Austin Does Halloween

Commemorate the spookiest time of year with these city-wide celebrations

by Holly Cowart
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Whether you’re a costume aficionado or just here for the cooler weather, October is undeniably one of the best times of year. In a city that knows how celebrate, we’ve put together a list of our favorite spirited happenings in town with a little something for everyone.

austin halloween events atx day of dead


October 26 | Bullock Texas State History Museum

Free Event

The Bullock Museum has partnered up with Girlstart to bring your kiddos loads of Halloween-themed activities that are as educational as they are festive. They’ll be able to create stylish LED bracelets to take trick-or-treating, chunk pumpkins across the plaza, dissect owl pellets, make ooey gooey slime, build scary structures, and more!

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Boo at the Zoo

October 26 & 27 | Austin Zoo

Tickets: $17.50

Come dressed in your Halloween finest and enjoy this Zoo-wide event packed with activities including a Zoo bedecked in Halloween spookiness, nocturnal animals on display, eerie train rides through their mansion, and a special children’s show.

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Ghost Stories on the Lawn

October 27 | Domain NORTHSIDE

Free Event

Put on your favorite costume and head to the Domain NORTHSIDE for their first annual Ghost Stories on the Lawn. Amazon Books will be reading ghost stories at 7pm, followed by a special screening of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. Bring the family, blankets and chairs and spend an enchanting evening on the lawn.

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Trick or Treat

October 27 | Hill Country Galleria

Free Event

Enjoy a day of live music, face painting, kids activities, and trick-or-treating fun at the Hill Country Galleria. Decked in your costume of choice, participating retailers will be handing out candy and treats to make your family’s Halloween extra sweet.

austin halloween events atx day of dead
Photograph by Andrew Kastner

Viva La Vida Festival and Parade

October 27 | 100-200 block E 4th St.

Free Event

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with Mexic-Arte Museum’s annual block party and festival. Lining the streets of Austin, visitors can enjoy a Grand Procession, hands-on art activities and demos, traditional foods, local artist and retail booths, a low-rider exhibition, and live music and performances throughout the day. Check out their website for the full schedule of events.

austin halloween events atx day of dead
Photograph by Steve Rogers | Illustrations by Kaci Beeler

Meat Cute, An Improvised Horror

October 27 | The Hideout Theatre

Tickets: $10

Why spend Halloween full of fright? In this completely improvised performance, you’ll be crying with laughter as brain-eating zombies to blood-sucking vampires to regular ol’ humans try to find romance.

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Zombie Charge Austin 2018

October 27 | Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms

Tickets: $0 – $79

A zombie infection is coming to Austin! In this authentic mud run, get your blood pumping with obstacles, muddy trenches, creepy creeks, horror ridden hills, and tons of surprises, all while being chased by a hoard of the undead. After the run, attendees and participants can celebrate in the safe zone at an End of the World party with plenty of music, contests, food, beer, and fun.

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Sotolber Fest

October 27 | Desert Door

Free Event

Desert Door is hosting a family-friendly bash to celebrate all things fall. Along with scrumptious B-Side Sausage Co. sausages and special fall cocktails, guests can expect exciting activities including custom trick-or-treat bag-making by Cafe Monet Art Studio, costume contests for humans and their pups, and more.

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Yard Bar’s Halloweenie

October 27 | Yard Bar

Free Event (21+)

Come out to Yard Bar for a day full of costume contests, drink specials, and beloved pooches dressed to impress. Humans and dogs will battle it out for first place in five costume categories, while Central Texas Dachshund Rescue will be on site with adoptable Dachshunds.

austin halloween events atx day of dead

Hill Country Halloween Half Marathon and 5K

Ocober 27 | H-E-B Center at Cedar Park

Tickets: $99

For those looking to join in on the festivities without the sugary temptation this holiday, Penteli Events has you covered. While costumes are optional, there will be an afterparty awaiting each runner as they cross the finish line complete with music, kids activities and exciting prize giveaways.

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Bumble’s Upstairs at Scaroline

October 27 | Upstairs at Caroline

Free Event (21+)

Bring your boo to Upstairs at Caroline for a wicked good time. DJ Willgood will bring the dancefloor to life as guests sip on specialty cocktails, snack on light bites, and play yard games overlooking downtown Austin.

austin halloween events atx day of dead

Boo n’ Brew

October 27 | The Arboretum

Free Event

Everyone is invited to celebrate all things Halloween at the upcoming Boo n’ Brew festival. Get lost in the Native Land Design hay maze after enjoying themed activities for both adults and kids.

austin halloween events atx day of dead

Halloween Costume Ball

October 27 | W Hotel

Tickets: $20 – $60 (21+)

Head to the haunted W Hotel for a monster ball like no other. Top Austin DJs will keep the beats flowing as partygoers show off their sinister costumes at this massive holiday bash. Finish off the night by bringing home cool Halloween-themed party favors.

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Keep It Quiet Presents – The Halloween Party

October 27 | Ironwood Hall

Tickets: $55 – $125 (21+)

This month Ironwood Hall is getting transformed into a special haunted experience with tricks and treats around every corner. Benefiting The Alzheimer’s Association, this all-inclusive celebration includes entertainment by Autograf, an open bar, and lots of surprises. Dress all out for an unforgettable night.

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The Comedy Seance 2018

October 28 | Spider House Cafe & Ballroom

Tickets: $10 (18+)

Prepare for a night of devilish entertainment as some of Austin’s best comedians host a seance at Spider House Ballroom. While past visitors have included Amelia Earhart and Edgar Allan Poe, who knows who will turn up next to this hilarious conjuring.

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Ella’s Haunted Mansion

October 28 | Hotel Ella

Free Event

Ghouls and goblins of all ages are welcome to visit the haunted Hotel Ella for a day of fall festivities. After a special Halloween Brunch, go on spooky mansion tours while listening to ghastly tales, play a variety of outdoor games and activities, and do the monster mash to live tunes by Shivery Shakes.

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Halloween Children’s Concert

October 28 | AISD Performing Arts Center

Tickets: $10 – $15

Austin Symphony Orchestra’s annual Halloween Children’s Concert is back at their new location, the AISD Performing Arts Center. This exciting show will feature a symphonic adaptation of the Grimms’ fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, with Austin storyteller Bernadette Nason and illustrator Jen Corace joining forces to bring the classic story to life. Perfect for kids ages 2 – 10, costumes are definitely encouraged for this festive performance.

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Straw Fest

October 28 | UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum

Free Event

Get ready for a day packed with family activities celebrating the best fall has to offer at UMLAUF’s Straw Fest. The newest attraction at this annual event is the family and pet fall fashion show, where humans and furry friends alike will show off their unique styles. Head to their website for the day’s full schedule of activities.

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Chilloween at Native

October 31 | Native Hostels

Free Event

Chances are you might have spent all of your energy partying the weekend before Halloween, so why not take it easy this Wednesday? Native Hostels is hosting the chillest hang out in town, where guests can snack and lounge in their costumes or pjs while scary movies play all night long.

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Movies in the Wild: Coco

October 31 | Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Tickets: $8 – $12

On October 31, the Wildflower Center’s Family Garden will be transformed into a theater with the help of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Alongside crafts, treats and fun, guests will celebrate Day of the Dead with a screening of Pixar’s Coco. Blankets, costume, and picnic baskets welcome.

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October 31 | Various Locations

Free Event

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is making sure everyone can celebrate this Halloween by throwing a shindig at various recreation centers across town. All ages are welcome for some family-friendly fun, including a haunted house, carnival games, and you can’t forget the candy! Head to their website for the full list of locations.

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Hocus Pocus presented by Mick Garris

October 31 | Paramount Theatre

Free Event

If you didn’t watch Hocus Pocus while binging on popcorn and candy did Halloween happen at all? Thanks to the Austin Film Festival, this beloved classic will be showing for free at the Paramount Theatre on Halloween night, presented by writer Mick Garris himself. Come dressed in your best for a chance to win best costume and a festival badge!

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Jay Bleu Album Release & Halloween Party

October 31 | Saxon Pub

Tickets: $5 (21+)

In honor of his latest release, Jay Bleu will be performing his entire album from top to bottom at Saxon Pub on Halloween night. Bring out your Halloween gear for a costume contest and celebrate the occasion grooving to soulful tunes all night.

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Day of the Dead Dance Party

October 31 | Edge Rooftop Pool Bar & Cabanas

Tickets: $0 – $20 (21+)

Dance the night away with a Rooftop Day of the Dead Dance Party featuring live music and entertainment, drink specials, costume contests, psychic readings, and more. Admission is free for JW Marriott hotel guests!

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Shakespeare in the Dark: Macbeth

October 31 – November 4 | Driskill Hotel

Tickets: $15 – $20

Experience Shakespeare like never before starting Halloween night. Performed in complete darkness, the thrilling play will bring language to life while immersing it’s guests with a spine-tingling theatre experience.

Read More From the Architecture Issue | October 2018

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