This week in New York, it’s all about Halloween. Ease in with a comedy show that makes light of our personal fears and anxieties. Then dress up as your favorite literary character at the Genre Ball, get creeped out by the Crypt Crawl at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and celebrate in true New Yorker fashion at the Village Halloween Parade. To be transported to another world entirely, head to Ithaca for the Harry Potter–themed Wizarding Weekend.
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October 27 | Comedy
What Are You Afraid Of?
For a lighter look at fear, head to What Are You Afraid Of?, a storytelling show at Astoria’s Q.E.D. You may remember host Mara Wilson as the little girl in ‘90s films Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, but these days she’s lighting up the comedy scene with ensemble shows like this. Guests Sandi Marx (six-time Moth StorySlam grand champion), Mary Regan (Talk Therapy Stories), and Maggie Maxwell (Reductress) will share their anxieties and fears with Wilson and turn them into something we can all laugh at.
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM | Q.E.D.: A Place to Show and Tell, 27-16 23rd Ave., Queens | $10 | website
October 28 | Costume party
If you’re looking for a highbrow costume party this Halloween, then dress like your favorite literary genre or fictional character and head to the second annual Genre Ball at the Ace Hotel. A fundraiser for Electric Lit, the event will feature prizes, cocktails, dancing, literary swag, face painting, and, yes, even famous authors wearing silly outfits. The winner of the costume contest will get a free one-night stay at the Ace. The party starts with a VIP cocktail reception at Electric Lit headquarters a few blocks away before the main ball kicks off.
6:00 PM - 11:00 PM | Liberty Hall at Ace Hotel New York, 20 W. 29th St., New York | From $100 | website
October 28 - 29 | Spooky church tour
There’s nothing creepier than a crypt, and no better way to get in the Halloween spirit than with a tour of the one at the historical cathedral St. John the Divine. Hear stories of the entombed, learn about the origins of Halloween as a Celtic new year celebration, and tour the cathedral’s crypt. This is not for the faint of heart and participants must be at least 12 years old to attend. Check the schedule; the tour is offered multiple times a day throughout Thursday and Friday.
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave., New York | From $20 | website
October 29 - 30 | Escape the city
Ithaca, New York
The free-spirited college town of Ithaca, New York, makes for a great getaway from the city any time of year. But this weekend Harry Potter fans of all ages will be flying as fast as they can to join Wizarding Weekend. What started last year as a local one-day Facebook event with 8,000 visitors has grown into a full weekend where the city will be decked out like Diagon Alley with Harry Potter–themed houses. There will be quidditch matches on electric broomstick bikes, horcrux scavenger hunts, dark arts coffee tours, advanced potions classes (i.e., cocktail lessons), duels, costume contests, tours, and more.
October 31 | Parade
Village Halloween Parade
What began as a group of parents marching around Greenwich Village with their costumed children in the early 1970s has grown, 43 years later, into one of the world’s most famous Halloween events. With some 60,000 costumed participants and an estimated 2 million viewers, the parade runs up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 14th Street. From people donning standard store-bought costumes to the elaborate and artistic, anyone is welcome to participate alongside the puppets, musical bands, dancers, and artists who make the pilgrimage every year. Just watching the parade is a New York rite of passage (arrive early if you want a good view). And of course the party continues on the streets and in the bars of the Village once the parade lets up around 11 p.m.
7:30 PM - 11:00 PM | Parade starts at Sixth Ave. and Spring St. (those in the parade go to Sixth Ave. and Canal St.) | Free | website
A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.