Halloween events in New York City

Charlie Fudge, a harrier, takes part in the

Charlie Fudge, a harrier, takes part in the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade canine costume contest. (Credit: AP, 2008)

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Don't wait until Oct. 31 to get your tricks and treats. We've harvested five of the most spirited events New York City has to offer in the days leading up to Halloween. Whether you get your kicks with a scary carnival by the sea or prefer to ogle dogs in costume, there are plenty of boos and aahs to go around.

CONEY ISLAND NIGHTS OF HORROR

WHAT Each weekend this month, Luna Park welcomes a cast of nefarious ghouls and zombies who wander among the mortals, and the amusement park is covered with enough blood and gore to make Dracula drool. Feeling brave? Wander through Cudie Farm's haunted maze with vengeful scarecrows and many more chills. (Recommended for ages 14 and up.)

MORE: Things to do in NYC | Weekend trips

WHEN | WHERE Oct. 12-14, Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28, doors open at 6 p.m., 1000 Surf Ave., Brooklyn

INFO $30; 718-373-5862, lunaparknyc.com/nightsofhorror

HAUNTED PUMPKIN GARDEN

WHAT It's gourds gone wild, as The New York Botanical Garden offers a bevy of seasonal delights, including daily parades, more than 500 hand-carved pumpkin sculptures in the children's garden and the interactive Pumpkin Puppet Theater. Weekends feature even more activities -- don't miss the giant-pumpkin-carving event Oct. 20-21.

WHEN | WHERE Daily through Oct. 31, closed Mondays, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx

INFO Adults from $20, kids from $8; 718-817-8700, nybg.org

"NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM" HALLOWEEN SLEEPOVER

WHAT Could there be a more fitting Halloween thrill than spending the night surrounded by towering skeletons? At the American Museum of Natural History's popular sleepover experience, guests ages 6 to 13 will be treated to after-hours explorations, presentations by experts, activities and prizes for the most original costumes. An evening snack, light breakfast and sleeping cots will be provided.

WHEN | WHERE Oct. 27, 6 p.m. to 9 a.m., American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street

INFO $129, registration open through Oct. 27; 212-769-5200, amnh.org

"FROM PARLOR TO GRAVE: 1865 FUNERAL RE-ENACTMENT"

WHAT Have a good mourning at the Merchant's House Museum, where the parlors will be draped in black for the funeral service of the house's original owner, Seabury Tredwell. Afterward, follow the coffin to the rarely open New York City Marble Cemetery for a tour. But do be respectful: Visitors are encouraged to wear 19th century funeral attire.

WHEN | WHERE Oct. 28, 3-5 p.m., 29 E. Fourth St.

INFO $10-$60, reservations required; 212-777-1089, merchantshouse.org

TOMPKINS SQUARE HALLOWEEN DOG PARADE

WHAT Four-legged friends get in on the Halloween action for the 22nd year. There are loads of prizes and treats, but nothing can possibly outshine the multitude of pups in costume. From Elvis to a fire hydrant, you never know who or what these canines will be disguised as.

WHEN | WHERE Oct. 20 at noon, East Ninth Street between Avenues A and B

INFO Suggested $5 donation; firstrunfriends.org

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