69th Street Halloween Fest Cancelled for First Time in Nearly 50 Years

A Halloween decoration on 69th Street. Photo by Christina.

An annual Halloween event on West 69th Street that brings thousands of people to the blocks between Broadway and Central Park West has been cancelled this year because of Covid-19, according to organizers. It’s the first time the block party — one of he most famous in the city — has been cancelled since it was created by actress Gwen Verdon in 1971.

There also won’t be trick-or-treating at houses on the block.

“While it’s with great disappointment that we cancelled this year’s festivities, it was out of an abundance of caution for the health and continued well-being of our loved ones and neighbors that we did it. The size of the event clearly violates the current law on event sizes.  We love our neighbors and don’t want to be a super spreader event.  Above all, we urge everyone to still mask up, and practice social distance daily,” said Eileen Vazquez, President of the West 69th Street Block Association.

If you know of other local Halloween events, tell us in the comments.

NEWS | 10 comments | permalink
    1. In spirit of Halloween…The West 80th St., Block Association will still continue with their Halloween block decorations celebration but without the Trick and Treat. We do ask people not to mingle in front of the buildings displaying this year but just do a safe distance walk-by from each other. Halloween decorations displays have begun showing up on the block.

    2. Marina says:

      I’ve always loved this event and will miss it, but it seems like the right thing to do. Also — I would LOVE to hear more about the origin of the tradition, and how the neighbors of 69th street work together to pull it off. I’ve always been so impressed with their work and coordination! (And I had no idea Gwen Verdon was one of the founders!)

    3. Friends of West 95th Street says:

      Unfortunately, Friends of West 95th Street between CPW and Columbus Ave has canceled their Halloween Party this year due to Covid.

    4. Jane Ann and Jim Lockwood says:

      My husband and I enjoyed taking our young girls to the Halloween block on 69th St. about 25 years ago. Vivid memories of the decked out street and people. Will never forget the joy of our girls!!

    5. Richard Breck says:


    6. Wendi Lee says:

      We will miss this event this year, but it is the prudent thing to do. This is a highlight of my family’s Halloween season and we appreciate the past work of Friends of West 95th (my former residence).

    7. Tom says:

      I see Project Fear is succeeding beyond the wildest dreams of our statist politicians.

      • 37th US President says:

        So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

      • nycityny says:

        There is a difference between fear and prudence.

    8. nemo paradise says:

      What if eveeryone wears a mask?