Top Halloween Happenings
Hayrides, spooky soirees, historical frights and top haunted houses
Thrill-seeking families, couples and friends continue their Halloween excursion with the hayrides, parties, festivals—and more haunted houses, of course—that transform one of the country’s most historic regions into a Halloween destination sure to scare, surprise and entertain.
From devilish dance parties and peculiar pumpkin patches to eerie explorations through some of the region’s most historic sites, there’s something spooky and spectacular for everyone this Halloween.
Don’t just settle on one evening of frightening fun. With so many exciting Halloween events and activities happening in the region, there’s no better time for an October getaway. Browse available specials and deals at Philadelphia hotels or book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, a scary good deal where your car stays free.
Dates: Through November 9 (select nights)
Unnerving any time of year, the nation’s first prison becomes downright horrifying every fall as it transforms into Terror Behind the Walls. Considered one of the top haunted house experiences in the country, the Hollywood-quality sets, 200 actors, custom-designed props, animatronics and digital sound effects fill the abandoned—and reportedly haunted—Eastern State Penitentiary, a National Historic Landmark, for more than a month of terrifying tours.
Dates: Through November 2 (select nights)
The reportedly haunted Pennhurst Asylum offers terrifying tours including “The Pennhurst Haunted Attraction,” a hospital themed attraction; the “Dungeon of Lost Souls,” a new labyrinth of old cells and halls; “The Tunnel Terror,” a tour underneath the grounds; and “Ghost Hunt,” a self-guided, flashlight tour through what is believed to be the most active building at Pennhurst.
Dates: Through November 2 (select nights)
Bucks County’s spookiest ghouls and goblins surprise and startle those who dare to ride the Original Haunted Hayride deep into the woods, sneak around two terrifying haunted houses and walk the dark maze of Scary Tales Haunted Forest Walk, with moonlight as your only guide.
Dates: Through November 2 (weekends only)
Check out America’s most haunted farm, located in Yardley, every weekend until November 2. You can choose from four Halloween-themed adventures: the Hayride of Horror, Barn of Horror, 3-D Alien Encounter and the eerie attraction they call ‘Carnage’. Are you brave enough to find out what all that entails? We can give you some hints — the squeamish might start squirming when the ground gets covered with blood and guts and gore and paranoia is likely to ensue after the incredible special effects of the alien experience. Get a spook in the haunted barn or, for the less brave, hop on a haunted hayride or hit up the Pumpkin Fest. Can’t decide which ones to do? Get the RIP package and see all of them.
Dates: Through November 3 (select nights)
There’s no escaping the fear at the horrifically haunted Bates Motel at Arasapha Farm, rated one of America’s scariest haunts by Hauntworld Magazine, USA Today and the Travel Channel. If the mayhem and terror inside aren’t enough, a heart-pounding hayride and haunted corn maze with lurking zombies and creatures will do the trick.
Dates: Through November 2 (select nights)
Fridays through Sundays throughout October, Fright Factory will be scaring the pants off of people in what the Travel Chanel featured as one of ‘America’s Scariest Haunted Attractions’. There are four parts to this fright fest — iChem’s evil subterranean laboratories, guided tours of the Philadelphia Haunted Asylum where former hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Robert T. Brash experimented on and tortured patients, then a walk with the dead that leads to the creepy stone mausoleum hiding out in the shadows. Are you creeped out yet? You will be.
Dates: Through November 2
All through October, Active Acres will have its gates open for a whole season of frightful weekend attractions. AAA named the Haunted House in the Hollow as one of the nation’s premier haunted attractions, so get your tickets now and be sure to check out the “Special Deal” link. Prepare yourself for ti-toeing through the seventeen cobweb-covered rooms and ducking through the secret passages of this haunted mansion. Take a ghostly walk through the Field of Fright back-yard cemetery and ride the haunted hay ride, if you’re a brave soul.
October marks a month of eerie events at historic Laurel Hill Cemetery. Take a nighttime tour of the cemetery and learn about its rich history as you explore the haunting landscape, discover spooky stories of Laurel Hill’s past and enjoy special events all month long.
The 75-minute Spirits of ‘76 Ghost Tour winds walkers down a spine-chilling path of cobblestone streets to visit Historic Philadelphia’s 20 most haunted attractions such as Carpenters’ Hall, Old Pine Street Church and Cemetery and the Benjamin Rush House.
Ninety minutes on a Victorian-style, narrated trolley ride is all it takes to unearth the undead secrets of the city. On the Haunted Trolley Tour, passengers visit close to 20 locations around the city and stop off at three particularly peculiar sites.
Dates: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Historic Germantown in conjunction with the Museum of the Macabre present Ghosts of the Great Road on October 13, 19 and 26. These interactive, walking ghost tours explore the allegedly haunted cultural sites on the streets of Germantown. You can be a part of the real, live paranormal investigation and get a slice of history from the historically-dressed guide. On October 26, don’t miss the special Halloween version called Colonial Compound, named after one of Philadelphia’s most haunted neighborhoods, beginning promptly at 5:30 p.m. at Upsala Mansion.
Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey, the creator of these ghost tours, felt so compelled by the paranormal of New Hope that he wrote three books on it. Experience his take on the encounters with the infamous phantom hitchhiker and much more every Friday and Saturday night in October with a special tour on Halloween night through the eerie town of New Hope. Click here for directions and more information.
Dates: October 25
The centuries-old Keith House in historic Graeme Park is said to be haunted by the ghost of Elizabeth, Dr. Graeme’s youngest daughter who was forced to sell the park after a slew of tragedies in her life. During this year’s chilling Haunted Moonlight Tours of the Keith House, where the past comes back to haunt the present within the cold stone walls, fear-seekers can experience the true spirit of the season.
Rosenbach Museum and Library’s Hands-On Tour of The Growth of Stoker’s Dracula
Date: October 27
The Rosenbach Museum invites you to celebrate and take an in-depth look at the rarely-seen manuscripts, research and notes of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. Get unparalleled access to rare items and discover what it takes to make a lastingly scary character and revel in magic of the terrorizing tale.
Frightening Festivals & Fun-Size Treats
Dates: Through October 27
Visitors to Peddler’s Village gain a whole new appreciation for hay when they check out the larger-than-life scarecrows at the 33rd annual Scarecrow Competition and Display, where crafty contestants compete for cash prizes (September 5 – October 30).
Dates: Through November 3
Things go bump in the day and night at Linvilla Orchards, and ghoulish family-friendly activities abound. During the Pumpkinland Harvest Festival, pick-your-own apples and pumpkins and pie-eating contests comprise the treats, while a jack-o’-lantern exhibit, an annual costume parade for little visitors, face painting, music and pony rides make up the tricks. In the evening, bonfires, marshmallow roasting and apple cider follow the Autumn Moon Hayrides while treats and storytelling fill the Hayrides to the Witches’ House, where only friendly witches live (October 4-6, 11-30).
Dates: Weekends through October 27
Sesame Place gets even more fun during The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular, when costumed kids trick-or-treat throughout the park, catch special Halloween-themed shows, wind through an interactive maze and enjoy hayrides and story time with the Sesame Street gang.
Dates: Weekends in October
The perfectly picturesque Franklin Square gets an overhaul when the 18-hole golf course transforms into not-too-Spooky Mini Golf, with eerie lights, music and surprises at dusk (every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October). Celebrate a day of family fun with Pumpkinfest (Oct. 4), pick and pain your own pumpkins (Oct. 19) or dress up for an afternoon on the Trick-or-Treat Trail (October 26).
Dates: Through November 1
Longwood Gardens’ Pumpkin Playground gives young visitors the chance to play with—and in and on—pumpkins and gourds inside the Idea Garden. Nearby, the Curious Cucurbits display showcases unusual pumpkins and gourds in a wide range of shapes, colors and sizes.
Dates: October 5-20
The Morris Arboretum gets spooky this Halloween season when more than 30 designer scarecrows, all in the running to be voted Scarecrow King or Queen by visitors, line Oak Allée for the Scarecrow Walk.
Dates: Throughout October
During Hersheypark in the Dark, thrill-seekers hop on roller-ghosters—all renamed for the season—under the dark cloak of night. Spooktacular attractions, glowing pumpkins and live entertainment await, and sweet adventures for younger visitors include trick-or-treating in Hersheypark’s village of treats.
Dates: October 19, 20, 26, 27
The Philadelphia Zoo invites the whole family to Boo at the Zoo, a masquerade party and wild trick-or-treat adventure around the cages and tanks. Games, crafts, music and storytelling add to the festivities.
Dates: October 24-26
Local artists take on a patch of monster-sized pumpkins at The Great Pumpkin Carve as they carve and decorate the giant gourds into massive masterpieces. Along with live music, food and hayrides, the displays create a spooky-fun atmosphere.
Monster Bashes & Spooky Shows
Date: October 4
Monster mash for a good cause at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia. The annual October celebration and fundraiser supports Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philly’s most famous graveyard. Dinner, dancing and entertainment are just some of the things to expect at this unearthly celebration.
Date: October 31
Spirit of Philadelphia is holding its annual “Boo Moonlight Cruise” the Saturday before Halloween. This late-night cruise on the Delaware River features “spooktacular” nighttime views of Philly, plus a costume contest, DJ and dancing. Boarding starts at 7:30 p.m. with the cruise from 8-10 p.m. Price: $55.90 per adult (must be 21 or older with valid ID).
Date: October 31
Party animals, celebrities and dignitaries have flocked to the annual Henri David Ball at the Sheraton Philadelphia Center City Hotel for a night of costumed mirth since 1968. The host, eccentric owner of jewelry shop Halloween, promises to “pull out all the stops” and offers a major discount for attendees who dress up.