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The Top Halloween Events and Activities in Philadelphia for 2017

Haunted houses, historical frights, spooky soirees, hayrides and more

While rumors persist year-round of real ghosts inhabiting some of Philadelphia’s most historic sites, it’s during Halloween season when other-worldly creatures emerge from all corners of the region to make it a happily haunted time of year.

For serious thrill-seekers, several of the area’s haunted houses (like famed Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary) have earned acclaim for their Hollywood-quality special effects, animatronics, pyrotechnics and teams of horrifically talented professional actors.

Meanwhile, families with wee ones can reap gentle thrills at Boo at the Zoo at the Philadelphia Zoo, the Scarecrow Walk at Morris Arboretum or the not-too-scary Count's Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place.

Below, find a diverse selection of spots celebrating the Halloween holiday by means of frightful tours, delightful treats, boozy parties and more.

Haunts & Scary Attractions | More Halloween Activities |
Halloween with Kids | Ghoulish Galas and Parties



Haunts & Scary Attractions

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State)

Eastern State Penitentiary is spooky enough, but during Halloween, it's downright frightening during Terror Behind the Walls, the largest haunted house in the country. (M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

Through November 11, 2017 (select dates)

Celebrate the Halloween season by testing your nerves at Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls, a spooky haunted house inside a history-rich, abandoned prison. Designed to be high-startle, Terror Behind the Walls includes Hollywood-quality special effects and lighting, digital sound, animatronic creatures and custom props. Over 200 performers participate in six separate attractions – including the new Blood Yard – on the 11-acre complex.

More about Terror Behind The Walls

Pennhurst Asylum

Wander the halls of the historic Pennhurst asylum for a genuinely frightening experience. (Photo courtesy Pennhurst Asylum)

Through November 4, 2017 (select dates)

Some say the dilapidated halls of the historic Pennhurst Asylum are genuinely haunted, making this high-tech haunted house even more frightening. Meet asylum patients in a new-for-2017 gauntlet underneath the Pennhurst complex, wander the labyrinth in the Dungeon of the Lost Souls and more across four attractions.

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Fright Factory

Through November 4, 2017 (select dates)

Housed inside an old factory building in South Philadelphia, Fright Factory summons screams galore. Encounter escaped inmates, giant spiders and more at three new attractions for 2017: Industrial Nightmare, Silent Scream Asylum and Fright Factory Unearthed.

More about Fright Factory

The Bates Motel

The haunted house at the Bates Motel.

The haunted attractions at the Bates Motel have been lauded by the Travel Channel as one of America's scariest haunts. (Photo courtesy The Bates Motel)

Through October 31, 2017 (select dates)

With professional performers and hair-raising animatronic effects and pyrotechnics, it’s no wonder that The Bates Motel has been called one of America’s scariest haunts by the Travel Channel. In addition to exploring the motel, the grounds' other spooky attractions include a Haunted Hayride and Haunted Corn Maze.

More about the Bates Motel

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia

Ongoing

Discover what may be lurking behind the shadows throughout America’s Most Historic Square Mile. Ghost Tours of Philadelphia uncover haunted spots throughout the secret gardens of Independence National Historical Park and back streets of Old City, telling chilling tales of Benedict Arnold and Founding Fathers along the way.

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Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour

Check out Philly's most haunted spots along the Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour. (R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Ongoing

Tiptoe carefully through multiple cobblestoned Philadelphia streets as the guides of the Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour tell tales of history and hauntings, stopping at more than 20 scary sites in some of the city's most historic neighborhoods. As an added (and less-unnerving bonus), tour-goers will be taken to see where scenes of several big screen thrillers — including The Sixth Sense, Shooter and National Treasure — were filmed!

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Grim Philly

Ongoing

Grim Philly offers a variety of tours that are fitting for this time of year. From the Serial Killers and Cemetery Tour to the Haunted Pub Crawl to the Ghost Hunting Tour, spooky options abound full of Philly frights and sites.

More about Grim Philly

Even more scary attractions in Greater Philadelphia

The Valley of Fear Halloween attraction

Philly is filled with spooky attractions perfect for all thrill-seekers. (Photo courtesy Valley of Fear)

October 2017

Looking for even more frights? Click the button below for our guide to the scariest attractions in Greater Philadelphia that include playing laser tag against zombies, riding a haunted ski lift and more.

more about the scariest attractions in philadelphia



More Halloween Activities

Harry Potter Festival

October 20-21, 2017

Adding to the magical fun of the Halloween season, Chestnut Hill’s massive (and massively popular!) Harry Potter Festival returns to fill 12 full blocks in the charming Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood this October. The biggest Harry Potter Festival in Chestnut Hill to date will feature Wands and Wizards Night on the Avenue, Magical Make and Take Zones, the Eighth Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament at Chestnut Hill College, Harry Potter quizzo, a Deatheater’s dance party, potion making, wizarding demonstrations, a muggles read-a-thon, the popular straw maze at Woodmere Art Museum and so much more.

More about Harry Potter Festival

Halloween Movie Series at The Schmidt's Commons

Select Dates Throughout October

On select days in October, The Schmidt’s Commons hosts a Halloween movie series that includes free screenings of Halloweentown, Insidious, Dracula, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Hound-o-ween. Bring a blanket or chair and get ready to settle into night of spooky film fun!

more about halloween movie series at the Schmidt's Commons

Halloween at The Woodlands

Select Dates Throughout October

Halloween spirit? West Philly's The Woodlands is full of it! Here, events include a Halloween movie double feature (Ghostbusters and Poltergeist), a night of cocktails and tours highlighting the “wicked woman” buried at The Woodlands, a Halloween Family Fun Day and more. Click the button below to discover all of the seasonal events at The Woodlands this year.

More about Halloween at the Woodlands

Halloween at the Museum of the American Revolution

October 21-31, 2017 (select dates)

Dress to impress — and score a deal — this Halloween at the Museum of the American Revolution, where costumed attire gets kids $2 off admission during Halloween weekend. Leading up to the holiday, events of all sorts are scheduled to unfold, ranging from Revolutionary-inspired pumpkin-carving demos to a history discussion on what happened to the bodies of soldiers after dying in battle.

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Mischief at the Mutter Museum

people at the mutter museum in philadelphia

The Mutter Museum invites guests (ages 21 and up) to explore its medical oddities collection in costume this Halloween season. (J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

October 27, 2017

Come out for the Mütter Museum's third annual Mischief party, where costumed guests are invited to enjoy drinks from an open bar and view the museum’s scientifically creepy collections. Upgrade to the VIP experience for a night that includes a sampling of 13 tasty courses of food.

More about Mischief at the Mutter Museum

The Philadelphia Orchestra's Halloween Organ Extravaganza

October 27, 2017

Ring in the holiday with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which hosts its annual Halloween Organ Extravaganza on October 27. The night of music features a powerful lineup of songs including Funeral March of a Marionette and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. After the show, you’ll be invited to lie down on the Verizon Hall stage to feel the vigor of the instruments as they are played.

more about Philadelphia Orchestra Halloween Organ Extravaganza

Dinner with Dracula at Hyatt at The Bellevue

October 31, 2017

Come out to Hyatt at The Bellevue for a special screening of the 1930s classic Dracula. Before the movie begins, Halloween-themed cocktails will be served, and a dinner for two at XIX Restaurant will be awarded to those dressed in the best Dracula or 1930s costume.

More about Dinner with Dracula at Hyatt at The Bellevue

Halloween at Fort Mifflin

Visit Fort Mifflin, one of America's most haunted sites, for some ghoulish fun this October. (Photo courtesy Fort Mifflin)

Select Dates Throughout October

From candlelit ghost tours to a paranormal investigation night, all sorts of frightening fun is set to go down at Fort Mifflin — cited as one of the most haunted sites in America — this October. For a full schedule of events, click the button below.

More about Halloween at Fort Mifflin

Night of the Living Cider at Kensington Quarters

Kensington Quarters

Kensington Quarters is throwing a boozy cider-filled Halloween party this year. (Photo courtesy Kensington Quarters)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Kensington Quarters is throwing a slightly unconventional, costume-free Halloween party where boozy ciders take centerstage over sugar-filled candies. A variety of ciders will be available on tap and by the bottle, as will eats cooked up by a handful of guest chefs who hail from across the city. The pay-as-you-go event unfolds from 6 p.m. to midnight.

More about Night of the Living Cider at Kensington Quarters

Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl

October 25, 2017

Hop on your broomstick and fly around to 17 different East Passyunk bars during this year’s Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl. Tickets for the three-hour event are $6.66 and include $4 beer specials from Victory Brewing Company and Troegs Brewing Company at participating bars, like Bing Bing Dim Sum, POPE, Garage and Stateside. Bar-crawl-goers will also receive a complimentary witch hat to add to the festive evening on the Avenue.

More about Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl

Wicked: 6 Evil Parties at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia

October 27, 2017

XFinity Live! is hosting a mega Halloween celebration featuring six different rooms to party inside starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 27 and continuing until the wee hours of the morning the next day. General admission is $10 and includes one free drink as well as entry into the night’s costume contest.

More about Wicked: 6 Evil Parties at Xfinity Live

The Devil’s Crawl Halloween Bar Crawl

October 28, 2017

The Devil’s Crawl in Center City is a treat for the adults. Venture to 40 different bars and restaurants, where drink specials, costume contests and other special festivities await. Click the button below for ticketing info.

More on The Devil’s Crawl in Center City

Consumed: Tales from the Candy Crypt at Shane Confectionery

October 28, 2017

Old City’s Shane Confectionery hosts Consumed: Tales from the Candy Crypt, an event that will guide you through the nation’s oldest continuously operated confectionery while introducing you to tormented villains along the way. Opportunities to trick-or-treat for magical candy cures will present themselves at multiple moments, and at the end of the 45-minute experience, you’ll walk away with bounty of delicious treats to take home.

More about Consumed: Tales from the Candy Crypt

Death Takes a Curtain Call Murder Mystery at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

October 21, 22, 28 and 29, 2017

For two weekends in October, the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion hosts performances of the classic Victorian melodrama Sweeney Todd. The murder mystery begs you to question: Who killed the man found dead at the start of the show? It’s up to you to find out during a night of theatrical fun.

More about Death Takes a Curtain Call Murder Mystery



Halloween with Kids

Boo at the Zoo

Celebrate Halloween with all your favorite furry friends during Boo at the Zoo. (J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

October 21, 22, 28 & 29, 2017

Kids get to trick-or-treat with lions and tigers and bears during Boo at the Zoo at the Philadelphia Zoo. Beyond scoring candy, little ones can also look forward to a haybale maze, the not-so-scary Extinction Graveyard detailing extinction around the world, pictures in front of a giant pumpkin wall and more.

More about Boo at the Zoo

The GLOW: A Jack O'Lantern Experience

This October, head to Fairmount Park to see thousands of hand-carved pumpkins on display. (Photo courtesy The Glow Philadelphia)

Through October 29, 2017

Over 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins call West Fairmount Park home this month as part of The Glow: A Jack O'Lantern Experience. Each weekend through the end of October, lanterns — ranging from famous Philly icons and sports figures to superheroes and princesses — will illuminate a trail for visitors to stroll along throughout the park adjacent to the Mann Center for Performing Arts. Advanced tickets are required and start at $16.

more about The GLOW

Halloween at Franklin Square

Franklin Square

Little ones can pick a pumpkin, decorate it and take it home during Franklin Square's annual Halloween celebration. (G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

Through October 30, 2017 (select dates)

Franklin Square welcomes October with two special Halloween happenings. On Pumpkin Patch day (October 21), those with kiddos can pick out a pumpkin for free and dive into an afternoon of decorating. Then, on October 28, Franklin Square hosts a Halloween treat-filled scavenger hunt throughout the park.

More about Halloween at Franklin Square

Halloween at the Market at Reading Terminal Market

October 28, 2017

A number of merchants at the massive Reading Terminal Market will hand out treats on Saturday, October 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stop by the Book Nook (behind Miller’s Twist) between 9:30 and 10 a.m. for a Halloween-themed storytime and enjoy caramel-apple-making and pumpkin-carving demos at City Kitchen from 11 a.m. to noon.

More about Halloween at the Market at Reading Terminal Market

The Rittenhouse Row Annual Halloween Celebration

October 28, 2017

From Parc to El Rey to the The Bellevue to TD Bank to Sweat Fitness, businesses and restaurants all throughout the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood welcome costumed trick-or-treaters to come inside for treats. The Rittenhouse Row Annual Halloween Celebration takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free for those of all ages. Click the button below during the week of the event for a complete list of locations and activity stations.

More about The Rittenhouse Row Annual Halloween Celebration

Fall Festival and Spooky Saturday in East Passyunk

October 28, 2017

Kids, adults and even Fido can enjoy Fall Festival and Spooky Saturday in East Passyunk. While youngsters are painting pumpkins, trick-or-treating at local shops and showing off during a kids’ (and dogs’) costume contest, the adults can hit up neighborhood food vendors and local restaurants for tasty bites and seasonal beverages, rock out to live bands and shop for crafts.

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South Street Pumpkinfest

South Street hosts the annual Pumpkin Festival including performances, costume contests and more. (Photo courtesy South Street Headhouse District)

October 28, 2017

South Street’s Pumpkin Fest takes over Headhouse Plaza on October 28 for an afternoon of music, shopping and plenty of other entertainment and hands-on activities for the whole family. Scary movies will also be screened during the five-hour event, set from noon to 5 p.m.

More about South Street Pumpkinfest

Halloween Hikes and Hayrides

October 27, 2017

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education invites families to come meet friendly nocturnal animals — including bats, opposums, foxes and more — who'll share tales and treats during a candlelit hike. Also available for attendees: hayrides, crafting, food trucks and s'mores. Tickets are $10 per person.

More about Halloween Hikes and Hayrides

Hayride to the Witches’ House at Linvilla Orchards

Through October 30, 2017

Hop aboard the Hayride to the Witch’s House, where the friendly witch who lives in the woods at Linvilla Orchards regales families with stories. The 15-to-20-minute ride is followed by apple cider and marshmallow roasting around a bonfire.

More about Hayride to the Witches’ House at Linvilla Orchards

The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular

Sesame Place's annual Halloween Spooktacular features fun for the whole family.

Enjoy not-too-scary events and attractions at Sesame Place this fall as part of The Count's Halloween Spooktacular. (Photo courtesy Sesame Place)

Through October 29, 2017 (select dates)

Celebrate silly, not-too-spooky fun at The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place. On weekends through October, the park is transformed into a Halloween haven fit for those of all ages! Come in costume and enjoy themed shows, a Halloween maze and everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends. Rides, a Halloween parade and other special activities are all part of the annual fun.

More about The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular

Scarecrow Display at Peddler’s Village

Scarecrow Festival

Discover dozens of creative scarecrows during the annual Scarecrow Display in Peddler's Village in Bucks County. (A. Sinagoga for Visit Philadelphia)

Through October 29, 2017

Not all scarecrows are scary — especially those that are part of the annual Scarecrow Display in Bucks County. Throughout Peddler’s Village, 150 larger-than-life scarecrow creations are on display, including everything from classic scarecrows to intensely creepy ones.

More about Scarecrow Display at Peddler’s Village

Morris Arboretum's Scarecrow Walk

Through October 31, 2017

This autumn, more than 30 scarecrows are decked out in the “Halloween Spooky Favorites” theme at Chestnut Hill’s Morris Arboretum. Vote for your favorite and afterward take a stroll through the beautiful, fall-foliage-filled grounds surrounding the contest.

More about morris arboretum's scarecrow walk

Fall Festival at Suburban Square

October 21, 2017

Enjoy an afternoon spent outdoors in Ardmore at the Fall Festival at Suburban Square. The three-hour celebration (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.) features a live concert by Shot of Southern, an array of kid-oriented crafting activities, pumpkin carving and opportunities for family photos. All activities are free!

More about Fall Festival at Suburban Square

Halloween in Manayunk

October 28, 2017

Manayunk celebrates Halloween with trick-or-treating along Main Street and a festive costume parade for both kids and dogs. Other activities include a corn maze at Venice Island.

More on Halloween in Manayunk

Straw Maze at the Woodmere Art Museum

Find (or climb) your way through a giant maze at Woodmere Art Museum. (Photo courtesy Woodmere Art Museum)

Through October 29, 2017 (Select Dates)

Made from massive straw bales, the Straw Maze at the Woodmere Art Museum invites kids to come out for an all-afternoon climbing session. On Saturdays, a visit also includes craft activities for the whole family.

More on the Straw Maze at the woodmere art museum

Historic Stenton’s Halloween Harvest Festival

October 28, 2017

Historic Germantown gets in on the harvest fun with its Halloween Harvest Festival at the Stenton House on Germantown Ave. The free event will have crafting activities, pumpkin painting, a spooky cellar tour and more to keep the entire family entertained.

More about Historic Stenton's Halloween Harvest Festival

The Portside Family Halloween Extravaganza

October 28, 2017

The Portside Arts Center hosts an evening full of Halloween fun for both kids and adults on Saturday, October 28, including dancing, food, beer, spiced cider and an array of children's activities.

More about The Portside Family Halloween Extravaganza

Spruce Hill Halloween Tot Parade

Head to Spruce Hill for a festive Halloween parade, treats, cider and more. (Photo courtesy Spruce Hill Community Association)

October 31, 2017

In the tree-canopied West Philadelphia neighborhood of Spruce Hill, the annual Spruce Hill Halloween Tot Parade unfolds, inviting those six years old and under to collect treats galore. Along its route, residents welcome costumed paraders with candy, cider and festive Halloween decorations.

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Witches of Narberth Scavenger Hunt

October 28, 2017

On the corner of Forrest and Haverford avenues, the annual Witches of Narberth Scavenger Hunt kicks off, taking kids through downtown Narberth on a search for 13 of the witchiest witches around. Treats are to be found along the way and a prize awaits at the end.

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Avenue of Treats

October 31, 2017

From 5 to 7 p.m. on Halloween, several blocks of Cecil B. Moore Avenue become a haven of free treats for the kiddos. Taking place between Broad and 16th streets, the annual Avenue of Treats, hosted by Beech Community Services, also features face painting and other hands-on activities.

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Great Halloween Festival at Upper Main Line YMCA

The Great Halloween Festival hits the Upper Main Line YMCA this October. (Photo courtesy Upper Main Line YMCA)

October 21, 2017

Head to the Upper Main Line YMCA in the shadow of the 110-year-old Cassatt Mansion for the Great Halloween Festival this October. Activities of all sorts await, including the Treat Trail, Witchy Workshops, Zombie Archery, Horseman’s Haunted House and Escape Room and more. Attendees should come dressed in disguise for the costume contest, and consider bringing their best carved pumpkin for the jack-o’-lantern competition!

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Ghoulish Galas and Parties

20 Spirited Halloween Parties Not to Miss in Philadelphia

witches hats

Spooky celebrations are in store at some of Philly’s favorite museums, restaurants, bars and more. (Photo courtesy East Passyunk Avenue)

Dates vary

Halloween in Philly means costume parties, imaginative events and even trick-or-treating on roller skates! From science-infused Halloween fun at The Franklin Institute to retro revelry at North Bowl, there are tons of delightfully frightening ways to enjoy the holiday spirit (and spirits) in Philadelphia. Click the button below for our top picks for Halloween celebrations in Philly.

20 spirited halloween parties not to miss in philadelphia

Gravedigger's Ball at Laurel Hill Cemetery

October 14, 2017

Go black-tie glam or stylishly ghoulish to the Gravedigger’s Ball, the annual fundraising event in support of activities at the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery. Tickets include a one-and-a-half-hour open bar, full dinner service, live music and more.

More about Gravediggers' Ball

Halloween at the Rosenbach

Put on your Halloween best for The Rosenbach's spooky soiree. (Photo courtesy The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia)

October 28, 2017

The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia gets all dressed up in its spookiest decor for a special Halloween soiree. Put on a costume of your own and get ready to explore the library’s Frankenstein & Dracula exhibition, an exploration of mad science and medical oddities. Light refreshments will be served.

More about Halloween at the Rosenbach




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