Central Park Gets in the Halloween Spirit, With the Famed Pumpkin Flotilla and More Free Events

The flotilla. Photo by Miriam Cintron.

By Carol Tannenhauser

The Central Park Conservancy is offering three FREE “family-friendly” ways and days to celebrate Halloween, capped off by their famous Pumpkin Flotilla, which visitors can participate in by bringing their own carved pumpkins to join a procession that sails across the Harlem Meer at twilight, with onlookers lining the shores. For a history of this 30-year tradition, click here.

New this year: Pumpkin owners may retrieve their carved pumpkins at the conclusion of the flotilla at 6:30 pm from the Harlem Meer beach near Fifth Avenue and East 108th Street.

Tickets are not required for any events and costumes are encouraged. Event details are subject to change based on weather conditions. Here is the schedule and additional details provided by the Conservancy:

Tuesday, October 26
4:00 pm–6:00 pm

Check out our Halloween crafts and grab a front-row seat at our magical family-friendly entertainment.

Wednesday, October 27
4:00 pm–6:00 pm

Come dressed in your Halloween costume and join us for a scavenger hunt adventure around the Harlem Meer! Walk away with more than a few ghostly treats.

Thursday, October 28
4:00 pm–6:30 pm

Watch the Harlem Meer get spooky! Drop off your carved pumpkin and find a spot along the edge of the Harlem Meer to watch as the jack-o’-lanterns float by in New York’s largest pumpkin flotilla.


Thursday, October 28

Drop off between 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm

Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Stop by our information table located at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Plaza for directions to the drop-off location.

DO bring a pumpkin that weighs about eight pounds after it’s carved (approximately the size of a soccer ball).
DON’T bring mini or extra-large pumpkins; they will not fit on the flotilla.
DO bring carved, gutted pumpkins with their tops.
DON’T bring pumpkins with artificial decorations, such as paint, glitter, marker, food dye, paper, or plastic. They’ll pollute the Harlem Meer and harm the wildlife.
DON’T bring light bulbs, candles, or floats. (We’ll provide these!)
For more information about the flotilla and other events, click here. For directions and the Conservancy’s COVID policy, click here.
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