Events

Halloween in Philadelphia: The Ultimate Guide

Pumpkins! Parties! Parades! Philly does Halloween right — and we’re here to help you fill your calendars this ghoulish season.


halloween in philadelphia guide things to do

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary: A Philadelphia Halloween favorite. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Beware, Philadelphia: All Hallows’ Eve is nigh.

We’re less than two weeks away from the spookiest evening of the year, when Philadelphians will dress in fantastical outfits and take to the streets looking for scares and sweets. Because we can all agree that Halloween is one of the best holidays, we put together a guide to get you in the mood: pretty much everything you can do in and around the city leading up to October 31st.

In the process of compiling this list, we realized that Philadelphia really knows how to celebrate Halloween. I mean, Philadelphia loves Halloween. There is no shortage of ways to celebrate.

We’ve broken down our list into the following categories — if you’re interested in one of them in particular, just click to jump there:

What’re you waiting for? Go get ghoulish.


Family-Friendly Festivities

Ongoing

Boo at the Zoo @ The Philadelphia Zoo
October 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Free with museum admission, $10 for children ages 2-11
There are few places I’d rather trick-or-treat than at the zoo. Bonus if you (or your kids) dress like the animals.

THE GLOW: A Jack O’ Lantern Experience @ West Fairmount Park
October 4th-28th
Select dates; $10.99-$22.99, depending on time of visit
West Fairmount Park has been temporarily transformed into a massive jack-o’-lantern landscape — I’m talking more than 5,000 pumpkins. Visit the website for a schedule.

October 18th-24th

Witches and Wizards Festival @ Chestnut Hill
October 20th
Noon to 5 p.m.; Free entry, but some activities will cost $5-$25
The Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival has been rebranded and reimagined (due to legal pressure), and the Witches and Wizards Festival has emerged. Expect the same Quidditch tournament, plus a straw maze at the Woodmere Art Museum, fire-breathers, dancing zombies, hay rides, costume parades and more.

chestnut hill witches and wizards festival

The Chestnut Hill Witches and Wizards Festival, formerly the Harry Potter Festival. | Photo via Red Balloon Communications

Halloween Hoedown @ Penn Treaty Park
October 20th
12 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Free
The eighth-annual event will feature a pumpkin patch, Halloween games, costume prizes and more.

Halloween Family Fun Day @ The Woodlands
October 21st
12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Free
Where better to celebrate Halloween than a graveyard in West Philly? Featuring: An all-day scavenger hunt, a spooky book swap, bird walks, a pet costume contest (!), and — maybe the best part — a mini Mütter Museum pop-up in the Hamilton Mansion.

Trick-or-Treat @ The Philadelphia Museum of Art
October 24th
5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Free after pay-what-you-wish admission
Unsure where to take your kids trick-or-treating this year? The galleries at the PMA ain’t a bad choice — plus, they’ll be able to create “spooky prints” under Alexander Calder’s Ghost mobile or watch a pumpkin carver make jack-o’-lanterns inspired by museum artwork.

Haunted House @ The Free Library, Fumo Family Branch
October 24th
4 p.m.; Free
“The year is 1818. Something has gone terribly wrong in the lab of  Dr. Frankenstein. You will be a witness to this dreadful development. Come celebrate one of the most gruesome ghost stories of all time and behold the frightful union of the monster and his bride. Crafts, games, treats, and plenty of screams!”

October 25th-31st

Yokai Weekend @ Shofuso House
October 26th-28th
During museum hours; Free with admission
Experience the world of yokai — Japanese folklore monsters, spirits, demons and ghosts. At this weekend-long festival, families can enjoy activities inspired by Japanese ghost stories, participate in a tsukumogami scavenger hunt and create umbrella ghost puppets and spooky origami creatures. Costumes encouraged.

Día de los Muertos Festival @ Penn Museum
October 27th
Family activities from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (free with museum admission); outdoor festival from 5 p.m. to 8.m. ($10 members; $15 general public)
Celebrate the Day of the Dead and honor departed ones with music, dance and art — and of course a cash bar and dancing at the outdoor festival.

Laurel Hill Cemetery | Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday @ East Passyunk Avenue
October 27th
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Free
It’s a classic fall fest: Pumpkin decorating, fall-themed arts and crafts, trick-or-treating, a scavenger hunt, live music and more. Plus, enjoy an arts and crafts show — and some shopping — from local vendors.

South Street Pumpkin Fest @ Headhouse Plaza
October 27th
Noon to 5 p.m.; Free
Tricks and treats for all ages. Get dazzled by circus performers, try a horse and wagon hay ride, enjoy live music, crafts for kids, seasonal bites, putt-putt golf, a straw maze, face painting — and costume, pumpkin-pie-eating, and jack-o’-lantern contests, of course.

Seaport Spooktacular @ Independence Seaport Museum
October 27th
1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; $12 for children ages 3-12, $17 for adults
Plenty of spooky activities, including trick-or-treating on the decks of Cruiser Olympia, a national historic landmark ship, and ghost stories told on Schooner Diligence.

Tricks and Treats @ Pennsbury Manor 
October 28th
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Free
The Bucks County colonial estate will host its ninth-annual trick-or-treating event and “witch trial.” There will, of course, be 17th-century demonstrations included.

Fall Family Day @ Laurel Hill Cemetery
October 28th
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; $5 per person
Enjoy a pumpkin patch, story time, crafts, hay rides and festive snacks will catching fall foliage views along Kelly Drive. Costumes encouraged!

Halloween Tot Parade @ Spruce Hill
October 31st
4 p.m. to whenever; Free
A true West Philly Halloween tradition: neighbors and children will don costumes and flood 45th Street between Baltimore and Larchwood Avenues. Costume parade starts at 4:30.


Nightlife/Parties

October 18th-24th

Glow in the Park @ Fairmount Park Horticulture Center
October 18th
6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; $100 at the door
The park’s annual fall gathering will fill the Horticulture Center with art, live 1960s soul music by York Street Hustle, local fare, beer, cocktails, and young professionals and civic leaders. Get ready to mingle, and of course, expect some fancy light installations.

glow in the park halloween philadelphia

Glow in the Park | Photo courtesy of the Fairmount Park Conservancy

Brews & Broomsticks Pub Crawl @ Chestnut Hill
October 19th
7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; $25 per person
Ten participating bars. Two outdoor beer gardens.  “Spirited” food and drink specials. A recreational archery range, performances by aerial artists and fire-breathers, and a costume contest along the route. Plus tons of people (probably) dressed like Harry Potter characters. What more could you want in a bar crawl?

Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl @ East Passyunk Avenue 
October 24th
5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; $6.66 per ticket
This appropriately priced beer crawl includes $4 craft beers at more than a dozen bars and restaurants in East Passyunk — plus witches’ hats for participants and food specials at various locations.

October 25th-30th

City of Ghosts @ The Philadelphia Museum of Art
October 26th
5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.; Free with museum admission ($5 off if you come in costume!)
Prepare yourselves for a more ghoulish First Friday at the PMA — with house and technic music by Philly DJ Dave P. and Brooklyn synth-pop duo Holy Ghost!. Plus lots of original activities: zombie apocalypse defense consultations, DIY art, ghost stories and wheel throwing.

A Mud Island Halloween @ Fort Mifflin
October 26th
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; $15 for children 12 and under, $25 for adults
The ultimate spooky experience: an on-site occultist, old-timer horror movies, ghost tours and paranormal investigations — and the chance to explore the only intact Revolutionary War fort in Philadelphia.

Mischief at the Mütter @ The Mütter Museum
October 26th
6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Free for College of Physicians fellows, $30 for Mütter Museum members, $50 general admission
The Mütter Museum doesn’t need Halloween to be spooky — it’s naturally eery, which makes it the perfect place to celebrate the holiday. This fourth-annual 21-plus only event includes a beer garden, a DJ and unlimited snacks from Insomnia Cookies and Pizzeria Vetri. Plus, you can sign up for a tarot reading.

Gravediggers Ball @ Laurel Hill Cemetery
October 26th
7 p.m. to 12 a.m.; $250 per person
Tickets to this annual black-tie/masquerade fundraiser at the cemetery’s Masonic Temple will get you access to the full cocktail bar, hors d’oeuvres served by butlers and valet parking. That’s right, it’s fancy.

The Devil’s Crawl Bar Crawl @ Center City bars
October 27th
8 p.m. to 2 a.m., $4.95-$14.95 depending on admission level
You know the drill: access to 50-plus locations with no cover charge all night and drink specials until 11 p.m. Multiple costume contests. Access to an after-party at Gardendale Social Club.

mutter museum

Night of the Crawling Dead Bar Crawl @ Center City bars
October 27th, 31st
2 p.m. to 12 a.m. on the 27th, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on the 31st; $20-$40
Attention, day-drinkers: Get an early start on Saturday night festivities with this 11-bar crawl. Bar and drink specials included, of course. And there’s a round two on Halloween.

That Big ’80s Halloween Party @ Voltage Lounge
October 27th
9 p.m. to 2 a.m., $10-$15
A Halloween take on this reoccurring event at Voltage.

Great Gatsby Halloween Party @ The Mummers Museum 
October 27th
7 p.m. to 11 p.m.; $75
Looking for an excuse to dress like a flapper this Halloween? Or to channel Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2013 Gatsby film? Here you go.

Scene Queen Halloween @ Kung Fu Necktie
October 27th
9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $5 entry *with costume*
From Fame Lust, the Philly photographer and event promoter who brought you “My Chemical Slow Dance” and New YearsEMO, enjoy the ultimate scene party at this one-of-a-kind Fishtown bar. Citywides and well drinks are $3 until midnight.

Voodoo Halloween Party @ Twisted Tail
October 27th
9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Free
The annual Halloween Party at this beloved bar, featuring live music, a costume contest and different drink specials every 15 minutes after 11 p.m.

Wasteland Halloween @ Mad Rex
October 27th
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $20 in advance, $25 at the door 
A post-apocalyptic restaurant seems like a pretty ideal setting for a Halloween party. Featuring interactive DJs, body-painted models and an all-you-can-eat buffet.

jim kenney halloween

Mayor Jim Kenney as Pope Francis at the 2015 Henri David Halloween Ball | Photo by HughE Dillon

Monster March Bar Crawl @ Center City bars
October 27th
6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $9.95-$19.95
This crawl’s got a monster/apocalyptic theme, 30-plus bars, a scavenger hunt, free specials and candy and more.

Calloween Dance Party @ The Trestle Inn
October 27th
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $10 in advance, $15 at the door 
Get your groove on with some go-go dancers and “psychotic disco.”

Unknown Pleasures Halloween Party @ The Dolphin
October 27th
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $5
With post-punk, new-wave and goth music by Littlespaceyy and Ian Galloway.

Devil’s Night Dance Party @ The Barbary
October 30th
9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $5
Of course The Barbary would be one of the few places in the city where you can really get up to some mischief on Mischief Night. Costumes encouraged, free Halloween candy.

Halloween Day

Sun Ra Arkestra Halloween Celebration @ Johnny Brenda’s
October 31st
Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.; $28
An intimate Halloween show: One of the greatest bands of all time in one of the greatest venues of all time. Wear your costumes, of course.

Burlesque Halloween Ball @ The Victoria Freehouse
October 31st
9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.; $13 general admission
The fourth-annual ball, featuring the headliner Lelu Lenore.

Nightmare on Broad Street @ The Dolphin
October 31st
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Free
Featuring  ’70s/’80s/’90s/’00s music and $1 Tecate before 10 p.m. Halloween costumes highly encouraged.

Dracula’s Ball @ The Trocadero Theatre
October 31st
8 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $25 
Music by Clan of Xymox, Ego Likeness and Curse Mackey, with DJs Amelia Arsenic and Danny Red.

Henri David Ball @ Philadelphia 201 Hotel
October 31st
Starts at 9 p.m.; $25 for those in costume, $75 for “voyeurs” 
It’s the 50th anniversary of Philly’s biggest Halloween party! A midnight costume contest will award: the most hysterical costume; the best comic book character; the most horrifying costume; the most sensual fantasy; the best celebrity lookalike; and more.


Frightening Films

Ongoing

Movie Nights @ The Piazza
October 18th, 25th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Free
Films, films, films! In the following order: “The Final Girls,” “Hereditary,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Ghostbusters,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “IT,” “Halloween.”

Lots of spooky films @ Ambler Theater
October 18th, 2oth, 28th, 31st
Various times; $3-$18
Scary flicks from local filmmakers, “Caspar,” “Frankenstein,” and “Evil Dead II.”

October 18th-24th

“Hocus Pocus” @ Plantation Field in Kennett Square
October 19th
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.; $9.99 for kids and $19.99 for adults
It’s everyone’s favorite family-friendly Halloween flick — but in the woods. With fire pits, food trucks and more.

“Frankenstein” @ The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville
October 21st

1:30 p.m.; $5 for students and children, $7 for adults
Part one of the Colonial’s spooky double feature.

“The Bride of Frankenstein” @ The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville
October 22nd
7:30 p.m.; $5 for students and children, $7 for adults
Part two of the Colonial’s spooky double feature. 

October 25th-30th

Exhumed Films 24-Hour Horror-thon @ Lightbox Film Center
October 27th-28th
Starts at 12 p.m., runs 24-hours; $50 for Lightbox and IHP members, $60 for the general public
You know the drill (or you should): It’s 24-hours of horror films, from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday. Who knows how long you can stay — or how strange you’ll feel at the end. It’s the sort of thing you just have to experience.

Exhumed Films will celebrate the scariest month of the year by screening 24 straight hours of classic cult and horror films.

“The Thing” @ Ritz Five
October 30th 
7 p.m.; $10.25 general admission

“Frankenstein” and “Carrie” @ Bryn Mawr Film Institute
October 28th, 30th

Various times; $10-$20 
“Frankenstein” will screen at 1 p.m. on the 28th, while “Carrie” will begin at 7:15 p.m. on the 30th.

Halloween Day

“Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages” @ The Mütter Museum
October 31st
Lecture and film screening at 6:40 p.m.; $15 for members, $20 general admission
A special Halloween installment of the “Not So Silent Cinema,” featuring a 1922 Swedish horror-documentary exploring witchcraft, demonology and the persecution of women in the Middle Ages. Costumes encouraged.

“Night of the Living Dead” @ The Prince
October 31st
7:30 p.m.; $15
Catch the 1968 George Romero film like you’ve never seen it: With a new, re-edited soundtrack and film score performed live by Ben Singer and drummer Nicholas Falk.

“Nosferatu the Vampire” @ The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville
October 31st
8:30 p.m.; $6 for kids, $8 for students, $10 for adults
Werner Herzog’s take on “Dracula.”

“Frankenstein” @ County Theater in Doylestown
October 31st
7:30 p.m.; $9 for people under 25, $11.25 general admission


Places to Get Freaked Out With Friends

halloween philadelphia

Photo courtesy of Terror Behind the Walls

Terror Behind the Walls @ Eastern State Penitentiary
Through November 10th
Various times and dates; $19-$50

Pennhurst Asylum @ Spring City, Pennsylvania
Fall attractions through November 4th
Various times and dates; $18-$125

Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride @ Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
Through October 31st
Various dates and times; $15-$100

Fright Factory @ South Philly
Through October 31st
Various dates and times; $20-$199

The Valley of Fear @ Feasterville-Trevose
Through November 2nd
Various dates and times; $19-$66


Ghost Tours

Candlelight Ghost Tours @ Fort Mifflin
October 19th, 20th, 31st
Every half-four from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.; $15 for children 12 and under, $20 for adults
One-hour tours featuring you, a few candles and the paranormal.

Soul Crawl: Haunted Halloween History Tours @ Laurel Hill Cemetery
October 19th, 20th
7 p.m. both nights; $25 general admission
Nighttime flashlight tours followed by seasonal drinks and cocktails aside fire pits.

The Hot Spots and Storied Plots @ Laurel Hill Cemetery
October 26th
10 a.m.; $10 for students, $12 general admission
An overview of the cemetery’s history is sure to get you feeling spooky.

Oddly Departed: Mischief Night Mysteries @ Laurel Hill Cemetery
October 30th
6 p.m.; $18 for students, $20 general admission
Looking for something to do on Mischief Night? Try this walking tour covering the cemetery’s most unusual deaths and eccentric personalities, followed by autumnal treats and cocktails.

Murder Mystery Tour @ Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion
October 20th, 31st, 27th, 28th
Various times; $16 general admission
This year’s murder mystery tour at the historic West Germantown house is titled “A Seance to Remember.” The event works similarly to “Clue” — but instead of moving characters on a board, you walk from room-to-room, greeting guests and actors portraying suspects. Apple cider and ginger snaps at the end.

The Original Ghost Tour of Philadelphia @ Society Hill and Old City 
Year-round
Various dates and times; $12 for children ages 4-12, $19-$22 for adults
Candlelit ghost tours with historical stories that will really freak you out — oh, and in-character tour guides. Plus, special excursions to the Powel House and onboard the USS Olympia.

Vampires, Sex and Ghost Tours @ Old City
On-going
Various dates and times; $25-$29 general admission
This R-rated tour is full of historical scandals featuring with topics including broach vampires, paranormal hauntings, the undead and revolutionary-era heists. Intrigued? You might want to check out some other tours Grim Philly has to offer.


Outdoor Activities

pumpkin patch

Can’t make it out of town?Sprouts Farmer’s Market has made a mini pumpkin patch right outside its new Broad Street store. Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

For apple-picking …

We’ve got a guide to nine gorgeous orchards within an hour drive of Philly.

For pumpkin-picking …

Here are 12 Philly-area farms where you’ll find a pumpkin patch and tons of fall fun.

For fall-foliage hikes …

Check out stunning vistas at these 10 Philly-area spots, all within a 45-minute drive from the city.

For adult trick-or-treating …

Visit Chaddsford Winery for wine and seasonal snacks as you weave your way through the groves.