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2011 Halloween Survival Guide

The best of all things hallowed in NYC

We may not have doorsteps to display our pumpkins, but no one does Halloween quite like New York. Here, the City’s best offerings for the pint-sized set.

Most festive trick-or-treat blocks.  The townhouses on East 94th Street between Lex and Park look (and probably are) professionally decorated. The same goes for West 95th between Park and Columbus. East 78th Street usually closes to traffic for trick-or-treaters, but it can get super crowded. Park Slopers should hit up the brownstones from 5th to 8th Streets between 7th and 8th Avenues.
 

Coolest treat bag. ChicoBag’s Halloween collection includes four new eco-friendly bags—Haunted House, Frankenstein, Purple Ghost and Skull ($6.99 each)—that glow in the dark.
 

Healthiest handouts. The Sweet Life, on the Lower East Side, sells individually wrapped organic hard candies from Go Naturally ($11 per pound) as well as three flavors of Yummy Earth organic lollypops ($3.50 for 15). You can also find naturally flavored gummy candies from brands like Surf Sweets at most of the health food stores around town. 
 

Easiest costumes. Ricky’s stocks the crowd-pleasing superheroes and princesses most tots beg for. If you don’t want your kid to look like everyone else on the street, avoid Captain America, Tangled Rapunzel, and all things Smurfs this year. 
 

Cuddliest costumes. Pottery Barn Kids has introduced new Puffy Unicorn and Furry Monster costumes (from $54); they’re currently 20 percent off—and selling fast, we hear.

Cheapest costumes. If you want to trade last year’s costume for something new, give and ye shall receive at the Halloween Costume Swap hosted by GrowNYC and Big!NYC in Brooklyn, on October 28th (3-6pm).

Most original costumes. Sandy Toes in East Quogue has wonderful hand-sewn children’s costumes, including Pirate, Scarecrow, Good Witch of the North and Madeline. (from $60).
 

Safest makeup. Johnny Brown Face Painting Crayons are non-toxic, water soluble, and great for drawing animal whiskers or clown cheeks ($12.99, at Ricky’s).
 

Events worth attending. The 7:30pm start time for the Village Parade is past most toddlers’ bedtimes, but we like these other kid-friendly happenings leading up to the big day.
 

The closest thing you’ll find to a real pumpkin patch in Manhattan is at Madison Square Park’s Fall Kids Fest, where tots can pick their own. There’s also face-painting, music, and a parade for kids in costumes. (October 15th, 11-2pm.)
 

If your child isn’t spooked by jack o’ lanterns, Central Park’s twilight Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail sounds awesome: live music, food and a pumpkin flotilla. (October 23rd from 4-7pm.)

On Halloween Eve, kids in costume can haunt the halls at the Museum of Natural History’s 16th Annual Halloween Celebration. Expect trick-or-treating, live music, and roaming characters like Curious George and Peter Rabbit. (October 31st, 4-7pm; $10 per person/$9 for members.)