Much like New Year’s Eve, Halloween is a holiday that requires special planning. Deciding on a costume is the first step (and if you’re still struggling in the disguise department, Austin’s local stores have you covered). But a costume is nothing if you don’t have a place to debut it.
Here’s a list of events, activities and food specials that’ll help you rock your way through Halloween week and beyond!
Some Halloweensters never grow out of the holiday spirit. If you’re looking for a way to celebrate as a family this year, here are a few great events taking place in Austin. Best of all, kids will learn that Halloween doesn’t have to be just about candy!
Boo at the Zoo
For the month of October, Austin Zoo has become a spooky Halloween town. Guests are encouraged to dress up and zip around the park on a haunted train to check out nocturnal animal exhibits. The peacock barn has been transformed into a haunted mansion that guests can tour, and there is even a musical puppet show for guests who need a break from the scares!
Spooktacular at the Bullock Museum
Bullock Museum wants kids to get so excited about spooky science this Halloween that they can’t help but break into dance! Spooky scientists of all ages can learn about bones, create glow-in-the-dark shirts, write songs about pirates to sing while they explore a haunted ship and then dance the night away! This family-friendly event is free and costumes are always encouraged!
PBS Kids at the Alamo: Halloween Special
Dress up in costume and enjoy your favorite Halloween-themed PBS Kids shows on the Alamo Drafthouse silver screen. Lakeline and Slaughter Lane locations only.
Saturdays in October
$1-3 suggested donation
If you’re looking for something to do during the day, check out these events. They pair perfectly with post-sundown parties or on their own as day-long extravaganzas. Get your fill of fall and culture in Austin!
Barton Hills Fall Festival and Corn Maze
Take a day trip southeast to Bastrop to explore the Lonesome Dove Maze at Barton Hills Fall Festival. The fest has multiple corn mazes to get lost in–the largest of which can take up to an hour to complete. Stay for live music, kettle corn, caramel apples and other fall treats!
Weekends through Nov. 13
10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
$13 online, $14 at the gate
Viva La Vida Festival and Parade
Saturday, Oct. 29, the Mexic-Arte Museum will remind Austin of its Mexican heritage with a day-long Dia de los Muertos festival. The event kicks off with an incredible parade featuring giant paper mache moving sculptures dressed as cultural icons. Post-parade there will be food trucks, dancing, vendors and more art to enjoy.
Do you prefer to sit back and watch Halloween unfold before your eyes? Take in a themed film at these Austin locations.
Mobile Loaves and Fishes Presents Community Cinema
Catch an outdoor screening of “Poltergeist” at the open air amphitheater at Community First! Village. If you arrive before the sun sets, take a few minutes to explore this incredible micro-town that has been built up on the edge of Austin. Admission to the film screening is free, but all proceeds from concessions benefit Mobile Loaves and Fishes, an Austin nonprofit that feeds our city’s homeless.
Screenings at Alamo Drafthouse
Check out each Alamo Drafthouse location for different series, including Harry Potter marathons at the Lakeline location, a Master Pancake screening of “Night of the Living Dead” at the Ritz and Andy Warhol’s “Batman Dracula” at South Lamar.
Visit website for showings and locations
Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
Experience Tim Burton’s classic animated film like you never have before–with live music at the Long Center! Austin Symphony Orchestra will accompany Jack Skellington as he embarks on his mixed up Halloween and Christmas adventure.
Frightening Friday Night Flix at Lone Star Court
Catch a screening of “Beetlejuice” while sipping on crafted cocktail concoctions from Lone Star Court at The Domain. There will be treats from The Feed Store and a Halloween costume contest.
Happy hour 6 p.m., screening 8 p.m.
For the Halloween enthusiast who wants their night to be as wild as their costume, here are just a few parties in Austin where you can monster mash all night long.
Head to The Highball on Oct. 29 for the venue’s biggest party of the year. The night will feature expertly curated music videos, sure to bring everyone to the dance floor, costume contests with incredible prizes, a photo booth, specialty drinks and tons of candy!
9 p.m.-2 a.m.
This ghoulish party thrown by ACL Live is coined “The Party to Die for.” The evening will feature bloody burlesque and ariel acrobatics, costume contests to crown the king and queen of the zombies, and live performances by Morris Day & The Time and The Suffers.
Pinballz Hallow-Scream 2016
Austin’s favorite arcade will be hosting its annual costume contests at all three locations. Winners will be chosen based on categories such as Kids, Funniest, Scariest, Sexiest and Most Original.
Pinballz Lake Creek
Kid contest 7 p.m., adults 9 p.m.
Pinballz Kingdom (Buda)
Kid contest 7 p.m., adults 9 p.m.
Original Pinballz Arcade (183 & Burnet)
Adults 9 p.m.
Haunted Houses…and Trains
Want something a little off the beaten path? Check out Austin’s biggest haunted house and a themed train ride.
House of Torment
If you are one for haunted houses, then House of Torment is for you. Recently voted the #1 haunted house in America, this Austin Halloween staple is sure to provide scares as you make your way through its many rooms. This year’s event has three themes from zombies to possessed clowns to evil witches, I think they’ve got your nightmares covered. Plus, the new location is two times bigger than the past. That means twice the scares, right?
Through Nov. 12
Austin Steam Train Halloween Theme Rides
Hop on Austin Steam Train for a Halloween-themed ride along the tracks of Austin and the surrounding area. Halloween weekend features three incredible rides that each come complete with their own specialty drinks, destinations and activities. All aboard for the Halloween Express, Murder Mystery Flyer and the Dia de los Muertos excursion.
If you need a break from the onslaught of generic candy, here are a few fall-themed treats from local Austin eateries you should definitely try.
The Pumpkinator, Hey Cupcake
Pumpkin Spice Cupcake filled and topped with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles!
Pumpkin Latte, Picnik
Even Austinites on the paleo diet need a little pumpkin spice in their lives. Picnik’s spiced coffee concoction features grass-fed butter and maple syrup, as well as an autumnal sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
Fall Ice Cream Flavors, Lick
It’s never too early or late for ice cream in Austin. Lick has unveiled its tasty series of fall flavors. Mexican Plum Jam & Chocolate, Spiced Sweet Potato Pie, Coconut Pecan Rum Cake, Caramel Apple Cake, and Hazel’s Pumpkin Pie will all tickle your tastebuds!
Fall Cocktails, drink.well.
The 2016 fall drink list at drink.well. will leave your mouth watering and your heart in the holiday spirit. These concoctions sprinkle in fall flavors you never knew could go in a cocktail, like the Writer’s Block with reposado tequila, mezcal, ruby port, ginger and mulling spices. Cocktail for one, please!
Great Kabocha Burger, Hopdoddy
From Oct. 24 through Nov. 6, Hopdoddy will feature a veggie burger made with Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin topped with jalapeno slaw, pepper jack and cilantro.
With a list like this and a city like Austin as our backdrop, there’s no way Halloween week can be anything but extraordinary!
@theAustinot wants to know:
How are you going to celebrate Halloween in Austin this year?
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!