtual and in-person Halloween events, but only on Oct. 30; the university will not have any events on Halloween. Events include CAB’s “Halloweentown” party on the new McMahon lawn and a virtual movie and trivia night by CSA and CAB. Splinter Group will also be performing its Spooky Spectacular Cabaret on the 30th via Facebook Live. 

West Village Halloween Parade

Every year, the West Village Halloween parade is the go-to Halloween event in the city. If you could get past the mobs of people on the subway to get to the Village, you’d find one of the best parades the city has to offer. After the exciting event with incredible floats and costumed performers, you could go hang out in Washington Square Park or pop into any of the incredible bars and restaurants in the area.

Raphael Isidro, Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center ’22, has fond memories from his first time at the parade freshman year. “Being from New Jersey, I never really got to experience that spooky and Halloween experience, it was more a time to just get together and dress up,” said Isidro. “Being a part of the parade and watching a number of groups get together and show what a New York-Halloween was like opened my eyes to how dedicated New Yorkers are what Halloween is really about.” 

This year, the in-person parade had to be canceled as it would be impossible to safely social distance. However, the organizers will host a smaller, virtual parade that audiences can stream from home. The virtual parade will only be 15 minutes long and will feature puppets made by local artists on little floats as well as dioramas of iconic New York City buildings. 

Additionally, some of the decorations that are usually up for the parade will still be up for fans to visit on their own. 

Haunted Broadway: A Halloween Pop-Up Event

Just a stone’s throw south of campus on 42nd Street, the New Amsterdam Theatre is offering haunted Broadway tours. The tour takes participants around Times Square and five historic theaters in the area, telling them about the district’s history as well as its supernatural happenings. 

Olive Thomas is just one of the spirits you’ll learn about on the tour. The young chorus girl from the 1915 Ziegfeld follies haunts the New Amsterdam Theatre. Though she notoriously doesn’t like to appear on Halloween, you may be lucky enough to hear her ghostly tap dancing within the theatre. 

The theater will host tours during the afternoon and evening on Halloween, and anyone interested can purchase tickets online.

Haunted Fountain at the Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine will not be hosting its usual Halloween Extravaganza where it screens “Nosferatu” (1922) with a live orchestra accompaniment, but it will still be hosting a different Halloween celebration. This year, the party is moving to the Peace Fountain directly outside the church, located on 111th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. The family-friendly event will feature trick-or-treating, costume contests, photo opportunities, live music and more. Just like all the events, participants are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Coney Island Costume Contest

Another New York Halloween classic that has adapted to the pandemic is the Coney Island Costume Contest. Coney Island is the place to find the best costumes in the whole city, and this year you don’t have to spend two hours on the D train to see them. The contest is entirely online; participants will submit photos of their costumes and fans can vote for the best ones. 

The date to submit a costume picture has passed, but you can still look at and vote on the best costumes on the Alliance for Coney Island’s website.

Día de Los Muertos at Green-Wood Cemetery

Students in the city can check out the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn this Halloween. The cemetery is hosting a large-scale community altar by artist Scherezade García within the cemetery’s chapel. The altar will be up until the end of Día de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) on Nov. 1 for people who can’t make it out on Halloween. Visitors are encouraged to bring offerings to the altar. The website says visitors are encouraged to bring things like flowers, photographs or notes.

Queens Drive-In Movie Theater

This event is specifically for students who have cars, or at least access to a car, in or around the city. The Queens Drive-In theater at Flushing Meadows Park, right by the Queens Museum, will be showing “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Beetlejuice” on Halloween night for $35 a car. With normal movie theaters still closed in the city, this is your best option for a typical Halloween movie night in the city if you’re looking to get off your couch. 


As always, the cheapest, safest and easiest way to celebrate Halloween this year is just to stay in and celebrate with close friends and family. Carry out some dinner from your favorite local restaurant, put on a good scary movie and do a costume photoshoot for Instagram. Most of all, stay safe and adhere to coronavirus safety guidelines this Halloween.