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Happy Halloween! 12 Frightening and Family-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Around Town

The frightful and not-so-scary events happening this spooky season

Austin Halloween Round Up

The trick-or-treating, jack-o’-lantern-carving holiday we all know as Halloween has been around for centuries. The day originated more than 2,000 years ago from the ancient Celtic Festival of Samhain, a time dedicated to lighting bonfires and wearing elaborate attire to keep unwanted spirits away.

All Hallows Eve is a much-loved holiday here in Austin. Whether you’re looking for hair-raising live performances, a classic haunted house, a pumpkin patch for a fall family outing or a chance to wear your latest costume, here is a list of some not-so-scary to downright frightful events going on this spooky season.

Ghost Quartet

When: Until Oct. 27
Where: Blue Genie Art Bazaar
This haunted musical about love, death and ghost encounters unfolds over a glass of whisky. Come prepared for a thrilling evening as four friends share their stories and leave you wondering if ghosts are real after all.

Steven Dietz’s “Dracula” at ZACH Theatre

When: Until Nov. 3
Where: The Topfer at ZACH Theatre
Playwright Steven Dietz’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” comes with a surprising twist on the classic tale: a lead heroine. Mina, Dracula’s targeted bride, is on a quest to solve the mystery and fight against the ruler of the night. “Dracula” will star Michael Sharon as Dracula and Sarah Kimberly Becker as Mina.

House of Torment

When: Until Nov. 9
Where: House of Torment Haunted Attraction, 2632 Ridgepoint Drive
Austin’s premier haunted house features three terrifying experiences as creatures roam the eerie exterior, waiting to frighten guests. Courageous attendees can even take pictures with the actors or at decorated photo stations.

Ella’s Haunted Mansion

When: Oct. 27, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Hotel Ella, 1900 Rio Grande St.
Start your Halloween festivities right with brunch and spooky tours of the historic mansion. Parents can sip on specialty cocktails while ghouls of all ages are invited to participate in pumpkin decorating, face painting, lawn games and more.

Boo at the Zoo

When: Until Oct. 26
Where: Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail
Dress to impress in your best costume and enjoy the zoo’s attractions and animals at night. The family-friendly event will have an interactive musical puppet show, a spine-tingling train ride and a haunted house. Don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy at the Picnic Grove. Tickets are $17.50.

Family Night: Halloween Hootenanny

When: Oct. 26, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
Thinkery is hosting its annual Halloween celebration with a wide selection of spooky and silly STEAM activities for kids and adults to enjoy. Tickets are $16.

Austin Symphony Orchestra Presents: Halloween Children’s Concert

When: Oct. 27, 3 p.m.
Where: Dell Hall, 701 W. Riverside Dr.
The whole family can dress up in costumes and listen to live orchestral music at the Austin Symphony’s annual Halloween concert. This year, the featured piece is from Swan Lake.

Barton Hill Farms Fall Festival & Pumpkin Patch

When: Until Nov. 3
Where: Barton Hill Farms, 1115 Farm to Market 969, Bastrop, Texas
Kick-off your fall festivities with a trip down to Barton Hill Farms. From picking pumpkins in the patch to getting lost in the corn maze to playing corn hole, there are activities for everyone. Tickets are $13.50 online, $15.95 at the gate.

An In-Person Conversation with Kathy Najimy Plus a Screening of “Hocus Pocus”

When: Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Dell Hall, 701 W. Riverside Dr.
Come watch the classic Halloween movie “Hocus Pocus” with one of the Sanderson sisters! Mary Sanderson, played by actress Kathy Najimy, will be sharing behind-the-scenes stories and participating in a Q&A before the screening of the iconic film. Tickets starting at $24.

Happy Howl’Ween

When: Oct. 28, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Nickel City, 1133 East 11th
Dress up with your furry friends for a chance to win prizes. Nickel City and Austin Whiskey Co. are hosting a fundraiser and dog costume party to support local, non-profit animal rescue Austin Pets Alive!

36th Annual Viva La Vida Parade & Festival

When: Oct. 26, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: 100-200 block E. 4th Street
Austin’s largest Día de los Muertos festival is a fun-filled event with hands-on art activities, demonstrations with local artists, retail booths and vendors serving traditional foods.

Halloween with Edgar Allan Poe

When: Oct. 31, 8 p.m.
Where: Chez Zee American Bistro
Actor Lucien Douglas’s dramatic performance of Edgar Allan Poe will bring the tortured writer to life for one night. Don your favorite Halloween costume and snack on Chez Zee’s signature desserts while listening to poems and stories like “The Raven.”

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