As the afterglow of summer fades and the heating begins to warm up, you know it’s not long until Halloween in New York. Here are the best experiences to try.

Shopping for a Halloween Costume

Half the fun of Halloween is dressing up and the other half is going shopping for what you’ll wear. In the month preceding Halloween, Spirit Halloween Shops pop up in formerly vacant shopfronts across the city. The costumes range for wigs and crazy glasses to full masks and full Star Wars Darth Vader suits (retailing at up to $2,000). The city’s best Halloween and costume shop is Halloween Adventure between Broadway and 4th. It has two floors of magic tricks, gags and intricate costumes and fetish wear. The Village Party Store on W8th is also a popular destination.

Don’t leave it too late to shop for your costume

The Village Halloween Parade

To truly experience Halloween, you have to embrace it and to be an active participant. Nowhere gives you a better chance to part of the action than the annual Village Halloween Parade. Join over 50 bands and floats parading up Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) from Canal Street to 16th Street. You’ll pass thousands of cheering spectators and it truly is a buzz.

The parade, now in its 44th year, attracts all sorts of freaks and entertainers, just like you. That’s because anyone can be a part of the fun. All you need to do is be dressed to distress and turn up at Canal Street from 6pm. You can only enter this area from the EAST and SOUTH. That is Sullivan, East Broome and Canal Streets. If you come from the West, enter ONLY from Canal Street.

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade

Reputedly the largest costumed dog parade in the world, the annual Halloween Dog Parade has to be seen to be believed. Dogs and their owners dress to the nines, competing for attention (and the most photos of themselves on Instagram). In the past we’ve seen Donald Trumps, Marty McFlys and Hairy Potters.

Marty McFly goes back to the future

The Great Jack o’ lantern Blaze

Thousands of carved pumpkins light up the night with ghoulish faces and colorful light shows. The Great Jack o’ lantern Blaze is a permanent fixture on the fall calendar. Held annually each October, the grounds of the Van Cortlandt Manor at Croton-on-Hudson are transformed into a walk-through experience made up of over 7,000 carved pumpkins. The audio-visual extravaganza features a sequenced horror soundtrack with synchronized lighting. Walk over the Pumpkin Zee Bridge (a gourd replica of the region’s Tappen Zee Bridge), through tunnels of disco pumpkins and around ancient buildings to hear and see the story of the Headless Horseman and other horror themed stories.

The family friendly attraction is within walking distance of the Croton on Hudson station, accessible via the Metro North Hudson Line. Local farm to table treats are available at the entrance as are beers and other refreshments.

While we’re all too old to trick or treat, there’s more than enough fun activities around New York to get you in the Halloween spirit. Grab a pumpkin and get carving!