Philadelphia’s never been one to skimp on the Halloween parties. This city starts celebrating All Hallow’s Eve well before October 31 rolls around, with tons of Halloween events happening the weekend before. This year’s offerings include pub crawls through some of the best bars in Philadelphia, family-friendly block parties, Day of the Dead events at Philadelphia museums and soirees at Philadelphia nightclubs going all night with dancing, boozing and costume contests. Check our guide to the best Halloween events below to start your planning.
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Best Halloween events 2017
At Philly Improv Theater’s Horror Comedy show, you can sit, stay and watch the city’s finest comedians play dead—all with seriously hilarious results. Every show is a unique experience as the troupe acts out classic horror film tropes mixed with audience suggestions that can run the gory gamut from axe murderers to zombie apocalypses.
Hosted by the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, this two-night Halloween party celebrates all the project does to fight the stigma against HIV/AIDS. Thursday, attend a decadent three-course seated wine dinner courtesy of Joshua’s Catering, Feast Your Eyes, 12th Street Catering and Moore Brothers Wine Company. With performances by Patsy Ratchett, Jeannie Brooks and Heath Allen. Friday is all about funky fun with a debaucherous dance party replete with complimentary beer, signature cocktails, snacks, a performance by the always-provocative Brian Sanders’ JUNK and dancing courtesy of DJ Sharyn Stone.
While the Mütter Museum is scary enough on its own (we’re looking at you, Soap Lady), the popular hall of medical oddities is amping up the creepy factor this Halloween with the third annual Mischief party. General admission tickets include access to the museum, an open bar and snacks while VIP tickets include a 13-course themed dinner at the museum’s one-night-only secret supper club that promises “delectably devious dishes and myriad mysterious performers” with lots of scary surprises along the way.
Shane Confectionery, America’s oldest continuously operating confectionery, is hosting a haunted house that aims to give you goosebumps and, in the tradition of Halloween, send you packing with some old-world sweets. The event includes a 45-minute candlelit tour through the Victorian-era candy store’s showroom and kitchens where you’ll encounter a cast of creepy characters who will school you on the history of candy—namely how it was used to disguise the terrible taste of medicine back in the day—before dropping a couple pieces in your hand and sending you on your way. In the end, you’ll leave with a bounty of the sweets that you learned about—like Dark and Stormy Bon-Bons—and a belly full of a curious glowing liquid concoction called Hair of the Dog.
Halloween goes glam at Maison 208 this year. The newly opened Washington Square West rstaurant and bar, in all its retractable roof glory, is hosting a tequila-infused costume party with specialty cocktails made with Casamigos Tequila, passed hors d’oeuvres, prizes and music you can dance to. You must be 21+ to attend.
See South Street in the light of day for once and head out to their annual PumpkinFest. The South Street Headhouse District will host an all-day block party complete with live music, a straw-bale maze, circus performances, horse and wagon rides, face painting, shopping and lots of seasonal treats and brews. Kids under 12 can also trick-or-treat at neighboring businesses so bring those pillowcases.
With “spirited” cocktails for the adults, dog treats for the pets and candy for the kids, East Passyunk Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday has something scary-fun for everyone. Pumpkin decorating, arts and crafts, live music, costume contests are also on tap. Businesses between the Singing Fountain and Mifflin Triangle will be open to trick-or-treaters—so don’t forget to dress up the kiddos.
A couple of days before trick or treat, let the little ones slip into their costumes for Linvilla Orchards’s annual procession, which features area kids—and the occasional mutt— decked out in their Halloween best. When they’re not parading, the young attendees can take part in all kinds of fun activities, such as a meet-and-greet with Spider-Man, a dance party led by Makin’ Music and more. Just don’t let them get their getup too ruffled: After the parade, prizes are doled out to best-costume winners in six age groups.
It’s a win-win in Ardmore this Halloween weekend. While parents shop at the cute boutiques, kids can stockpile treats at each. Pick up a bag at Schauffele Plaza and follow the “trick-or-treat trail” to McShea’s, where all the little ghouls and goblins will get a special treat. Stick around for the mini-parade, crafts and costume contest, too.
Ditch the dark side of Halloween and head to the Penn Museum for a festive Dia de los Muertos celebration. Together with the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia and the Mexican Cultural Center, the museum is hosting a kid-friendly day of sugar-skull painting, tissue paper flower making, puppets, face painting, costume contests and gallery tours. Anyone dressed in traditional Day of the Dead garb can walk in the parade. Sample traditional sweet “pan de muerto” buns and spicy hot chocolate. Don’t miss the Ballet Folklorico Yaretzi performing traditional Mexican folk dances and Radio Jarocho & Zenen Zeferino for “the skeletons come to the fandango.”
Halloween and history go hand-in-hand at the Museum of the American Revolution this year. A three-day-long celebration includes kid’s Revolutionary costume parades (and $2 off admission), ghost stories wtih a costumed museum educator, crafts and candy. There’s also a collaborative symphony project with composer Tod Machover and a Halloween Day lunch lecture called “What to do with a Dead Hessian,” a cheeky look back on what citizens did with the dead during the war.
The only thing better than singing karaoke at Yakitori Boy is winning free bottle service and gift cards for your hype Halloween costume. The beloved izakaya karaoke bar is hosting two nights of costume parties, $7 drink specials, and tasty snacks. The folks at Captain Morgan will be on hand to award complimentary bottle service to the best dressed Captain on Saturday night.
Party monsters take note: the Trestle Inn is the place to do the Monster Mash this Halloween. Their annual disco dance party comes complete with a free King Kong vs. Godzilla screening, a complimentary cocktail, costume contest, Go Go by Trestle Specials Connie Love and Ruby Tuesday, and DJs lil' dave and Billa spinning disco all night long.
Enjoy no covers, drink specials, costume contests and a Center City coupon book during the Devil’s Bar Crawl—all for the cost of a $10 admission (note that that doesn’t include drinks). You’ll hit over 50 locations all over Center City, each with their own atmosphere and specials. Participating bars include Fox & Hound, Milkboy, Misconduct Tavern, Rybrew, Tattooed Mom, City Tap House and Devil’s Alley.
The beloved Halloween bash returns for a 4th year and promises to be more extra than ever. This year, the globally recognized dance party is taking over the entire FringeArts building, complete with LGBTQ DJs, drag, burlesque, live music, a photo booth and, of course, OOT Halloween costumes all night long. You must be 21-plus.
Set sail on the spooky seas aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia this Halloween weekend. The city’s premier cruise ship is rocking a late-night dance party hosted by WMMR’s favorite DJ Jacky Bam Bam. Indulge in a moonlight buffet, fully stocked cash bar and scariest costume contest. You’ll get killer views of the Philly skyline and a chance to win prizes all night long.
Glow guests can expect to see more than 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins—real ones as well as ones molded from real pumpkins—in West Fairmount Park at Avenue of the Republic and States Drive. Jack’s artists have prepared single jack ‘o lanterns for guests’ viewing pleasure, featuring the likenesses of celebrities, sports icons, flowers and animals, as well as grand-scale jack o’lantern scenes in a variety of themes from prehistoric to oceanic. The carvers will be on hand to demonstrate their handiwork.
Legend has it that Bram Stoker jotted down initial notes for Dracula on original Hyatt at the Bellevue stationery. To celebrate this auspicious-cool connection, the hotel’s XIX restaurant will host a Halloween-inspired prix-fixe dinner and screen the classic 1931 Dracula movie in all its macabre glory. Guests can munch on complimentary homemade popcorn and sip spooky-themed cocktails from the XIX Restaurant Bar.
If the idea of a Wednesday-morning hangover after a Halloween rager is more terrifying than any snaggle-toothed clown in a gutter, Kensington Quaters and Prohibition Taproom have you covered. The pair is hosting a costume-and-candy-optional chilled out cider tasting night. Indulge in natural, terroir-driven ciders on tap and by the bottle and some serious food by some of Philly’s best chefs, including Sam Jacbonson from Stargazy, Ari Miller of Food Underground and Watkins Drinkery, Michael O’lone of Vernick and Nich Bazik of The Good King Tavern.
Despite the name, you won’t find any hacks at this scary-funny show at Good Good. See Philadelphia’s funniest “rip off” 30 of the greatest (living and dead) performers of all time. In addition to the impersonations, hosts Charles Blyzniuk and Alex Grubard will lead a costume contest. And best of all? This bash—like all shows at Good Good—is BYOB.
If you’re searching for “an air of mystery and elegance” this Halloween, your search ends here. aMuse is hosting a DJ dance party, costume contest, themed cocktails (the Smashing Pumpkin, a vodka, pumpkin spice, passion fruit and anise concoction sounds particularly dangerous), small bites and complimentary masquerade masks. Gift certificates will be awarded to the sexiest, funniest, most original and best overall costume, so dress to impress.
Check out the best haunted houses in Philadelphia
No Halloween season is complete without a visit to the haunted house at Eastern State Penitentiary. The abandoned prison gets an unsettling upgrade with over 200 performers in six separate attractions using Hollywood-quality special effects, lighting, sound, props and animatronics designed to startle you straight into Thanksgiving.
Enter an eerie world of terror at this year’s Fright Factory, a 25,000-square-foot haunted attraction situated inside a creepy old building in South Philadelphia. New for 2017 are three separate haunted experiences—Industrial Nightmare, Silent Scream Asylum and Fright Factory Unearthed—that put you face-to-face with ghouls like meat-cleaver–wielding butchers, drill-happy dentists, and giant spiders and bugs.