Austin Does Halloween
Commemorate the spookiest time of year with these city-wide celebrations
by Holly Cowart
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.
October 26 | Bullock Texas State History Museum
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!
October 26 & 27 | Austin Zoo
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.
October 27 | Domain NORTHSIDE
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.
October 27 | Hill Country Galleria
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.
October 27 | 100-200 block E 4th St.
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.
October 27 | Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms
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.
October 27 | Desert Door
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.
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.
Ocober 27 | H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
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.
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.
October 27 | The Arboretum
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 28 | Hotel Ella
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.
October 28 | AISD Performing Arts Center
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.
October 28 | UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum
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.
October 31 | Native Hostels
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.
October 31 | Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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.
October 31 | Various Locations
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.
October 31 | Paramount Theatre
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!
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.
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!
October 31 – November 4 | Driskill Hotel
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.