There’s no better place than Philadelphia if you’re in search of some of the most eccentric and authentic Halloween celebrations on offer anywhere.
One of the oldest cities in the country doesn’t hold back on frightening encounters — this is considered one of the most haunted regions of North America. But whether you’re looking for the real deal, a theatrical interpretation or just a good laugh, we have your research done for you on just where to find the coolest, ghoulest (forgive us) Halloween adventures this month.
It’s time to get into the Halloween spirit. Check out our top picks for Halloween frights and fun in and around Philadelphia, and let us know which ones are your favorites in the comments.
We’ll also have a special Halloween roundup dedicated to what’s going on on Halloween night, October 31. Stay tuned.
• Ghost Tours of Philadelphia: You can take this tour year-round, but things get extra spooky around Halloween on this premier Philadelphia ghost adventure. You’ll be geared up with some basic ghost hunting gadgets, led by a costumed tour guide and get to investigate the mysterious stories behind all of the hidden cemeteries, haunted mansions and unexplainable mysteries of the city. Brave souls have three options: take the 90-minute candlelight walking tour of Independence Park and Society Hill, take the ghost hunting tour of Society Hill and get an inside look at colonial era haunted mansions, or ride a 90-minute Victorian-era style, open air trolley that loops around the most historically haunted parts of town as you listen in on the eerie stories and legends that make Philadelphia the most haunted city in America.
• Ghost Tours of New Hope: Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey, the creator of these ghost tours, felt so compelled by the paranormal of New Hope that he wrote three books on it. Experience his take on the encounters with the infamous phantom hitchhiker and much more every Friday and Saturday up to the week of October 31 on the lantern-led walk through the eerie town of New Hope. Click here for directions and more information.
• New Hope and Ivyland Railroad’s Haunted Halloween and Trick or Treat Trains: Starting on Friday, October 19 and running for two consecutive weekends, New Hope and Ivyland Railroad welcomes you aboard their Haunted Halloween Trains, Trick or Treat Trains and Grapevine Express Trick or Treat Trains. These are real steam locomotives, haunted by ghosts, where you can hear some animated story-telling while chugging down the tracks out in the countryside. Get fancy and upgrade to “first class” and enjoy a private bar and bartender at a table for two.
• Ghost Tours of Powel and Physick House: Running Friday, October 26 through Halloween night, take a historic (and haunted) tour of the creepy homes of “the father of American surgery” and the restless spirit of a former mayor of Philadelphia. With your electromagnetic field meters (provided by Philadelphia Ghost Tours) you can pick up on all the phantoms and scare yourself right into the Halloween spirit.
• Murder, Mystery, & Mayhem Tour: More than just a collection of ghost stories, this tour lets you in on the “unspoken secrets” of haunted Philadelphia. While taking the guided bus tour of the city, you will learn about actual historic events that will make your skin crawl. Reserve a spot with Philly Tours for any Wednesday through Sunday all through October and the first week of November.
• Halloween Flashlight Tours at Laurel Hill Cemetery: They’ve got something spectacularly spooky booked every week of October, but for the days leading up to their favorite holiday (October 26, 27, and 30) Laurel Hill will take you on a dark adventure through the tombs with just your flashlight and your guts to guide you. Theater veteran Larry Arrigale will help make your tour extra special and unique as you get acquainted with the history and personalities in the yard of restless spirits.
• Edgar Allan Poe: Deep into that Darkness Peering at Laurel Hill Cemetery: Speaking of spooks at Laurel Hill, we have to mention this chilling cemetery adventure featuring some of the most famously haunting works of the once Philadelphia-native author including The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum and more. BYOF (F for flashlight) Tuesday, October 23, and get ready for some haunting, historical, theatrical adventure in the graveyard followed by some drinkable spirits and refreshments.
• Second Annual Frankford Haunted History Tour: The Frankford CDC wants you to embark on a walking tour of the haunted halls of Frankford’s historic buildings on Saturday, October 27. Park at Frankford Friends Meeting House at 4 p.m. and enjoy refreshments before and after the horrifying history lesson — they promise it’s going to be even better than last year.
Dozens more options for celebrating Halloween this month in Philadelphia, below.
• Vampires, Sex, Ghosts and More: A Spooky Twilight Tour of Philly’s Dark Past: Grim Philly Twilight Tours presents a tour of the city that will give you a glimpse of 24 historic sites in just 90 minutes, available for reservation all throughout October and November. See the dark side of the city that you’ve never seen before — former slave auction blocks and sites of public executions are among them. Also worth noting — Grim Philly was voted the city’s best tour on Channel 17’s Philly Hot List.
• Sinners, Scandals and Suicides at Laurel Hill Cemetery: Visit the final resting places and get some eerie education on the little-known, quirky and creepy tales of former Philadelphian gangsters, criminals, crazies and more. Tom Keels, author of Wicked Philadelphia, will lead the way on this walking tour of the tombs Sunday, October 21.
• Haunted Moonlight Tours at Graeme Park: On October 26 and 27, the Friends of Graeme Park will be hosting a moonlight tour of this Revolutionary War estate. Former lovers Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson and Henry Hugh Fergusson supposedly still inhabit the grounds. Henry, a loyalist, left Elizabeth behind in deep despair during the war and allegedly have been trying to find their way back to one another in the afterlife ever since. A theatrical show brings their spirits to life and tells tales of past encounters with the couple.
• Spirits of ‘76 Ghost Tour: Experience the ominous aura of the 20 most haunted places in Philadelphia including Carpenters’ Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Rush House and Old Pine Street Church and Cemetery as you walk the creepy cobblestone streets at night. Plan a Spirit of ’76 Tour any day you dare.
• Mercer by Moonlight Tour: This annual event at the Mercer Castle will haunt again on October 26. Listen in on some history, folk legends and scary stories while you discover the secrets behind the museum’s collection of weird objects including a hearse, gallows, “witch” doctor’s canes, brooms and other spooky stuff.
• Ghosts of the Great Road : Historic Germantown in conjunction with the Museum of the Macabre present Ghosts of the Great Road on October 13, 19 and 26. These interactive, walking ghost tours explore the allegedly haunted cultural sites on the streets of Germantown. You can be a part of the real, live paranormal investigation and get a slice of history from the historically-dressed guide. On October 26, don’t miss the special Halloween version called Colonial Compound, named after one of Philadelphia’s most haunted neighborhoods, beginning promptly at 5:30 p.m. at Upsala Mansion.
• The Borden Tragedy Murder Mystery at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion: On Saturdays, October 20 or 27 at 6 p.m. or Sundays, October 21 or 28 at 2:30 p.m. Philadelphia’s only Victorian mansion tour invites you for dinner. This dinner at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion won’t be you’re typical sit-down afair, thought — they’ll have you in on a Clue-type game of murder mystery-solving based on the deaths of Andrew and Abigail Borden.
• Rosenbach Museum and Library’s Hands-On Tour of The Growth of Stoker’s Dracula: On October 28 and 31, Rosenbach’s invites you to celebrate and take an in-depth look at the rarely-seen manuscripts, research and notes of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. Find out what it takes to make a lastingly scary character and revel in magic of the terrorizing tale.
• Paranormal Investigation on Olympia: The Olympia is the oldest naval warship still afloat and one of the coolest haunted National Historic Landmarks in Philadelphia. In honor of the approaching holiday, on Saturday, October 27, there will be an informational investigation of the ship’s paranormal activity where you can learn about the technical tools of the ghost-hunting trade. A limited number of tickets are available, so get yours now to ensure a spot for this nautical nightmare. If you’re not afraid yet, maybe something about the ominous age restriction might — age 16 and up only, under 18 need a parent. Call (215) 413-8649 to reserve.
• The Walking Dead Escape at The Wells Fargo Center Complex: Based on the hit AMC television show The Walking Dead, Ruckus Sports along with Skybound and Live Nation present The Walking Dead Escape, an apocalyptic-themed obstacle course guaranteed to get your adrenaline going and make you experience an all-too real, theatrical version of a zombie-infested world. This terrifying test of bravery and determination has only ever taken place once before in San Diego, CA, and it’s only happening here on Saturday, October 27, from 6 p.m. until midnight so it might just sell out. Click here for tickets and more information.
• Horrorfest at Shady Brook Farm: Check out America’s most haunted farm, located in Yardley, every weekend starting September 29 and running until October 28. You can choose from four Halloween-themed adventures: the Hayride of Horror, Barn of Horror, 3-D Alien Encounter and the eerie attraction they call ‘Carnage’. Are you brave enough to find out what all that entails? We can give you some hints — the squeamish might start squirming when the ground gets covered with blood and guts and gore and paranoia is likely to ensue after the incredible special effects of the alien experience. Get a spook in the haunted barn or, for the less brave, hop on a haunted hayride or hit up the Pumpkin Fest. Can’t decide which ones to do? Get the RIP package and see all of them. Also, new this year: stay all day and night for their Fall Fest.
• Superstition: A Haunted Thrill-Ride Adventure: Guests who tour the Battleship New Jersey throughout October can ride the spooky Superstition: A Haunted Thrill Ride Adventure simulator ride. This is a virtual roller coaster of freaky sights and screams which you can experience for $5 with the purchase of a ship tour or $6.50 on its own.
• Spirit of Philadelphia Annual Halloween Boo Moonlight Cruise: Philadelphia’s popular party yacht Spirit of Philadelphia will take a moonlight cruise on Saturday, October 27, to give passengers a “spooktacular” late night look at the Philadelphia skyline from the Delaware River. Wear your Halloween get-up to get in on the costume contest, or simply dance the night away with their on-deck DJ and munch on snacks from the cheesesteak station. Guests who are 21 and over may book a slot online today.
• 8th Annual Gravediggers’ Ball: On Friday, October 19, you can monster mash for a good cause within the haunted halls of the Union League of Philadelphia. This fundraiser will help Laurel Hill Cemetery keep you creeping through Philly’s most famous graveyard. Dinner, dancing and entertainment are just some of the things to expect at this unearthly celebration.
• XFINITY Live! Philadelphia presents: Nightmare on Broad Street: They’re boasting that this is going to be the biggest Halloween party in Philly, October 27, so you’ll have to test XFINITY’s theory. Music will be bumping all night thanks to WMMR’s Jacky BamBam and DJ Ghost, you’ll be catching a holiday buzz for cheap thanks to $3 and $5 Halloween drink specials, you can walk away rich with its $20,000 in prize giveaways (including a trip to Ireland with a tour of the Jameson Distillery, a trip to New Orleans with tickets to Monday Night Football Eagles vs. Saints, an electric guitar and more) plus parking is free and the entry fee is only five bucks. Score.
• Flyers Charities 5K Fun Run & Walk at The Wells Fargo Complex: Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette will host the inaugural Flyers Charities Halloween 5K Fun Run and Walk to benefit local charities on Saturday, October 27, beginning at 9 a.m. Dress up in your Flyers and Halloween gear and join the runners in racing for a cause. There will also be costume contests, interactive inflatables, face painters, pumpkin painting and trick-or-treating for participants and spectators.
• “Boo at the Zoo” at the Philadelphia Zoo: Keeping it spooky but going green this year, The Philadelphia Zoo’s annual Halloween celebration will feature a Sustainable Palm Zone in addition to its usual list of events. Put on your costumes, get some treats, check out the animal shows and rock out to some live tunes October 20-21 and October 27-28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Boo at the Zoo will also feature storytelling, games, crafts and more. Don’t forget to check out the Extinction Graveyard — a kid-friendly look at extinct species from around the world.
• The 2nd Annual Trick or Tweet Festival at the Nest: Bring the kids out to one of Philadelphia’s premier indoor playgrounds and children’s enrichment centers for some awesome early day events on Sunday, October 28, happening from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Expect awesome food from Shake Shack, storytelling and live music, a balloon artist, face painting, DJ’s, cookie Decorating, a photo booth, games and prizes. Get your tickets here now.
• Please Touch Museum’s Monster PJ Party: Kids can have a mock version of the hangout tradition at PTM’s Monster PJ Party. Books and games about sleepovers, monsters and friendship will let kids and their families get cozy and have some fun. Happening Tuesdays through Sundays until Halloween night at noon and 2 p.m.
• Pretzel Park Fall Festival & Halloween in Manayunk: Manayunk has a whole day of free events planned on Saturday, October 27, including a flea market, a 5k run, costume parades and contests for the kids and your dogs, live music and dance performances, trick-or-treating, family photos, a screening of the movie Voodoo Man and more. Events are scheduled throughout the day on Main Street Manayunk from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
• Pumpkin Decorating Contest on South Street: In honor of OFC Realty opening their second office, kids and adults are invited to come celebrate at the new Bella Vista location on the corner of 10th & South. They’ll be supplying the pumpkins, decorations, supplies and hot cider. R.S.V.P. by calling 215.735.7368 and e-mail them to reserve a pumpkin.
• Sesame Place’s The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular: From September 29 through October 28, Sesame Place invites kids to come decked out and ready for some not-too-scary Halloween fun filled with two themed mazes, a hayride with the Sesame Street gang, three Halloween shows and all of the characters in costume every day of the event. New this year, you can you can dance along at the Sesame-style disco they’re calling Ernie’s Rubber Duckie Costume Party. Don’t miss the Second Annual Neighborhood Street Party Halloween Parade.
• Grumblethorpe Halloween Party: Historic Germantown is offering tours of the creepy colonial home of the Wister Family where you can listen in on some scary stories, enjoy some fun for kids and more. The creeps begin on Saturday, October 13, and go from 5-7:30 p.m. For more information call 215.880.8620.
• Spooky Mini Golf at Franklin Square: The game gets a bit freakier when tricks and treats hide behind every corner of the green. Fridays through Sundays until October 30, Philly Mini Golf will be a Halloween playground decorated with cobwebs, spooky lights, frightening fog and more. Pumpkin picking and decorating (October 13), Pumpkin Fest (October 20), the Trick-Or-Treat Trail (October 27) and train rides on the Lightning Bolt Express (October 6 and 27) make for a Halloween spectacular October at Franklin Square.
• Hershey Park in the Dark: October 19-21, 26-28 and November 2-4, Roller coasters become roller-ghosters during the annual undertaking of one of Pennsylvania’s most famous theme parks. The park will feature spooktacular attractions, glowing pumpkins and live entertainment. Less frightening fun for younger visitors includes trick-or-treating in Hershey Park’s Treatville. Creatures Of The Night at ZooAmerica is happening throughout the month, as well, and also included with regular admission. Get your tickets and look for details on this year’s Ride and Dine Deal here.
• Third Annual Halloween Hoedown at Penn Treaty Park: From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, autumn enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy games, surprises, face-painting and more at Philadelphia’s largest free pumpkin patch. Wear a clever costume and you can compete for awards for the best Halloween get-ups.
• Zombie Ball at Chaddsford Winery: Reserve now for one of two weekends of zombie glamor and mayhem at Chaddsford Winery. On October 19 and 26, they will be getting into the frightening spirit of the season with live DJ’s, wine and food — all of which are included with the $30 entry fee. You’re also encouraged to come dressed in your zombie best.
• The Great Pumpkin Carve at the Chaddsford Historical Society: From October 25-27, colossal 150-400-pound pumpkins will get their Halloween face on with help from local artists at the annual Great Pumpkin Carve. Live music will spice things up along with festive foods, Halloween-themed hayrides and spooky-fun displays.
• Society Hill Dance Academy’s Yearly Halloween Dance Party: On Friday, October 26, costume contests, games and food will help get you in the Halloween spirit. If you really want to get groovin’, don’t pass on the Thriller dance lesson they’re offering. Learn more here.
• The Haunting of Philly Halloween Costume Party at Lucky Strike: How about tossing some bowling into the mix to make for a uniquely festive night? On Saturday, October 27, there will be DJ’s, booze, food and more at Center City Philadelphia’s favorite bowling alley/night club.
• Henri David Ball at the Sheraton Philadelphia Center City Hotel: On October 31, the annual Henri David Halloween Ball will be back at it again. With more than 40 years of experience throwing this smashing event, these guys don’t mess around when it comes to providing the most fabulous Halloween ball in Philadelphia. Expect hundreds of over-the-top, glamorous and eccentric costumed party-goes storming the Sheraton Downtown.
• BalletX Presents The Extreme Masquerade — Halloween Party and Costume Contest: This is a Halloween costume party on high — edgy and crazy and located on the Top of the Tower’s 51st floor terrace. Don’t miss the opportunity to get in the photo booth with BalletX dancers, enter to win the “Most BalletX-rated” award, listen to some jams by DJ Captain Ridiculous and get a look at the stunning views of the moonlit Ben Franklin Bridge. Friday, October 26, is the date to mark on your calendar.
• Spooky Saturday and Fall Fest on East Passyunk Avenue: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, Passyunk Ave. will have its annual fall fest filled with fun activities for kids and adults. Nice Things Hand Made, a local shop, will host a craft fair featuring work from local artists. Be sure to get your little ones in on the annual costume contest where they can compete for the scariest, funniest or most original categories of their age group. At 11 a.m., ages four and under will strut their stuff, ages five to nine will have their shot at 11:30 a.m., at noon ages nine to 12 and then at 12:30 p.m. come the dogs. Yes, a costume contest for the doggies. Pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treating and all the other Halloween favorites will be going on, as well.
• Family Day at Laurel Hill Cemetery: Families can enjoy a slightly less spooky adventure in Laurel Hill Cemetery for Family Day, happening on Sunday, October 14, from 1-3 p.m. The $5 admission fee includes pumpkin painting, scavenger hunting, apple bobbing, hot apple cider, hot dogs, cookies, pretzels and more.
• Boo Boulevard at the Please Touch Museum: The Enchanted Colonial Village gets spookified for its annual tradition beginning October 26 and running up to Halloween night. In addition to PTM’s permanent collection of contemporary and historic toys, there will also be animatronic characters from the former Lit Brothers department store and tons of festive decorations and sounds to get you and the kids into the spooky spirit. Play with some creepy-crawly critter puppets, take advantage of the first ever Hands-On Halloween House or get your hands on some of the other super cool things PTM has to offer. Costumes are encouraged.
• Witches of Narberth and Narberth Halloween Parade: On Saturday, October 27 at 1 p.m., on the corner of Forrest and Haverford Avenues, the annual scavenger hunt will kick off the Halloween weekend of events in Narberth. Kids will be searching the downtown Narberth for 13 of the wicked witches as they gather treats along the way. At the end of the hunt, each kid will receive a cool Halloween prize. Children and their families will meet at St. Margaret’s School parking lot on N. Narberth Ave between 6 and 6:15 p.m. From there, the costume parade will begin to wind through Narberth’s downtown making its way to the basketball courts in Narberth Park. Goody bags, treats and cider await for those who finish the parade.
• Devilish Dinner Party and Dancing with the Devil Party at Devil’s Alley: One of Philadelphia’s favorite Center City watering holes will host two awesomely delicious events on Saturday, October 27. First try out Chef Brian Fidiam’s special a la carte menu offering festive dinner features like Jack o’Lantern Risotto and desserts like candy-corn bread pudding. Dress up as the devil or even just wear a bit of devilish attire and get 20% of your bill. Stick around for the cover-free Dancing with the Devil party from 9:00 p.m. till 2:oo a.m. for dancing, a costume contest, free prizes, adult apple bobbing, drink specials, free snacks, Skyy models, Dj’s and more.
• SoWe Bar and Kitchen Halloween Party: Graduate Hospital’s new SoWe Bar and Kitchen will be holding a Halloween party of its own packed with Dj’s, prizes, giveaways, complimentary shots from the bar and much more. Check out the new spot critics are raving about on Saturday, October 27, at 10 p.m.
• South Street Headhouse District Pumpkinland: On Monday, October 29, the day will begin with an array of activities under the Historic Headhouse Square Shambles, including Sleep Hollow Farm’s pony rides and petting zoo, Make-N-Take Art & Pumpkin Decorating with the Queen Village Art Center, Wilby Band kids rock band performance, music and giveaways courtesy of B101, face painting, a roaming magic act, balloon art and more. There will be a costume parade and contest around The Shambles at noon, including a festive doggie costume category. Learn more here.
• Monster Mash Memorial Halloween Celebration at the Please Touch Museum: On October 26 from 6-9 p.m., PTM member families should bring the kids out for a dance party with trick-or-treating, some refreshments, dress-up and all kinds of Halloween fun in the museum. This event is for members only and reservations are required.
• Eighth Annual Kennett Square Halloween Parade: The annual spooky stroll will take place this year on Sunday, October 28, at 3 p.m. Beginning at the Sovereign Bank parking lot at the corner of Lafayette and West State Street at 2:00 p.m., paraders will march east up State Street until the end up on South Broad Street at the American Legion Building. Judges will select winners and hand out trophies for the Funniest, Scariest, Best Kid, Best Adult, Best Pet, Best Act (Performance), Best Group and Best Float. Apply by October 22 in order to participate.
• Vox Populi’s Second Annual Halloween Party: Vox Populi, a nonprofit artist collective and gallery space, will be hosting an artsy Halloween party on Saturday, October 27, from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. For just $10, guests can enjoy “unlimited” beer, turntable tunes from Bubbles Inc, Potion Junkie and Waffles Hidalgo, a costume contest put together by Executive Director and Mc Andrew Suggs and snipits of the new sci-fi production by No Face Performance Group called Spaceplay.
• The 20th Anniversary All Hallows’ Eve Costume Ball: On Saturday, October 20, from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., How AproPOE, an Edgar Allen Poe-inspired masquerade presented by The Young Friends of the Brandywine Conservancy with Wilmington Trust, will host an evening dedicated to the dark poet which draws on the exhibition Picture Poe: Illustrations from Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories and Poems. Manhattan’s DJ Booga Sugar will provide the sounds while you get boozed up at the open bar and sign up for the costume contest.
• Plays and Players’ Second Annual Halloween Shebang: On Saturday, October 27, The Plays and Players host a full-day free outdoor street festival at Delancey Place. Fun and games, crafts and snacks will make the day’s attractions like the haunted house and the resident artist-led children’s’ workshop even better. Live music boosts the festival cred, too, with performances by Hear Again Radio Project, and “Superheroes Who Are Super!” There will also be a costume parade and tours of the gorgeous historic theater.
• A Halloween Extranglegangza at World Cafe Live: On Halloween night at 8 p.m., Philly favorite Welcome To My Face will be performing “Appetite for Destruction” in its entirety, along with two other Philadelphia bands Franzschubert and the Schuubs, and special guests 722. Enjoy special firkins from Yards, Weyerbacher, Flying Fish, Troegs and Fegley’s. There will be costume prizes and packages from all participating breweries.
• A Month of Horror at Dock Street Brewery: Every Tuesday night is movie night at Dock Street, but for the month of October they will be screening some silly and some scary horror movies to get you in the spirit of the Halloween. Week one you can watch Elvis and JFK (alive in modern time) fight an Egyptian Mummy in Bubba Ho-Tep, week two catch Georges Franju’s 1960 frightening French horror flick Eyes Without a Face, week three see a guy carry around his deformed Siamese brother in a giant basket in Basket Case and every week enjoy the movie-goer specials: $1 off happy hour Beers, $1 off small Americana pizzas, $2 off large Americana pizza.
• Mercer’s Night Tales at Fonthill Museum: On Friday, October 19, Henry Mercer’s published collection of Gothic stories will be the backdrop for this special program. The aim is to uncover Mercer’s love of detective and gothic literature, including the works of Edgar Allan Poe. A dramatic performance of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart by actor Grover Silcox will close the evening.
• Sugar Town Halloween at Kung Fu Necktie: Kung Fu Necktie, a Fishtown favorite, is one bar you can always count on for delivering something a little bit strange — meaning awesomely outside the box. KFN and Sugar Town & Other Shows will deliver that for this years Halloween party featuring zombie-pop rockers Rainbow Destroyer, garage rock veterans KEN and Philly/NYC noise rockers PS XO. Wear a costume and get a discount on the cover.
• Seventy Scenes of Halloween at The Adrienne Theater: From October 12 to November 3, Luna Theater Company presents Seventy Scenes of Halloween by Jeffrey M. Jones. Incorporating holiday flare into a comedic horror show that pokes fun at contemporary marriage, this performance is sure to be a treat.
• Halloween-themed Cabaret at William Way LGBT Community Center: On Friday, October 26, you’re invited to come out to William Way’s fall cabaret featuring Tony nominee Mx. Justin Vivian Bond and local act The Bearded Ladies Cabaret. The show begins at 7:30 p.m., but arrive an hour early and rummage through Philly AID’s Thrift’s supply of fabulous attire for the Queer Fear Costume Closet adult dress up event. Get your tickets here now.
Horrifying Haunted Houses
• Terror Behind the Walls: Philadelphia’s premier haunted adventure has begun and will continue until November 10. Eastern State Penitentiary is already scary and haunted without the theatrics, but this haunted prison will scare the living daylights out of you. As you stand in line inside the 30ft tall stone walls being forced to watch the chilling Ghost Hunters television show episode, you’re already scared. Once you walk into the creepy prison cells, you’re really scared. By the time you make it past the psychotic ghosts of dead inmates, you’re ready to run for the exit. One of the country’s biggest, most elaborate and top-rated haunted attractions takes you (and the other 100,000 visitors from around the world who attend each year) on a spooky adventure through six haunted attractions, each more frightening than the last.
• Fright Factory: Fridays through Sundays throughout October, Fright Factory will be scaring the pants off of people in what the Travel Chanel featured as one of ‘America’s Scariest Haunted Attractions’. There are four parts to this fright fest — iChem’s evil subterranean laboratories, guided tours of the Philadelphia Haunted Asylum where former hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Robert T. Brash experimented on and tortured patients, then a walk with the dead that leads to the creepy stone mausoleum hiding out in the shadows. Are you creeped out yet? You will be.
• Sleepy Hollow at Active Acres Haunted Farm: All through October, Active Acres will have its gates open for a whole season of frightful weekend attractions. AAA named the Haunted House in the Hollow as one of the nation’s premier haunted attractions, so get your tickets now and be sure to check out the “Special Deal” link. Prepare yourself for ti-toeing through the seventeen cobweb-covered rooms and ducking through the secret passages of this haunted mansion. Take a ghostly walk through the Field of Fright back-yard cemetery and ride the haunted hay ride, if you’re a brave soul.
• Valley of Fear at Phoenix Sports Club: Every weekend of the month of October Phoenix Sports Club will take you on haunted hayrides through the darkest, spookiest woods in Bucks County.
• Scream Mountain: Running Thursday through Sunday (except for October 11), Scream Mountain will start haunting with hayrides, thrilling with chairlift rides that go up and down the mountain and scaring visitors in the creepy corn maze.
• Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride: Open daily beginning October 12, The Bates Motel is one of the freakiest Halloween haunted spots in the region. The horror house was officially named as one of America’s scariest haunts by Hauntworld Magazine, USA Today and the Travel Channel. If your venture through the inside doesn’t give you your proper frightful fix, try a ride on the hellish haunted hayride or take a walk through the zombie-plagued corn maze.
• Pennhurst Asylum: The reportedly haunted Pennhurst Asylum offers terrifying tours including “The Pennhurst Haunted Attraction,” a hospital themed attraction; the “Dungeon of Lost Souls,” a new labyrinth of old cells and halls; “The Tunnel Terror,” a tour underneath the grounds; and “Ghost Hunt,” a self-guided, flashlight tour through what is believed to be the most active building at Pennhurst.
Tricks and Treats
• 2012 Rittenhouse Row Halloween Celebration and Trick-or-Treat: Rittenhouse Row’s family-friendly Halloween celebration will be held at The Radisson Plaza Warwick Hotel Philadelphia on Saturday, October 27. It starts at 10 a.m. with a mini brunch buffet and a costume contest, followed by neighborhood trick-or-treating until 5 p.m. They ask that you bring a book to donate to The Gift of Life House and suggest picking up a trick-or-treating map at one of the Rittenhouse Row member locations. Get your tickets in advance here.
• Fall Flavors at the Franklin Fountain and Shane Confectionery: Get a taste of the fall Boo-ha-ha at Franklin Fountain and Shane Confectionery, two of Philadelphia’s most coveted sweet spots. The flavors have collided this season to create festive treats like apple cider sorbet, The Great Pumpkin Sundae, pumpkin ice cream, ginger ice cream, pumpkin buttercreams, pumpkin ice cream sandwiches and even a Chocolate Appolonia Bisque Ice Cream made in conjunction with Federal Donuts. That’s right, it’s ice cream, with donuts. Tip: stop by Shane Confectionery in dressed up in scary period attire on Halloween and receive a free treat.
• Fright Night at Cantina Dos Segundos: Dos Segundos, the NoLibs outfit of Cantina, will have a spooky dance party featuring DJ’s, food specials and special cocktails of their own — on Halloween night, no less. DJ Del and DJ Dirty will start the dance party after dark, but enjoy cocktails like the Bloody Scary and The Chupacabra with featured snacks like sweetbread anticuchos and beef tongue tacos all day and night, from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. on Wednesday, October 31.
• Mischief Night at Cantina Los Caballitos: On Tuesday, October 30, Cantina Los Caballitos will be throwing their Halloween Fiesta all day and all night from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Try a spooky concoction like the Sinister Cider, indulge in some of the featured chipotle, orange and pumpkin seed guacamole, and after midnight get your dance on with “El Fantasma,” DJ TOO DOPE of Hands and Knees, and “El Diablo,” DJ ROMES of Tigerbeats and Fast Times. Photobot 3000 will also be there, so be sure to come dressed in your Halloween best.
• Halloween at Night Kitchen Baker: Yes, the baked goods at Night Kitchen totally constitute for an event. Mocha chocolate cupcakes dipped in white fondant with tiny bat decorations, pumpkin pound cake decorated with little fondant pumpkins and ghost-shaped shortbread cookies will make your belly growl and scream for more. This Germantown Ave. gem is worth a taste.
• A Spooktackular Champagne Sunday Brunch at The Radnor Hotel: On Sunday, October 28, from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. join The Radnor for its award-winning brunch packed with mouth-watering menu items like smoked seafood, a carving station of roasted beef, turkey breast and ham, cheese blintzes with blood orange sauce, fresh homemade Warlock’s Waffles, a death by chocolate fountain and so much more. Top that off with some champagne or a mimosa. It’ll cost $27.95 for adults and $13.95 for children ages 5–12. Kids are encouraged to come in costume and get in on the contest and prizes. Call (610) 341-3188 to reserve.
• Halloweekend Pub Crawl Philadelphia: For three days, Red Zone on South Second street will be the starting place for a city-wide pub crawl that will take you to the coolest, most festive Philadelphia bars. Friday, October 26, Saturday, October 27 and Halloween night will be celebrated with this Halloween-themed pub crawl that will cost you just up to $5 to get in on. (Beer not included).
• Mall-O-Ween at King of Prussia Mall: The King of Prussia Mall invites your and your children out for some safe and fun indoor trick-or-treating throughout its gigantic shopping mecca. Kids should dress up and have their parents bring them to meet up at the lower level of the JCPenny Court on Halloween at 10 a.m. and follow the map of jack-o-lanterned business that are participating in the two hours of candy gathering.
• Witch Craft Beer Crawl on East Passyunk: On Wednesday, October 24, more than 10 East Passyunk bars and restaurants will be offering $3 craft beers. A $6.66 admission fee includes beer deals and a chance to win a $300+ GC package. Register for the Beer Crawl at The Bottle Shop from 5:30-7 p.m.
• Trick-or-Treat Saturdays & Spiced Apple Sundays at Chaddsford Winery: Every Sunday of this month leading up to Halloween (October 7, 14, 21 and 28) visitors can hear some live music and stop by Peddler’s Village from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. for wine punch sampling and cocktails with the flavors of spiced apple wine. On Saturdays (October 13,20, and 27) trick-or-treaters can, for $20, head out to Chaddsford and get a bag of candy goodies that pair with the wine tasting bar, a Halloween wine glass and a taste of a spooky wine they’ve been conjuring up.
• Final-ly Friday “Haunts & Hops”: Mt. Airy’s monthly final Friday of the month festivities will be Halloween-themed for their October 26 celebration of local art, talent, vendors and food. Historically reenacted ghost stories, horror movies, trick-or-treating, photos and several other special activities will be unique to this night. The trick-or-treating begins at 5:30 p.m. and takes a tour of local businesses where you can get your photo snapped. Learn more about Final-ly Friday and what to expect on October 26 by clicking here.
Eerie Educational Events
• Halloween Edition: Table Top Science with Dr. Fred: Earth, Bread and Brewery, Mt. Airy’s favorite brewery and cafe, will host an evening of educational, Halloween-themed science experiment demonstrations on Tuesday, October 30. The demo will be appropriate for all ages, so come out and find out how to mix up some spooky concoctions.
• Science on Tap at National Mechanics Presents “The Science of Vampires”: On October 8, Kathy Haas, Assistant Curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, will give a brief presentation followed by discussion on Bram Stoker’s legendary film Dracula. With the original manuscript and notes in hand, Haas will reveal some of the secrets behind Stoker and the film. Anna Dhody, curator of the Mütter Museum, will discuss some potentially vampire story-inspiring medical conditions that existed during the time the concept of vampirism first came about. More information here.
• SKELETONS! A Spooky Creature Feature at Wagner Free Institute of Science: On Saturday, October 20, from noon-4 p.m.Wagner Institute will enlighten you on why exactly skeletons are so prominent in Halloween culture and how neat they are in the natural world as well as the supernatural world. Elmwood Park Zoo animals will be there to educate you on the importance of theirs. This is a costume party and will also feature scavenger hunts, skeleton-themed Halloween crafts, gallery tours and hands-on activities for children. The really cool part is, this event is free (donations suggested).
• The Dark Arts in the Dark Ages at the Wagner Free Institute of Science: At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, Dr. Elly R. Truitt, Historian and Assistant Professor of Medieval History at Bryn Mawr College, will host a free special Halloween discussion on occult sciences and natural philosophy in the context of the Middle Ages. Dr. Truitt will facilitate a spooky, yet informative conversation touching on the history of soothsayers, sorcerers, necromancers, wizards and more and will call into question whether these dark artists were actually satanic or if they actually possessed a higher understanding of the natural world. Find out the secrets of The Dark Arts in the Dark Ages for yourself.