Find fun and low-cost family events in Brooklyn this October, including the Harlem Globetrotters first show in the borough, a Harvest Festival in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the WCS Run for the Wild on Coney Island, and spook-tacular Halloween activities.
New York Aquarium, Coney Island
In addition to overseeing NYC’s five zoos, the Wildlife Conservation Society maintains a global conservation effort to protect biodiversity and save the world’s iconic animals. The almighty walrus is one of them, and this endangered creature is the theme of this year’s WCS Run for the Wild. Runners will gather at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island for a 5K race or Family Fun Run on the famous boardwalk to raise money for WCS’s walrus preservation efforts. Several donation tiers exist: While $500 will get you a VIP breakfast with a whole goody bag of walrusy paraphernalia, $30 is the minimum donation for adults (discounts apply for kids and seniors) and will yield you some Run for the Wild ear buds. All participants receive a T-shirt, free all-day admission to the New York Aquarium, two free rides at Luna Park, and post-run refreshments and entertainment. Register online.
Basketball is a serious sport, with emotions often running high—as proven by Spike Lee at any New York Knicks home game. Sometimes a player like Dennis Rodman or Shaq comes along to yield a little comedic brevity at the proceedings. But the lighter side to basketball has traditionally resided in the Harlem Globetrotters. In addition to being master ball handlers, the Globetrotters are true artisans of slapstick comedy. This month, watch them confuse their opposing “stooge” team using everything from G-rated trash talk to the kind of stuff you’d see in a Buster Keaton movie. This special performance marks the first time the 86-year-old institution plays in Brooklyn, thanks to the amazing new Barclays Center.
Brooklyn is an old place with plenty of creepy old buildings, not to mention people. Bone yards abound, as does seriously gothic, 19th-century architecture that deserves a neon “Haunted” sign over the dilapidated overhang. So, when Halloween arrives, you can break into said creepy old buildings (not advised) or scream your head off during these family-friendly events (advised). Then head to nymetroparents.com/halloween for even more spooky fun and tons of giveaways!
Roulette, Boerum Hill
One might say that Roulette, the Brooklyn performance venue and incubator for all that is contemporary in art, music, and mixed media, isn’t much different from an actual roulette wheel considering that what emerges is often unpredictable. Even Roulette’s family programs are avant-garde, with artists pushing sonic frontiers yet tempering their art in a way that is accessible to kids. Shows here often involve humor without skimping on intelligence, because we all know that Brooklyn kids are savvy and sophisticated and won’t be sold a bill of goods—their BS detectors are on all the time. This month, composers/choreographers Tatyana Tenenbaum and Brandin Steffenson will enlighten and entertain all ages with an assortment of interactive pieces incorporating dance, electronic music-making devices, and the kind of absurdist humor that’s appreciated across generations.
The Deedle Deedle Dees give kid-friendly history lessons sung to catchy pop tunes. The band is a Brooklyn favorite for kids who enjoy live music. Their songs simultaneously teach and entertain. Oh yeah, and their leader's name is Ulysses S. Dee.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights
In honor of autumn, our borough hosts a festival that might seem more at home in Vermont. We might not have rolling acres of farmland here in Brooklyn (if we did, they would belong to Bruce Ratner), but urban farmers are in full DIY mode with their rooftop farms, and hey, this all used to be farmland. Including Brooklyn Bridge Park, where the annual Harvest Festival marks the official end of the park’s 2012 public programs. The event celebrates the fall season and the theme of healthy food. There will be a pumpkin patch, art activities courtesy of Private Picassos, health screenings and information sessions, food (of course), and music courtesy of the Pop Ups and Erin Lee’s Up Past Bedtime Band.
Find pick-your-own pumpkin patches and farms in the NYC area (including one nearby, in Queens!)
Search for more family activities in Brooklyn and beyond in our full calendar of events