If you're looking for a good ghost story, not only does Austin have some ghoulish ones to tell, the city is also full of festive ways to celebrate Halloween. From scary movies, haunted houses and socially distant parties at your favorite local bars to kid-friendly events like corn mazes and Boo at the Zoo, here are some favorite festive events, activities, and things to do for Halloween in Austin this October.
Halloween Parties and Events
Calling all ghosts and ghouls — join Hotel San Jose and Jo’s for the Second Annual South Congress Candy & Cocktail Crawl on Halloween night. Hotel San José will be serving up a deadly blood orange Morgue-a-rita, and Jo's will take the sweet side with their Ruby Dead Grapefruit Punch and a Monster Mashup for the kids.
Join Halloween by Design for two nights of socially-distanced drive-in movie fun at Doc’s Drive-In Theatre featuring chef-created gourmet movie eats and boo-zy drinks delivered safely to each car, plus live music from Lurleen Ladd, Halloween treats and fundraising opportunities. Guests can choose to attend a screening of “Little Shop of Horrors” on October 23 or “The Addams Family” on October 24.
Join actor, producer, writer and director Bruce Campbell at the Paramount Theater for a special Halloween screening of the 1981 Sam Raimi cult-classic “The Evil Dead.” Campbell will follow up the viewing with a lively conversation about the film, his career, his future endeavors, and a Q&A session with the audience. Tickets are limited so purchase yours in advance.
Are you bone to be wild? Join Geraldine’s on October 29 at their Blues Never Dies concert featuring music from Jo James and Zach Person from 8–10 p.m. Treat yourself to a boo-tiful cocktail like the Corpse Reviver #2 or the fall-tastic Southern Sipper.
One night of Halloween just isn’t enough and Gibson Street Bar is making sure you get your fix all month long at Nightmare on Gibson St. Come get BOOzed up with cocktails like Le Freak and food from the Luke’s Inside Out trailer on the patio.
Back again for a day of virtual fun, celebrate Oktoberfest, Dia de los Muertos and Halloween the Elisabet Ney Museum way at POLKAPOCALYPSE. Enjoy three incredible Polka bands in a fun mix of ethno-various sounds all online!
Stay home and sip on Still Austin Whiskey's limited-edition "Monster Mash" cask strength single barrel whiskey this Halloween. Purchase a bottle at the distillery on October 31 at noon, then participate in their online contest by sharing a photo of your best Halloween costume (past or present) for the chance to win a trip for two! More details to come.
Texas Capitol. Courtesy of Austin Ghosts.
Tour the city in style and take a ride in the Haunted ATX Hearse Limousine to check out the landmarks in Austin that have officially been deemed haunted; such as the Clay Pit and the Littlefield House at the University of Texas. Enjoy a private tour or a limited capacity group tour.
For a supernatural experience year-round, Austin Ghost Tours offers small group, guided walking tours to some of the city's most haunted places, turning an evening stroll into a walking ghost story. Join the investigation to discover who is lingering among the streets and alleyways of historic, downtown Austin.
Even more spooky options about with Austin Ghosts, offering nightly walking ghost tours through the Capital. Or, if you’d rather get your frights from home, try their new Ghostflix, a live streaming ghost tour through Austin and other haunted sites around the country.
Horrifying hipsters, exiled ex-wives, and slapstick sidekicks are just a few of the spooky characters you'll find at Ventana Ballet's immersive "UNDEAD," a re-imagining of the classic ballet "Dracula." This year, the immersive dance performance is transformed into a drive-in show on October 30 and 31. So come experience a night of classic Halloween creatures, suspense, comedy and, of course, ballet.
Courtesy of Barton Hill Farms.
Fall Family Fun
October brings a variety of Halloween-themed events to Austin. All things scary will be featured at the Pioneer Farms family-friendly Un-boo-lievable Pumpkinfest. The event will include a lighted walking tour of decorated historic sites, an array of spooky ghost tours, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, outdoor movies, Texas Yodeler Candler Wilkinson, a Pioneer Pumpkin Patch, a Dia de Los Muertos exhibit, bonfires, live music and delicious food. Buy your tickets in advance to reserve your spot!
On Sunday, November 1, Pluckers' weekly Sunday Family Trivia Game Night will return on Facebook Live for three rounds of Halloween-themed trivia and fun physical challenges, both kid-friendly. Pair with a Pluckers' family meal pack and you're sure to have a safe and fun night with the kiddos!
Be sure to stop by your nearest Wheatsville Food Co-op on Halloween to pick up fun, seasonal treats for the family. Sweet treats include Pumpkin Spice and French Toast Vegan Donuts, seasonal pies, mummy cakes and monster donuts.
Bring the kids in full costume to Boo at the Zoo (select nights in October), where they can experience the Austin Zoo in a whole new way: in the dark. A stroll through the “haunted zoo” will certainly scare, so ghosts and goblins of all ages enter if you dare. Limited tickets are available, so reserve your spot in advance today!
Back by popular demand, The Austin Symphony will be performing their annual Halloween Children's Concert virtually on October 31. This year's theme will be "Fantasy and Fable: A Fantastic Fabulous Mix of Sorcery, Enchantment, and Magic" and will feature the music of “Harry Potter” and “Peter and the Wolf”!
If you're looking for a low-key autumn experience with plenty of space to social distance, head to Sweet Berry Farm between September 19 and November 8 for the annual pumpkin patch. Kids and adults alike will love the hayrides, Texas Hayfield Maze, pumpkin painting, scarecrow stuffing, face painting, crafts and more!
Courtesy of House of Torment.
Get Your Screams
Scare enthusiasts looking for real fright should visit Scream Hollow just south of Bastrop. This October, experience 20 acres of outdoor frights and stroll through the Mansion of Terror Coven, take on the zombies in Lost Pines Asylum or creep your way through the Wicked Darkness Maze. No matter the route, be prepared to be genuinely scared. Groups are limited so plan your trip in advance.
Experience music’s best address like never before: go backstage at Austin’s most iconic venue – Halloween style. ACL Live at the Moody Theater is hosting a special guided tour, featuring live musical performances from beyond the grave (Johnny Cash, Stevie Ray Vaughan & more), legendary rock photography galleries, behind-the-scenes stories about Austin City Limits and its performers, unimaginable horrors & some spooky surprises. Prepare to be scared at Nightmare on Willie Nelson Boolevard.
Viva la Vida. Credit Chris Caselli.
Día de los Muertos
From October 31-November 2, 2020, celebrate Dias de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday that remembers loved ones who have passed. Several different cultural events throughout the month will feature a lineup of music performances, art exhibits and more.
Hosted by the Mexic-Arte Museum, the Catrina Gala en Familia is a virtual family affair benefitting the museum’s educational and cultural programming. The museum will also host it’s 37th annual Day of the Dead Exhibition, paying tribute to the tradition that celebrates the return of the dead by their families and friends. On display through November 22, 2020.
Honor the tradition of Dia de los Muertos with the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, November 1-2. The virtual celebration will feature an altar making activity, a Catrina/Calavera contest and makeup tutorials, sugar skull decorating, visual arts programming and more.