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. You can also join an investigation to discover who is lingering at the 150-year-old Charles Johnson House downtown.
If you would like to tour the city in style take a ride in the Haunted ATX Hearse Limousine and check out the landmarks in Austin that have officially been deemed haunted; such as the the Driskill Hotel, the Clay Pit and the Austin State Hospital.
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.
October brings a variety of Halloween-themed events to Austin. Take on the Quest of the Haunted Trails at Pioneer Farms, where the spirits of Halloween forces of evil have descended on the village and it's up to you to save it. This must-see history show is a thrilling Austin tradition for the whole family.
Bring the kids in full costume to Boo at the Zoo (select weekends in October), where they can experience the Austin Zoo in a whole new way: in the dark. Train rides and unlimited Haunted House visits are also included in the fun. Don't miss the Spooktacular 5K and Fall Fest on Oct. 17, 2015, where you can run a race (costumes encouraged!) and then enjoy the festival's carnival games, face painting and a bounce house. Another dress-up opportunity is at the 27th Annual Monster Concert & Carnival that Austin High School's orchestra hosts on Oct. 25, 2015, complete with a costume contest and haunted house.
Kids and adults can move like zombies at Ballet Austin's Thriller dance classes, where they learn the choreography of this classic music video. A four-week series for adults breaks down all the moves in sections so you can follow Michael Jackson step by step. New this year is a child-and-parent mini Thriller workshop offered on Oct. 3 and Oct. 17, 2015, perfect for an afternoon of family fun. Participants in both options are invited to join in a huge Thriller zombie flash mob on Oct. 27 that starts at Ballet Austin and takes the newly learned routine into the streets.
Get your chills and thrills while supporting a good cause: Scare for a Cure's haunt benefits cancer-related charities. This year's theme is Phobia Asylum (weekends in October), so if you're brave enough to confront a fear of the dark, blood or spiders, the tour is a can't-miss. Terror is felt throughout the season at House of Torment, a multi-level facility featuring three frightful experiences in one location. 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. 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 you take be prepared to be scared.
For even more October happenings, check out our events calendar.