Celebrate Spooky Season in Austin

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Shorter days, cooler air, and the year’s most bone-chilling holiday — it’s Spooky Season, y’all.

In normal circumstances, we’d be preparing costumes and buying up all the candy we could find to get ready for Trick or Treating. But like most things in this crazy year, Halloween is going to look pretty different in 2020. 

The CDC is not recommending standard Trick or Treating this year, so we anticipate fewer ghouls and goblins roaming the streets on the night of the 31st. Instead, we’ll be looking for new ways to get some scares and have some fun.

We’ve put together a list of fun events and activities in the Austin area that you can do — safely — to celebrate Spooky Season. Check the Scare-o-Meter to see how scream-worthy each event is before you go!

Scare-o-Meter

👻 — not scary at all

👻 👻 — a little scary

👻 👻 👻 — pretty scary

👻 👻 👻 👻 — SO SCARY!

Visit Barton Hill Farms

The Barton Hill Farms Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch is in full swing, and it’s a great way to get excited for the Halloween season! This year’s 3.5-acre corn maze is all about that rascally pup Scooby Doo and his friends Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred. 

Spend a day at the pumpkin patch, playing games and getting fresh air. Then when you head home, you can watch your favorite episodes of the old cartoon with the kids. 

Get your tickets here.

Scare-o-Meter: 👻

Take an Austin Ghost Tour

If you like a little haunted history with your hair-raising October, take a walking tour downtown with Austin Ghost Tours. Learn about the ghosts of the Texas Capitol, Austin’s first hospital, the Driskill Hotel, and more. 

These tours are 90 minutes long, led by local supernatural scholars. They’re doing small tours (with masks) during COVID, plus virtual tours of Oakwood Cemetery and the Bremond Block Historic District.

Scare-o-Meter: 👻  👻

Celebrate Day of the Dead

Mexic-Arte Museum’s Day of the Dead celebration is still on this year, with some COVID modifications. While their Viva La Vida parade is cancelled for safety reasons, visitors to the museum can still enjoy the museum exhibit that highlights the return of the dead to their families from October 31st to November 2nd. 

If you prefer to stay home, the museum will also have a virtual tour of the exhibit, and a guide to  making your own paper flowers and sugar skulls.

Scare-o-Meter: 👻

Paddle under the Full Moon

This Halloween, we’re getting a rare Blue Moon. That’s when we get a full moon twice in one month. It normally only happens every two to three years, hence the saying, “Once in a blue moon.” And you can enjoy it from Lady Bird Lake during the Fab-Boo-Lous Blue Moon Paddle!

This family-friendly event will include paddle-up trick-or-treat stations, a costume contest, and a DJ for a socially distanced party. Guests must wear masks when they’re ashore, but can take them off once they get out on the water. 

This will be a fun and unique way to have a fun Halloween for everyone without going door-to door!

Scare-o-Meter: 👻

Host a Scary Movie Night

To gather with friends without getting too close, host a scary movie night in the backyard. With a projector and screen, you can host your own spook-tacular screening at home. 

If kids will be present, play something family-friendly like Hocus Pocus, Frankenweenie, The Monster Squad, or The Addams Family. For grownups, go for a classic like Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street. Or screen a new release, like La Llorona or Host (which puts a whole new spin on Zoom calls!).

Scare-o-Meter: 👻  —  👻  👻  👻  👻  (depends on how scary your flick is!)

Take a private Hearse Ghost Tour

A walking tour of haunted Austin is great, but how about riding in style in a hearse-turned-limo?

Haunted ATX hosts private hearse tours, taking you to some of Austin’s most haunted locations like the Tavern, the Clay Pit, and the Littlefield House. With a capacity of 6, these small tours let you spend a night with your family or a few close friends. And since they’ll pick you up and drop you off within a few miles of downtown, you can BYOB for a fun night out.

Scare-o-Meter: 👻  👻 

Spooky and Safe

While the kids may be disappointed to miss out on the traditional Trick or Treat, there are still fun, safe ways to enjoy Halloween in 2020. From the family-friendly to the frightening, you can always find something to do to celebrate Spooky Season in the Austin area. 

Happy haunting!