Halloween Happenings: Have a Fun, Safe & Spooky Weekend

There’s plenty of fun — and candy — to find in Austin this Halloween weekend

By Holly Cowart
Lead photograph by Jeremy Banks
Halloween 2020 in Austin

Truth be told, I didn’t think I would be making this round up. Attempting to keep up with current happenings can sometimes feel like a treasure hunt and mostly it’s been, wait — what year is this for anyway? But now that Austin businesses have had time to find some footing and establish safer precautions, creativity has been unleashed and one thing is clear: Halloween will be a city-wide celebration. From art installations to dinner parties to pumpkin patches galore, in-person and virtual activities await for participants of all ages — plus all the candy your heart desires. Happy hunting!

Trick or Treat Cinema 

Alamo Drafthouse 

October 27 – November 1 

To close out its month-long screenings of creepy yet kid-friendly films, Alamo Drafthouse is hosting special costume parties for Hotel Transylvania 3 and Beetlejuice at its South Lamar, Slaughter Lane and Lakeline locations. Full of free treats, the celebration is perfect for letting the family get decked out in a safe and distanced environment. Better yet, ticket prices for kids under 12 will be discounted!

For those looking for a little more fright, the hometown theater also launched Dismembering the Alamo, which is rounding the corner on its fourth and final week. Touted as “one of the most aggressively scary films of 2020,” the movie will be a total surprise until just before showtime. On October 31, dress to the nines and get ready for a wild time like only Alamo knows how.  

Un-boo-lievable Pumpkinfest & Hallowe’en Finale

Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms  

October 28 – 31

Smaller scale does not mean smaller impact at Pioneer Farms. The haunted extravaganza includes a new lighted walking tour of the historic property, pumpkin carving demos, live music, dance and circus performances, Día de los Muertos activities, outdoor movie screenings and even more. All of the excitement leads up to a special Halloween Day finale with incredible photo ops and surprises worthy of a full moon.

The Surrealist Ball

Devil May Care

October 28 – November 1

Dress to impress at this illusory escape inspired by Rothschild’s lavish Surreal Ball of 1972. Rather than the Château de Ferrières, guests are invited to dine at the exotic Devil May Care, but the party dress code remains the same — “Black tie, long dresses and surrealist heads.” Each evening will have two seating opportunities at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., and includes a welcome cocktail, light bites, indulgent feast and more. Reserve a table to indulge in some holiday mystery this season. 

Mesmerize Halloween

Native Hostel

October 28 – November 1

Known for creating surreal environments, art installation Mesmerize is adding a new gallery experience specially-made for Halloween during its ongoing stay at Native Hostel. Dress up in post-worthy costumes and upload to Instagram to enter into a costume contest with monetary stakes. The exhibit is family-friendly and safety ensured, but grab tickets soon to get your ideal time slot!

Nightmare on Willie Nelson Boolevard

ACL Live at the Moody Theater

October 29 – 31

It won’t just be live music drawing you to Second Street District this Halloween, but a spine-tingling haunted tour of ACL Live. Get backstage access to the beloved venue like you’ve never seen it – filled to the brim with spooky twists and turns. A more family-friendly edition of the night will also be available, with kid-approved tours starting earlier in the day and sweet activities like treat bag decorating, candy stops and a themed photo booth to commemorate it all. 

Pre-Halloween Party 

Scholz Garten 

October 30

Scholz Garten is holding a pre-Halloween shindig this Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Groove to music by DJ Fontana, snack on biergarten classics and take part in lively costume contests and photos ops. Children 12 and under will also get to bring home a free goodie bag containing sweets and a $5 Scholz gift card.

Fab-BOO-lous Full Moon Paddle

Rowing Dock

October 31

Trick-or-treat lovers of every age are welcome to spend Halloween on the water for a socially-distanced full moon paddle. Expect ghoulish tunes from an onsite DJ as you float from station to station for sweets during a special Blue Moon. Afterwards, a party awaits on-land complete with photo booths, food trucks and costume contests with fun prizes.

2nd Annual Candy & Cocktail Crawl

South Congress Ave. 

October 31

Bunkhouse and McGuire Moorman Hospitality are joining yet again for their Candy and Cocktail Crawl down South Congress Avenue. Beginning at 4 p.m., participating locations will offer unique cocktail cups, holiday-themed drinks and spirited specials — plus candy for the costume-clad kiddos. Get the goods until they’re gone at Jo’s Coffee, Joann’s Fine Foods, Hotel San José, Perla’s, June’s All Day and Neighborhood Sushi. 

A Spooky Halloween Soiree

Central Machine Works 

October 31

Reserve a table at Central Machine Work’s expansive beer hall and outdoor space for a full day of Halloween happenings this Saturday. The earlier part of the day is reserved for kid- and pet-friendly fun like pumpkin decorating, candy bags and more. Then, things get spookier as the sun goes down, with food and drink specials, moody music and CMW’s first-ever costume contest. The best of the night will have their entire tab comped!

Love & Lightstream

Haute Spot Event Venue

October 31

Stretch out across 77 acres for a socially-distant, drive-in concert experience. LA-based rock band Mt. Joy will be playing two shows on the main stage for Halloween, with supporting acts from Abhi the Nomad, Los Coast, Night Cap and Kitty Coen. Costumes are very encouraged, and only 200 cars will be admitted each night, with proceeds helping support Austin’s musicians and industry through Black Fret and HAAM. Whether tuning into the livestream or opting for VIP access, live concerts are still on.  

Pumpkin Patch

El Cosmico

Through October 31

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until Halloween, lovers of fall can visit the pumpkin patch of their dreams while taking a relaxing trip to El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas. The hotel and campgrounds have been filled with a haystack maze, picturesque pumpkins and a few extra surprises. Capacity is limited and masks will be required, with contactless purchases available at the front desk for an extra measure of safety.  

Halloween Children’s Concert

Austin Symphony Orchestra (Virtual)

October 31

ASO’s yearly Children’s Concert is going virtual with an evening of Fantasy and Fable. The symphonic music of Harry Potter and Peter and the Wolf will fill your home, creating a perfect send off to a candy-filled night. Filmed at the Long Center and conducted by Peter Bay, the musical festivities will be preceded by a live Q&A with storyteller and performance narrator Bernadette Nason. 

Viva La Vida Fest 2020

Mexic-Arte Museum (Virtual)

October 31 – November 2 

While yes, Halloween and Día de los Muertos are completely different holidays, we’d be remiss to not share this timely celebration. Normally welcomed with a vibrant festival and parade, Mexic-Arte Museum’s 37th annual event is going virtual this year to share the Mexican and Latin American tradition, which honors the life and death of loved ones. The weekend of programming will feature educational activities, DIY crafts, musical performances and more, along with opportunities to purchase altar kits and offering tables to participate at home. So we’ll call this happening a little holiday bonus, because who doesn’t need a reason to celebrate?


Read More From the Fall 2020 Issue


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