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We recently wrote about some spooky Halloween events coming up soon here in the UK, and now we're hopping over the pond to see how it's done in New York City. Let's just say that ours look positively sedate in comparison. Kicking things off with the almighty Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, here's a quick run down of five of New York's haunted happenings for Halloween 2011...
Village Halloween Parade
The Village Halloween Parade is the biggest in the world; this is the event you won't want to miss (or be able to avoid) if you're in Lower Manhattan on October 31st. The brilliantly bizarre parade of aliens, witches, monsters, circus performers, dancers, puppeteers, pirates, skeletons and ghosts runs along Sixth Avenue, from Spring St to 16th St. It attracts around two million spectators, but you don't just have to watch -- you can join in.
This years' theme is 'The i of the beholder", inspired by French symbolist Redon's painting of a floating eye balloon. If you want to take part in this quintessential New York experience, all you have to do is show up in costume at the lineup area between Spring and Broome Streets on Sixth Avenue, anytime between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. The biggest crowds congregate between 14th and Bleecker streets - arrive early for the best views.
Parade starts at Sixth Avenue and Spring Street, New York
Central Park Parade and Pumpkin Sail
This coming Sunday, October 23rd, head up to the Dana Discovery Center alongside Harlem Meer at the northern end of Central Park for the annual family-favourite Central Park Parade and Pumpkin Sail. Wear your scariest outfits and bring a not-too-large carved pumpkin before 5.30pm for spooky music, live entertainment, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, a haunted costume parade and New York City's largest twinkling pumpkin flotilla at twilight.
Harlem Meer, Central Park, East Side between 106th to 110th streets.
Halloween Spooktacular at Top of the Rock
Kill two birds with one stone by simultaneously ticking off one of New York City's best tourist attractions and treating the kids to a fright-filled afternoon of magic shows, face painting, special sweet treats and Halloween crafts. All activities are free with your entrance ticket to Top of the Rock, and your little ones are encouraged to don their scariest mask or costume. The event takes place on Sunday 30th October, between 1pm and 4pm.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, off Fifth Avenue between W 50th and W 49th streets.
NYC Botanical Garden's Haunted Pumpkin Garden
For a respite from the city in an altogether different kind of environment, head north to the Bronx where the New York Botanical Garden has turned the Everett Children's Adventure Garden into a special Haunted Pumpkin Garden until Sunday 30th October.
Artist Michael Natiello has designed a cornucopia of spooky scarecrows, shocking snakes and scary spiders to strike mild fear into the hearts of your little ones at every turn, and the kids will also get to hang out in a specially-made Pumpkin House and help put on a horror-filled puppet show at the Pumpkin Puppet Theatre.
For more on NYC's Botanical Garden, check out our previous feature on Botanical Gardens in our destinations.
2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York. Check here for directions.
Definitely not one for the kids, Blood Manor is a walk-through haunted house horror experience, billing itself as New York City's premier haunted attraction. Truly terrifying, it uses state-of-the-art animatronics, cutting edge props and professional actors to bring this years' theme of bloodcurdling Fairy Stories (of the non-Disney variety) to life. The experience lasts around 25 minutes, during which you'll be led through 5,000 square feet of themed rooms, corridors and a dark maze of passageways designed to maximise your deepest fears.
163 Varick Street, New York, every day until November 6th, 2011. The attraction is extremely popular so try and get tickets in advance.
Header shot © Richard Semik | Dreamstime.com. Halloween Parade photo © Gary718 | Dreamstime.com and @NYCphotos-flickr and A. Strakey on Flickr.com for the shot of Central Park's pumpkin sail and NYC Botanical Garden.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.