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. Many of Austin's paranormal experiences are not limited to All Hallows' Eve, but can be enjoyed any time of year. Here are some seasonal favorites, year-round activities and some of Austin's most haunted areas to visit, no matter what time of year:
For a supernatural experience year-round, Austin Ghost Tours offers guided on-foot 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.
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 the Driskill Hotel, the Clay Pit and the Littlefield House at the University of Texas. Ask about the Ghostly Love Stories package.
Visit the Historic Oakwood Cemetery on October 29 for a free Murder, Mayhem & Misadventure Walking Tour. Families and history buffs will love learning the unfortunate stories behind some of the cemetery's most infamous residents.
A well-known historic hotel is also one of the most haunted places in Austin. Spend an evening at the Driskill Hotel, and take a peek at the portrait on the third floor of the little girl holding flowers, if you dare. You might also have an eerie encounter across the street at Buffalo Billiards. The pool hall's purported ghost - nicknamed Fred - has been blamed for many weird incidents over the years.
Fall Family Fun
October brings a variety of Halloween-themed events to Austin. Take on the Haunted Trails at Pioneer Farms, where the Halloween forces of evil have descended on the village in three trails (with three different scare levels). This thrilling Austin tradition takes place Friday and Saturday evenings the last three weekends of October. Bring the kids in full costume to Boo at the Zoo (Friday and Saturday nights in October), where they can experience the Austin Zoo in a whole new way: in the dark. Train rides, musical entertainment and unlimited Haunted House visits are also included in the fun.
Don't miss the Spooktacular 5K and Fall Fest on October 12, where you can run a race (costumes encouraged!) and then enjoy the festival's carnival games, face painting and a bounce house. If you're looking for a low-key autumn experience, head to Sweet Berry Farm between September 24 and November 6 for the annual pumpkin patch. Kids and adults alike will love the hayrides, Texas Hayfield Maze, petting zoo, face painting, crafts, pumpkin ice cream and more!
Back by popular demand, The Austin Symphony will be performing their annual Halloween Children's Concert at the Long Center's Dell Hall on October 23. And fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas won't want to miss the Symphony's live scoring of the Halloween classic on October 28. Costumes encouraged!
Get Your Screams
Like a trip through a modern horror movie, terror is felt throughout the season at House of Torment. In September 2016, the newly located horror destination is doubling in size and features a year-round Escape Room and ghoulish new attractions. Prepare to scream as you journey through elaborate sets and come face-to-face with monsters, zombies and ghoulish characters.
Scare enthusiasts looking for real fright should visit Scream Hallow just south of Bastrop. Beginning Fridays and Saturdays mid-September, experience 20 acres of terror and stroll through the Mansion of Terror Phantoms, take on the zombies in Lost Pines Zombie City or Vicious T. Mangles and the Slaughter Circus. No matter the route, be prepared to be genuinely scared.
Dress to impress for the 8th Annual Zombie Ball at ACL Live at the Moody Theater on Saturday, October 29. Moan and groan along to the funky sounds of Morris Day & The Time and Austin locals The Suffers as well as burlesque, aerial acrobatics, a boo-tiful costume contest and more Hallo-weekend fun.
Photo courtesy of the Driskill Hotel.