The Ultimate Guide to Halloween in Austin
Commemorate the spookiest time of year with these sweet and sinister celebrations
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 to get in the spirit, we’ve put together a list of our favorite Halloween happenings around Austin with a little something for everyone.
Boo at the Zoo
October 7 – 28 | Austin Zoo
Come dressed in your Halloween finest and experience the zoo like never before at this annual family-friendly event. Decked out in festive holiday décor, you’ll find a schedule of activities from a Frightfully Fun Animal Show and chilling Haunted Mansion to a 10 minute Haunted Train Ride through the Hill Country.
Halloween at the Hive: Boo Bash
October 14 – 28 | The Hive by Bee Cave Arts Foundation
This Bee Cave gallery is transforming into a Halloween haven for five nights this October. Parents get in free with child’s admission, so families can spend the day making mischievous art projects, taking supernatural family photos, vying for paranormal prizes and creating unforgettable memories.
All Souls Cabaret
October 20 – 22 | Austin Playhouse
In tandem with its brand new series, Playhouse Cabarets, Austin Playhouse is putting on a handful of musical performances commemorating Austin’s most sinister time of year. Talented vampires, witches, ghosts and more will leave your spirits lifted with a range of beloved Halloween-inspired musical numbers.
Halloween Children’s Concert
October 22 | Long Center
Austin Symphony Orchestra’s annual Halloween Children’s Concert is back at the beautiful Long Center. Conductor Jerry Hou will take families on a symphonic journey with haunting classics from Mussorgsky, Humperdinck and Gounod — plus a live musical storytelling of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” Make sure to swing by early for a slate of Pre-Concert Activities for Kids, including an adorable pint-sized costume contest.
October 27 | Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bullock Museum has once again partnered with Girlstart to bring your kiddos loads of free Halloween-themed activities that are as educational as they are festive during Spooktacular. School of Rock Austin’s band The B Team will kick-off the evening with live music before young ones embark on a spooky scavenger hunt, engineer Candy Corn Cannons, make ooey gooey Blood Slime, compete in an “Under the Sea” themed costume contest and more!
October 27 | Thinkery
Taking place at Thinkery, Austin’s top children’s museum, this explorative evening offers loads of silly and spooky fun with a Halloween twist. Kids can turn their families into mummies, show off their styles in a costume parade, create Franken-Toys out of their favorite stuffed animals and engage in more enriching STEM-based projects.
St. HELLmo Halloween Party
October 28 | St. Elmo Brewing Co.
St. Elmo is hosting a full free day of seasonal happenings for adults and kids alike. From noon until 6pm, tiny tykes will be treated to free candy from trick-or-treating, arts n crafts stations and face painting during this family-friendly fiesta. Meanwhile, the adults-only portion of the night kicks in after 6pm, with karaoke, drink specials and horror movies going all night long. Whichever party you attend, be sure to dress up for a chance to win the costume contest!
Boo n’ Brew
October 28 | The Arboretum
All are invited to celebrate all-things Halloween at the upcoming free Boo n’ Brew. Get lost in the LandCare hay maze after enjoying themed activities such as listening to live music from Matt Creaton, face painting, a Candy Crawl-Trick or Treat at Arboretum retailers and tasty alcohol samplings for the grown-ups.
October 28 | Yard Bar
Alongside Pit Bull Awareness Month, Yard Bar is teaming up with Love-A-Bull for a Howl-O-Ween party featuring silent auctions, drink specials and precious pooches dressed to impress. During the costume contest, humans and dogs will battle it out for first place in four categories with prizes perfect for pet-lovers.
October 29 | UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum
Prepare for a day packed with family pastimes highlighting the best fall has to offer at UMLAUF’s Straw Fest. Free to attend, the extensive lineup of events range from lawn games and pumpkin decorating to a spider web maze and Bird of Prey show. Local organizations will also be onsite, including adoptable puppies from Austin Pets Alive! and cool bat facts from Austin Bat Refuge. Head to their website for the full schedule.
Halloween Carnival 2023
October 29 | Neill-Cochran House Museum
Bring the costume-clad kids out for a Halloween-inspired lawn party at the beautiful Neill-Cochran House. Free to the public, there will be a bouncy house, a Trunk-or-Treat game, a scavenger hunt and Día de los Muertos programs led by local organization Latinitas.
Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival
Through October 29 | Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead
Visiting a pumpkin patch is a must for Halloween. Held annually, this fest goes all out with over 50 fall-inspired games, a courtyard marketplace, live music, seasonal bites, an exotic petting zoo and endless photo ops for the whole family. Check online for the full schedule of unique weekly activities.
October 29 | Hotel Viata
Watch with delight as all of your child’s favorite characters come to life at Hotel Viata’s spook-tacular gathering. Featuring appearances from Jack and Sally Skellington, Spider-Man and adored Disney princesses, kids will have the time of their lives painting pumpkins, grooving on the dance floor, trick or treating and more.
Through October 30 | Pioneer Farms
The great pumpkin is the star of this impressive display spread across the sprawling 90-acre Pioneer Farms. Artists have transformed hundreds of jack-o-lanterns into otherworldly creatures and imaginative structures, and will surely create a sense of wonder for all ages as they stroll through eight varying realms. Snag your tickets before they sell out!
Freaky Film Screenings
October 8 – 29 | Moxy Austin – University
Every Sunday this October, Moxy Austin is putting on a free movie night in their backyard complete with complimentary candy, liquor tastings and enticing prizes. Bring your chairs (and pups), grab a Zombie Taco and embrace the Sunday Scaries.
Panic at the Paramount
October 13 – 23 | Paramount Theatre
Ghouls and goblins are invited to gather ’round for 10 days of terrifying horror films at the Paramount. The “all-killer no-filler” round up is filled with time-honored favorites and newer instant classics, including a “28 Days Later” screening presented by Hyperreal Film Club and a 35MM double feature of “Pearl” and “X”.
The Rocky Horror Drag Show
October 25 | Hotel Vegas
Hotel Vegas is hosting a holiday tradition with an extra special twist. Along with a screening of ever-popular film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Austin’s Vixens of Volstead will be onsite with friends to put on a one-of-a-kind drag shadow cast performance featuring the movie’s iconic characters. Each ticket includes a bag of props, some popcorn and access to a sensational evening.
Movies in the Park: Hocus Pocus
October 26 | Mueller Lake Park
Austin Parks Foundation is welcoming Austinites to a free outdoor screening of Halloween essential “Hocus Pocus.” Bring blankets, chairs and furry friends and stretch out under the twinkling night sky for a visit with the infamous Sanderson Sisters.
October 27 | Austin Motel
Starting at sundown, Austin Motel is holding a Freaky Float movie night in its cozy and chic courtyard by the iconic kidney-shaped pool. If you can brave the chill, “Beetlejuice” will be on the big screen with complimentary floaties and poolside drinks and bites available.
Spread Fear Series
Through October 30 | Alamo Drafthouse Locations
Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse has dug through the archives to bring a chilling series of cult classics back to the big screen. Come early for a “Sleepy Hollow” Brunch, stay late for a Dracula double feature or get goofy at a “Beetlejuice” Movie Party, all culminating in a “Halloween (1978)” screening ahead of Hallow’s Eve.
Live Score: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
November 2 | AFS Cinema
Who said the fun ends on the 31st? Each year, Austin’s Invincible Czars head to AFS Cinema to perform the haunting scores to masterful silent films to create a surreal viewing experience — this year taking on German psychological horror The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Get tickets and view the theater’s full lineup of Halloween flicks screening this month here.
Grown Up Frights
Black Lagoon Pop Up
October 9 – 31 | King Bee
Created by lovers of all-things creepy crawly, Erin Hayes and Kelsey Ramage, Black Lagoon is bringing its cocktail-focused pop-up to classic east side bar King Bee. Immerse yourself in the dimly lit, dungeonous décor with frightfully good drinks in hand and sneaky surprises in tow.
Tattoos, Tarot & Tequila
October 13 | Hotel Van Zandt
Kick-off the holiday a couple weeks early at this Friday the 13th takeover in Hotel Van Zandt’s lobby. Featuring a tempting trinity of flash tattoos from Tiny Tats ATX, tarot card readings by Ace of Cups and pours of Patrón tequila — not to mention late night live music from Smooth Nature — we can’t think of a better way to ring in the season.
Tarot, Tacos & Tequila Halloween Party
October 26 | Moxy Austin – University
Looking to add some (free) fun to your future? Stop by Moxy Austin for ominous tarot readings by Sound Sight Tarot, brain-free Zombie Tacos, screenings of “Scream 1” and “Scream 2,” and tastings of Teremana Small Batch Tequila. Costumes, doggos and high spirits highly encouraged.
Ventana Ballet’s “UNDEAD: Haunted House of Dances”
October 26 – 28 | Factory on 5th
Local troupe Ventana Ballet is bringing its immersive, adults-only Halloween show to The Ballroom at Spider House. “UNDEAD” will feature professional dance artists, creepy creatures, ghoulish libations and more. While tickets are likely to sell out, there will be some walk-up availability the night of the performance.
October 26 – 29 | Multiple Venues
This festival coincides with Halloween weekend, offering a stacked mix of the city’s best psych, electric, dream pop and indie punk musicians. Stop by for a single show or hang for all four days and create your own ideal concert schedule at Austin’s top music venues.
Spooky Silent Disco Party
October 27 | The Belmont
This month, The Belmont is transforming into a special Spooky Silent Disco Party with tricks and treats around every corner. This 21+ up dance party lets you choose your own adventure with three DJs, glow in the dark accessories and hundreds of costume-clad attendees grooving into the night.
Halloween Murder Mystery Dinner Party with Dinner Detective
October 27 | Hotel Viata
Dinner Detective will bring visitors into their comedy murder mystery this Halloween. Set in the charming Hotel Viata courtyard, diners will go on an investigative journey to solve the thrilling puzzle as they indulge in a delightful three-course meal.
October 27 | dabaLab Warehouse
If you’re looking for an adventure, this multi-sensory warehouse party from the Art Island collective is sure to exhilarate. Surrounded by dungenous lounges and sparkling tech art installations, guests will get down to live performances, a pumpkin gallery, tea service and more surprises to come.
Murder on the Rooftop: A Hollywood Murder Mystery Affair
October 27 | Gin Bar
Immerse yourself in a chilling murder mystery set against sparkling downtown Austin. Picture the experience as a live version of “Clue” where you become the detective … or maybe even the next victim! Professional actors will lead you through the puzzling journey as you sip on specialty cocktails and get into character.
Strange and Unusual: A Delightfully Dreary Feast Inspired by Tim Burton
October 27 & 28 | Carpenters Hall
For the second year, Carpenters Hall is hosting a magical feast in its dining hall honoring filmmaker Tim Burton. Guests will dine on seven creative courses, each inspired by an iconic Tim Burton movie, with an option to include drink pairings. Make sure to RSVP and come in costume!
Upstairs at Scaroline
October 28 | Upstairs at Caroline
Bring your boo to Upstairs at Caroline for a wicked good time. The DJ will keep the dance floor alive as guests sip on specialty cocktails, take part in a costume contest in hopes to win Patrón prizes and play yard games overlooking downtown Austin.
Alien Superstar Halloween Party
October 28 | Hotel San José
Hosted by Queen Lawrie Bird, this annual community bash is back at South Congress staple Hotel San José. What does alien superstar mean exactly? Find out for free at the lounge and patio where fun drink specials, a costume contest and beats by DJ Shani await.
Halloween Party at Punch Bowl Social
October 28 | Multiple Locations
Ahead of Halloween, Punch Bowl Social is transforming its Domain and Downtown Austin locations into a haunted holiday wonderland complete with all-night games, witchy spiked punches, a live DJ and costume contests. Although there’s no cover fee to get in, RSVPs are encouraged.
Freaky Deaky Festival
October 28 & 29 | Travis County Expo Center
If dancing is in your blood, don’t miss this two-day festival of electrifying EDM performances. Guests will be dressed to the nines and letting their freak flag fly as more than 60 artists take the stage surrounded by mind-blowing effects and neon décor.
ATX Comedy Hour: HALLOWEEN EVE!
October 30 | The Ballroom at Spider House
Prepare for a night of devilish entertainment as some of Austin’s best comedians host a Halloween inspired Comedy Hour at Spider House. From nationally touring names to up-and-coming local comedians, this night is sure to leave you in stitches.
Nightmare on Gibson Street
October 31 I Gibson Street Bar
Nightmare on Gibson Street has been decorated in its Halloween scariest all month long. Show off your costumes and get in the groove with a DJ on Halloween night at 8pm. Be sure to sample their variety of specialty Halloween cocktails.
Surrealist Ball 2023
October 31 | Devil May Care
Descend down the stairs into Devil May Care this Halloween for a truly unforgettable celebration. The Surrealist Ball is inspired by Salvador Dalí and features a mischievous menu of culinary delights including Lamb Kabobs, Spicy Hummus Crudite and specialty cocktails like the Pumpkin Mule. As sounds by JaRon Marshal set the scene, it’ll be the best time to overindulge in your imagination with a dress code of black tie and surrealist headwear.
Lefty’s Shop of Horrors
Through October 31 | Lefty’s Brick Bar
Surround yourself in holiday horror at Lefty’s all month long. The east side bar found inside ARRIVE Austin hotel is transforming into five distinct and enchanting spaces with the cocktails to match. They’ll also be hosting special happenings, including a weekly Wednesday night tarot residency, a Scream Queen Drag Show hosted by Louisianna Purchase, a Howl-O-Ween bash for pets and a Murder Mystery Party. Keep up on Insta for more details!
Ghoul at Azul
October 31 | Azul Rooftop
The Westin Austin’s gorgeous rooftop bar Azul is getting into the spirit this year with Halloween-themed decorations, drinks and a lavish party. Dance to a live DJ, compete in a costume contest for enviable prizes and take in gorgeous views with friends and loved ones.
If you prefer a jump scare, don’t shy away from these spine tingling nearby haunted house experiences. Take a trip to Smithville less than an hour out to experience Scream Hollow, try your hand at House of Torment’s frightening attractions, get through Fatal Fear Haunted House’s Back to the Slashers showcase or head to Buda to uncover what Bat City Scaregrounds has in store this Halloween.