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The Top Halloween Events and Activities in Philadelphia for 2015

Hayrides, spooky soirees, historical frights and top haunted houses

While rumors persist year-round of real ghosts and goblins 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 (think 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. Families with wee ones get 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, you'll find a few spots that offer Halloween tricksters some delightfully frightful treats all October long.

Spooky Getaway

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.

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Day-by-Day Guide To 50+ Halloween Events Over Two Halloween Weekends

Ready for spooktacular fun? In our Day-By-Day Guide to Halloween, we've broken out dozens of Halloween activities, tours and attractions by day over the last two weekends in October. Click the button below for more info.

day-by-day guide to halloween events

Haunts & Scary Attractions

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

Dates Through November 7, 2015 (select dates)
The once-abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary is now home to Terror Behind the Walls, one of the top haunted houses in the country. Hollywood-quality sets, animatronics, custom-designed soundtracks and a cast of more than 200 professional performers delight in scaring thrill-seekers. For the attraction’s 25th anniversary, two brand-new attractions — Quarantine: 4D and Break Out — have been unveiled to complement four returning attractions.

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Eastern State)

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

The Valley of Fear

Dates: Through November 1, 2015
Climb aboard the Haunted Hayride and confront monsters and other horrors inhabiting The Valley of Fear, where only the bravest dare to venture. Prepare for the zombie apocalypse in the terrifying Zombie Escape Maze, and do battle with the undead. New for 2015: Into The Underworld, a haunted forest walk.

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HorrorFest at Shadybrook Farm

Dates Through October 30, 2015 (select nights)
There are even more fearsome attractions in store for the brave guests who dare venture into HorrorFest at Shady Brook Farm, and they come in the form of Barn of Horror, Hayride of Horror, Carnage and the 3-D Alien Invasion.

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Fright Factory

Dates: Through October 31, 2015 (select nights)
Housed inside a 100-year-old factory building in South Philadelphia, this year’s Fright Factory summons screams galore. Renovated for its 15th-anniversary season in 2015, it offers even more dark passages and hidden corners where more professionally made-up monsters and high-tech horrors wait to torment visitors.

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Pennhurst Asylum

Dates: Through November 1, 2015 (select nights)
Some say the dilapidated halls of the historic Pennhurst Asylum are truly haunted, making the high-tech haunted house even more frightening. Crawl through the Tunnel Terror, wander the labyrinth in the Dungeon of the Lost Souls and explore the new props and changes made to the hospital-themed walkthrough of the actual asylum.

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The Bates Motel

Dates: Through November 1, 2015 (select nights)
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. Also on site: Haunted Hayride and Haunted Corn Maze.

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Ghost Ship Terror Cruise

Dates: October 9, 16, 17, 23, 30, 2015
Patriot Harbor Lines runs the irreverently uncensored Ghost Ship Terror Cruise: Pirates & The Jersey Devil on the Delaware River. The evening features tales of Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, pirate ghouls and the region’s favorite fiend, the Jersey Devil.

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Camp Spookynaw

Dates: Through October 31, 2015 (select dates)
Witches and wizards head into the woods for an enchanting and horrifying night at Camp Spookynaw in Oxford. Wander through ten buildings and discover an enchanting tale of dragons, madness and supernatural mayhem.

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Ghost Tour of the Olympia

Date: Through November 1, 2015 (select dates)
Discover the haunted tales aboard the USS Olympia on Penn’s Landing with a special Ghost Tour of the former war vessel. Uncover the gruesome story of “Gunner” Johnson as you explore the creepy spaces aboard the historic battleship.

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USS Olympia

Wander through the potentially haunted U.S.S. Olympia during a special Halloween ghost hunting adventure. (Photo courtesy of the Independence Seaport Museum)

24 Hour Horror-Thon, Part IX at International House Philadelphia

Dates: October 24-25, 2015
SOLD OUT. There will be no dozing during the 24 Hour Horror-Thon, Part VIX at International House Philadelphia. Starting at noon, some of the biggest horror titles of the last 30 years play before and after some really rare gems, tons of classic trailers, shorts and other oddities, all projected on 16-mm or 35-mm film.

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True Tales From The Tombs: Mischief Night By Firelight at Laurel Hill Cemetery

Date: Friday, October 30, 2015
Pack a flashlight and prepare for an evening of bone-shivering, spine-tingling eerie tales when Laurel Hill Cemetery’s most provocative and memorable “residents” return from the dead to tell their stories, followed by palpitation-calming hot cider and cookies.

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Laurel Hill

Celebrate Halloween at Laurel Hill Cemetery with creepy tours. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia

Dates: Ongoing
Discover what may be lurking behind the shadows throughout America’s Most Historic Square Mile. Ghost Tours of Philadelphia uncover haunted spots throughout Society Hill, Independence Mall and Washington Square, telling chilling tales of Benedict Arnold and Founding Fathers along the way.

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Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour

Dates: Ongoing
Tiptoe carefully through cobblestone streets as the Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour guides tell tales of history and hauntings, stopping at more than 20 scary sites in some of Philadelphia’s most historic neighborhoods.

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Other Family-Friendly Activities

Harry Potter Festival in Chestnut Hill

Dates: October 16-17, 2015
Muggles and wizards turn out in costume for the Harry Potter Festival when the shops and restaurants in Chestnut Hill get a total Hogwarts makeover. The magical weekend features wizardry workshops, Quidditch tournaments, Dumbledore’s Maze, sorting hat demos and more.

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Scarecrow Competition and Display at Peddler's Village

Dates: Through November 1, 2015
Not all scarecrows are scary — especially those that are part of Peddler’s Village annual Scarecrow Competition and Festival, displaying dozens of creative scarecrow creations. Do-it-yourselfers get creative during the scarecrow-making workshops, while others vie for honors in pumpkin pie-eating contests. And everyone can join in pumpkin painting and enjoy live entertainment and children’s activities.

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Scarecrow Festival

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

Halloween at Franklin Square

Dates: Through October 31, 2015 (Friday-Sunday)
Family-friendly Franklin Square welcomes October with a month of special Halloween happenings. Tee up at Spooky Mini Golf, featuring fog, lights, music and surprises. Pick a pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch, and adorn it to take home. Take a spin on the Lightning Bolt Express.

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Franklin Square

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

Hayride to the Witch's House at Linvilla Orchards

Dates: October 9-30, 2015
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 and serves snacks around the bonfire.

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Linvilla Orchards

Bring the family to Linvilla Orchards for hayrides, pumpkin picking and fall treats. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Straw Maze: The Serpent of Woodmere at the Woodmere Art Museum

Dates: Through November 1, 2015
Inspired by paintings by a local artist, the Straw Maze: The Serpent of Woodmere at Woodmere Art Museum is part sculpture, part maze and part climbing apparatus for kids. On Saturdays, a visit also includes craft activities.

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Boo at the Zoo

Dates: October 17-18, 24-25, 2015
Kids get to trick or treat with lions and tigers and bears during Boo at the Zoo at the Philadelphia Zoo. Costumes are de rigueur when kids set out on scarecrow scavenger hunts; enjoy games, storytelling and musical performances; and collect treats while visiting their favorite animals.

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The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place

Dates: Through November 1, 2015
Celebrate silly, not-too-spooky fun at The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place®. On weekends from September 26 through November 1, the park is transformed into a family-friendly Halloween haven! Come in costume and enjoy Halloween shows, a themed maze and everyone’s favorite Sesame Street® friends! Soar, swing and fly on three new Count von Count-themed mechanical rides! Don’t miss the fantastic Neighborhood Street Party Halloween Parade with new music and dance moves that will have everyone dancing along and joining in the fun.

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Monster Mash at the Please Touch Museum

Date: Saturday, October 24, 2015
Trick-or-treat through the Please Touch Museum galleries during this members-only Halloween celebration and enjoy light refreshments, art activities, unlimited carousel rides and a spooky dance party.

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Morris Arboretum's Scarecrow Walk

Dates: Through October 25, 2015
Thirty-five scarecrows are decked out in the “Famous Art and Artists” theme at Chestnut Hill’s Morris Arboretum. Vote for your favorite!

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Trick-Or-Treating in Philly's Neighborhoods and Towns

Fall Festival and Spooky Saturday in East Passyunk

Date: Saturday, October 24, 2015
Kids, adults and even Fido 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 food trucks and local restaurants for tasty bites and seasonal beverages, rock out to live bands and shop for crafts.

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Halloween in Manayunk

Dates: Saturday, October 24, 2015
On Saturday, October 24, Manayunk celebrates Halloween with trick-or-treating, a flea market and a fall festival in Pretzel Park. Guests are encouraged to dress up in their Halloween attire. The day ends with two movie screenings - The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! at 6:30 p.m. and Evil Dead at 8 p.m.

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Trick-or-Treat Trail at Franklin Square

Date: October 25, 2015
Historic Franklin Square rolls out its annual Halloween trail made just for pint-sized trick-or-treaters. Guests, ages 10 and under, are invited to decorate a treat bag and walk the route in search of candy from trick-or-treat trail stops along the way. Participants will be given maps to help them along the way, and the activity is free for children under 10. For older revelers, Franklin Square’s decorated Spooky Mini-Golf course is the way to go.

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Spruce Hill Halloween Parade

Date: Saturday, October 31, 2015
In the tree-canopied West Philadelphia neighborhood of Spruce Hill, an annual kid-centric Halloween parade resumes its march on Halloween day. The route departs from 45th Street north of Baltimore Avenue (next to Milk and Honey) in Spruce Hill and wraps around the neighborhood. Along the route, residents welcome costumed paraders with treats, cider and festive Halloween decorations. Note that the parade will start a little earlier this year at 3:30 p.m.

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The Woodlands’ Halloween Family Fun Day

Date: Saturday, October 25, 2015
The lovely, historic and Halloween-appropriate Woodlands Cemetery and Mansion taps the inherent eeriness of its cemetery and The Mütter Museum to throw a free neighborhood Halloween party on Sunday, October 25. Throughout the day, check out a pop-up Mütter Museum, Civil War medical walking tour, a Halloween scavenger hunt, a seasonal book swap and more.

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Halloween Parades in Philadelphia’s Countryside

In addition to the host of Halloween happenings all around town, there are numerous community events beyond Center City, too. Check out the Children’s Halloween Parade in Skippack on October 17; the Halloween Parade in Phoenixville on October 24; the 50th Annual Delaware County Halloween Parade on October 24; the Kennett Square Halloween Parade on October 25; or the Mill Street Trick or Treat in Bristol on October 31.

Ghoulish Galas

Gravedigger's Ball

Date: Friday, October 16, 2015
Go black-tie glam or stylishly ghoulish to the Gravedigger’s Ball, the annual fund-raising event supporting activities at the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery. Costume contests, silent auctions, music and dancing add a touch of glitz to the evening’s unearthly celebrations.

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Fall Ball Masquerade Fundraiser

Date: Saturday, October 17, 2015
There’s no such thing as too much bling at the Fall Ball Masquerade Party, benefitting the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus. Expect dancing, dining, drinking and more.

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A Literary Costume Party at The Rosenbach

Date: Saturday, October 31, 2015
Celebrate Halloween night with a grown-up costume party at The Rosenbach. Some of the collection’s spookiest items will be on display, and those who come dressed as their favorite literary character have the chance to win spectacular prizes. Bonus: Tickets include admission to the new exhibition Down the Rabbit Hole: Celebrating 150 Years of Alice in Wonderland.

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