How we did Halloween in NYC

Halloween in New York City—just like any holiday in New York City—is extremely over-the-top. But in an exciting, electric, stay-up-all-night kind of way. This year, we hit the streets as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf and we made a night of it. So here’s how we did Halloween:

If you don’t mind rowdy crowds and policemen getting frustrated because their attempted crowd control is being ignored, then walk around Union Square (the end of the parade). It’s worth it because people are super excited, and everyone is in costume. If you show up in an intricate, unique or sexy costume, then you will have your "five minutes of fame" when everyone starts asking you for your picture! I’m pretty sure I’m on nearly 40 strangers’ phones now, thanks to my Red Riding Hood.

We went club/bar hopping; our favorite places that we ended up were The Skinny Bar and Lounge, and the Culture Club. (Of course, once you’ve seen one club with no cover charge, then you’ve seen them all. But these two were fun, nonetheless.)

Near 3am, we ended up at The Meatball Shop. Daniel and I love this restaurant in general, and it was absolutely packed at 3am. (Working-adult drunk food? I guess it’s a step up from White Castle.) It was a really fun atmosphere with their bar, loud music, lit candles and Halloween décor. And their Candy Corn and Orange Creamsicle Jello shots were pretty great! (Tip: we are obsessed with their chicken and pesto meatballs on a hero.)

So why didn’t we go to the parade?

Well, in my opinion, parades in NYC are rarely worth it. However, my first NYC Halloween four years ago, my friends and I did give the Village Halloween Parade a chance. And it absolutely wasn’t worth standing for two hours before it began so that we could actually secure a spot with a good view, and then standing for another two hours while it passed. Other than a few intricate skeleton puppets that multiple people had to maneuver, it was basically just hundreds of people in costumes—like a giant parade of trick-or-treaters. (This is because it actually is “the nation’s most wildly … public participatory event in [NYC]” and anyone can be a part of it.) But here’s the thing: just walking around Union Square, the West Village or the Lower East Side on Halloween gives you the same affect. And then you can walk freely on the street, and don’t have to stand for hours, get trapped without a bathroom or be yelled at by the cranky NYPD. (If you want to watch it anyway, the parade marches on 6th Ave between Spring Street and 16th Street from 7:00pm – 10:30pm.)

Get a taste of what you could see at the parade here.

And remember: though people are excited and rowdy and fun, most of them are innocently so. However, there will be people who are trying to deal drugs or hand out unlabeled bottles of liquor. And, the longer the night goes, the drunker people get and the looser they get with their comments or their hands. Use your street-smarts; have fun, but don’t be too trusting.

Happy Halloween!