Beyond the Halloween parade, apple picking and watching out for fall foliage, every October, all are invited to celebrate Halloween in Central Park and watch the Harlem Meer glow with floating jack-o’-lanterns. This year’s event will be on Thursday, October 26th from 6pm-7pm.
The annual event has been happening for nearly 30 years in Central Park. Before it was the Pumpkin Flotilla is was actually referred to as the “Pumpkin Sail.” Since no pumpkin sales occur at the event, the name was changed to evade confusion.
Though pumpkins used to sail independently on the Pool in Central Park, the pumpkins now float in two long lines of connected pumpkins after relocating the flotilla to the Harlem Meer. This makes pumpkin retrieval much more simple and proves to be a more visual spectacle.
Those interested in having their pumpkin in the flotilla must bring a pumpkin that weighs about eight pounds (after it’s already carved), and are asked to drop off their carved creation between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at their designated drop off area by the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center.
The jack-o’-lanterns that hit the water are chosen on a first come, first served basis and mini or extra-large pumpkins won’t be accepted.
Here are some other best practices:
- 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. (They’ll provide these!)
Pumpkin owners may retrieve their carved pumpkins at the conclusion of the flotilla usually around 7 p.m. from the Harlem Meer beach near Fifth Avenue and East 108th Street.
The pumpkin flotilla is not the only fun Halloween activity this year. On the same day, New Yorkers can get to the Harlem Meer early for a not-so-spooky story time, Halloween crafts, a dance party and more!
It’s all free to attend, so there’s no reason not to stop by! Find additional details here.