Before things gets scary, celebrate the festive side of Halloween at these weekend events.
House of Wax opening party
The human body has been a source of equal parts fascination and disgust for centuries. The Morbid Anatomy Museum’s new exhibit, House of Wax, resurrects an old German panopticum — a cross between a curio cabinet and legitimate museum — with a showcase wax bodies that show the ravaging effects of disease and celebrity “death masks,” among other works. Because you’ll probably want to be a little tipsy for this trip into the uncanny valley, get to Friday’s opening party for talks and complimentary Hendrick’s gin cocktails and wine. Oct. 23, 424 Third Ave., VIP $50, 7 p.m.; GA $40, 8 p.m.
At Old Westbury Gardens, Jack-o-Lanterns are the canvas for a larger-than-life safari, including a 50-foot dragon. Browse the spooky and awesome blazing pumpkin kingdom that stretches nearly six football fields made up of 5,000 pumpkins. It’s a bit of a haul on the Long Island Rail Road, but from Westbury Station it’s a quick cab ride and so worth it for a totally unique Halloween experience. Through Nov. 25, Old Westbury Gardens, 71 Old Westbury Road, $26-$65
Halloween Dog Parade
Every dog has his day, and for the fabulous crowd that’s Saturday at Tompkins Square Park for the world’s largest costumed dog processional. There’s no registration required so just turn up with your pooch, or sit on the sidelines to see outfits that are as fancy and elaborate as anything at the Village Halloween Parade. Oct. 24, noon-3 p.m. $5 suggested donation
From Parlor to Grave
Put on your best mourning attire and be part of the reenactment (a VIP ticket makes you a pallbearer) for the 1865 funeral and procession of Seabury Tredwell at Merchant’s House. Discuss the funerary customs of the 19th century — for one, they were held at home — then follow the coffin to its final resting place in Marble Cemetery, which rarely opens to the public, for a graveside “service.” You can also take a 50-minute Candlelight Ghost Tour of the home, where eight family members died, from Oct. 28-30 ($25-$35 depending on whether you can handle what’s in the servant quarters). Oct. 25, 4-5:30 p.m., 29 E. Fourth St., $40-$55
Giant Pumpkin Garden & Dia de los Muertos
The New York Botanical Garden’s ongoing Frida Kahlo exhibit takes on a Dia De Los Muertos theme for its last two weekends with traditional Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, including live music throughout the garden and a procession of giant skeletons and butterflies. Also this weekend, the garden’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden gets a supplement of heavyweight champion gourds from around the world, which will be carved into spooky tableaus while you watch. Oct. 24-Nov. 1, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, $20
Haunted Lantern Tour
New York City has plenty of historical relics, but Civil-War era Fort Totten still keeping watch over Little Neck Bay is among its oldest and loneliest structures. Today and Saturday, join park rangers on a guided tour by lantern light of its abandoned halls; on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., there is also a fall carnival with games, rides, crafts and a pumpkin patch. Oct. 23 & 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Fort Totten Park, Queens
Give your Jack-o-Lantern a fitting send-off in Central Park, where it will be cast into the waters of the Harlem Meer along with hundreds of others to float away into the next world. Before the pumpkin flotilla sets off, there will be live music, spooky stories and a costume parade. Oct. 25, 3:30-7 p.m., 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox avenues, free
Thrill the World
The East Village is going to look more like a town from “The Walking Dead” this weekend, but these ghouls are only here to moonwalk. Join them for Thrill the World, an 11-country synchronized re-enactment of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. Before the undead come to pop-and-lock life, there will be a Zombie Masquerade Ball with tribute artists and professional makeup sessions for the still living to look the part. Oct. 24, 2-6:45 p.m., The COW, 21-A Clinton St., $10-$40
Haunted Prospect Park
There are too many scary-fun thingsgoing on at Prospect Parkthis Saturday to list here, so here are the highlights: Head to the Nethermead for a Halloween Carnival (noon-3 p.m.) with games and food trucks on Saturday; Boo at the Zoo (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) withtreats for humans and animals alike; the 1912 Carousel gets a haunting makeover for the weekend ($2 per ride), and there’s scary storytelling of local legends from the Village of Flatbush from 2-4 p.m. at Lefferts Historic House.