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Getting Into the Halloween Spirit

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

Photo courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary. By Krystie Marcellus.

Halloween was a bit tricky last year. So this year treat yourself by getting into the Halloween spirit at these family-friendly and adult-oriented Halloween celebrations taking place in the city and the surrounding communities.


Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Zoo.

Boo at the Zoo - This family-oriented, outdoor event is scheduled for October 23 & 24 and 29 through 31. Animal lovers are encouraged to come in costume to enjoy spooky decor, photo ops and a not-scary extinction graveyard. Last chance to see Big Time, the dinosaur exhibit, which ends on October 31.

Fall Fest & Spooky Saturday -- The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District is throwing a neighborhood festival with entertainment, a free costume photo booth (for kids, adults and pets), grab and go pumpkins, a digital scavenger hunt, trick-or-treating at local businesses, 40+ craft vendors, sidewalk sales and seasonal food and drink. On October 30 on the streets surrounding the iconic Singing Fountain.

Halloween Parades - For a real treat, don a costume and go to Halloween parades in Skippack on October 23 and Ambler on October 30.

Photo courtesy of Franklin Square. By SSM Photography.

Franklin Square -- Spooky mini golf returns to Franklin Square. The Philadelphia-themed miniature golf course will be decorated with fog, lights, music and spooky surprises. Timed tickets are needed. While you’re there, stop to see the free show at the Fountain. The fountain performance, which runs every 30 minutes, features lights choreographed to inspirational music. Through October 31. On October 30, little ones aged 10 and under are invited to participate in Trick or Treat Street. Free but registration required.

Glencairn Museum - Myth & Magic at the Museum, a Harry Potter-inspired event returns to this Bryn Athyn museum on October 31. A scavenger hunt has been added this year. Bryn Athyn, PA.

Hellerick's Family Farm - Stay busy all day with 40+ activities including two corn mazes, hayrides, a pumpkin patch, corn chute slides, live goats, a tractor pull and the sunflower field. Open until November 7. Doylestown, PA.

Norristown Farm Park - It's "trick or trails" for this outdoor Halloween event on October 23. Costumes are optional and sneakers are recommended for this holiday celebration, which includes safe and healthy prizes for kids. Norristown, PA.

Photo courtesy of Peddler's Village.

Peddler's Village - Now through October 30, you can check out the 100+ scarecrows decorating Peddler's Village in Lahaska and vote for your favorites. Lahaska, PA.

The Bourse - Watch Hocus Pocus on the 5th Street patio at this food hall across from Independence National Historical Park. This PG-rated movie will be shown on Friday nights leading up to Halloween. Halloween-themed food and drink will be available from select vendors.

Linvilla Orchards - Don't miss Pumpkinland, home to themed hayrides, a corn maze, a jack-o-lantern exhibit and petting zoo. A great place to pick out the perfect pumpkin. Media, PA.


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Creamy Acres Farm - Ready for Night Terror at the Farm? A haunted hayride, scary outdoor walk-through and paintball fight with hordes of zombies are sure to give you goosebumps. Plus pumpkin picking, a cornfield maze, a barnyard and more. Mullica Hill, NJ.

Shady Brook Farm - Enjoy pumpkin picking, a hay maze and a Halloween light show at this Bucks County farm. Plus Barn of Horror and Alien Encounter. Yardley, PA.

Sesame Place - For a not-so-scary Halloween celebration, visit Sesame Place for trick-or-treating around the park, Halloween-themed shows, a scarecrow scavenger hunt and more. Don't miss the Halloween drive-through until October 27 and the Halloween Costume Contest on October 31. Langhorne, PA.

Howloween 5k & Dog Walk - This event will be a real treat for dogs! The 7th annual 5k and 1 mile dog walk takes place on October 30 at Parkside Place Park in North Wales. Proceeds benefit Last Dog Rescue. In-person and virtual.

For Adults

Photo courtesy of Laurel Hill Cemetery. By Rob Cardillo.

Laurel Hill Cemetery - What could be spookier than a cemetery on Halloween? Especially at night! Sign up for the Soul Crawl: Nighttime History Tour at Laurel Hill Cemetery, if you dare. This guided flashlight tour focuses on the historic cemetery’s history and some of the liveliest spirits buried there. The two-hour tour is followed by refreshments and cocktails by blazing fire pits. October 22 and 23. Tickets needed. And those who relish a good ghost story should sign up for True Tales From the Tombs. Storytellers will share real tales from Laurel HIll’s tombs and a walk through the tombstones and mausoleums. October 30.

Eastern State Penitentiary - The prison turn tourist attraction is mixing it up this year with a new experience called Halloween Night. From now through November 13, you can visit 15 attractions at Eastern State Penitentiary including 4 haunted houses, 1 immersive walk through experience, 3 live, interactive experiences, 4 themed bars and lounges and more. The attractions have different levels of scariness including options for kids. Ask about the VIP ticket, which provides access to the speakeasy in Al Capone's cell and the Bloodline Lounge.

Photo courtesy of McGillin's Olde Ale House.

McGillin's Olde Ale House - Philadelphia's oldest continuously operating bar doesn't just decorate for Halloween, it has real ghosts. For a real treat, get to know its resident spirits, and stay for fall and Halloween-themed spirits - like a pumpkin martini, apple pumpkin shandy and fall harvest cosmo. On Halloween night (October 31), the historic bar is hosting scaraoke (costumed karaoke) starting at 9 p.m. with prizes and drink specials. 1310 Drury Street (off 13th between Chestnut & Sansom).

Halloween Pop Up Bar Nightmare Before Tinsel - A bar meets Halloween and the result is a 1,400-square-foot horror house with extreme decor depicting a Devil’s Lair and concoctions like Blood Bag Espolon Blanco, Orange Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Red Bull), Hot As Hell (Bluebird Dark Rum, Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur, Edible Glitter) and seasonal beers. At 116 S. 12th Street.

Dia de los Muertos dinner at Sor Ynez - This Mexican holiday, which falls just after Halloween, and is a celebration and appreciation of those who have passed. Sor Ynez is holding a Day of the Dead dinner on 11/2 from 6 to 9 pm. The meal will be served family style and paired with craft cocktails, tequila and mezcal. Tickets are available here. 1800 N. American Street, Kensington.

And if your pumpkin isn't with you this Halloween, send a treat from the Pennsylvania General Store. You'll find a Spooky Halloween Tower made of Halloween-themed Tastykakes, boxes of John & Kira's dark chocolate pumpkins filled with caramel and fall spices and a Fall Tray of chocolate covered pretzels, autumnal chocolate nonpareils and dark chocolate covered oreos. Available in-stores at Reading Terminal Market and in Elkins Park and online. Nothing tricky about that!

You're sure to scare up some fun at these Halloween events and attractions in the city and the suburbs.


by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. For signed copies, click here. Use promo code TheCityPulse for free shipping.

For more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including information about new attractions, retailers and restaurants and a list of rooftop bars click here.

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