- 12 Halloween Events Just Creepy Enough For Tweens
- Northeast Halloween Events
- Southern Halloween Events
- Mid-West & Texas Halloween Events
- Rocky Mountains and West Coast Halloween Events
- Pin it for Later!
It can be tricky to find great Halloween activities for tweens and young teens. They’re over face painting and crafts but the really creepy haunted mansions are too intense. They roll their eyes at the Linus’s loyalty to the Great Pumpkin but Freddy Kruger will keep them awake for a week.
So, I set out to find local Halloween events across the U.S. for kids ages 11 to 15 or so. Here are 12 Halloween happenings ideal for tweens; several are fine for older or younger siblings, too, if they’re tagging along.
They should be just spooky, mysterious and unique enough to give your tweens and yourself a cool Halloween treat.
Hopefully one of these attractions is near you. But many families are looking for easy, nearby weekend getaways, too., maybe they’ll be th excuse you need for a fun autumn weekend break for the whole family!
12 Halloween Events Just Creepy Enough For Tweens
New in 2021:
• Assume that you should always buy tickets in advance—there’s no showing up last-minute during a pandemic.
• Assume your family might have to wear face masks and/or prove you’re vaccinated and that lines might take longer.
• Be patient with the people working at the entrance; they don’t make the rules.
• Scary Halloween masks are always optional.
Northeast Halloween Events
1. Event: The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Where: Croton-on-Hudson, NY (near NYC)
Bethpage, Long Island, NY (near NYC)
What: The grounds of 18th century Van Cortlandt Manor and Old Bethpage Village are transformed into a Halloween garden with a bridges, tunnels, animals, mythic creatures, even mini movie scenes made from Jack O’Lanterns.
We’ve gone to the one at Van Cortland Manor; the adults were really impressed and the two 11YOs loved it. I’d be curious to know whether they plan the displays around the historic buildings in Bethpage, which would add a nice extra bit of spooky ambience.
Tip: Sleepy Hollow —named for the famous Halloween tale set nearby—is a few-minutes drive south and a has a good selection of casual tween-friendly restaurants.
Details: It’s on this year! Plan your visit at dusk or later. The event runs from September until well into November.
2. Event: Ghost Tours of Newport
Where: Newport, RI
What: On this lantern-lit stroll down historic Newport’s more shadowy lanes folks might happen across and ghosts while ghouls while learning about Ghost Ships, Graveyard Crypts, and the more haunted corners of this harbor town.
Details: It’s on this year! Tours depart nightly, rain or shine on select nights through Halloween. Again, buy tickets in advance.
Fun Ideas for a Weekend in Newport
3. Event: Ghosts on the Banke at Strawbery Banke living history museum
Where: Portsmouth, NH
What: Dress in costumes and trick or treat among the museum’s historic homes while coming across fortune-tellers, witches and even the ghosts of long-dead pirates and sea captains.
Follow a Jack O’Lantern path, warm up by the bonfire and listen to ghost stories.
Portsmouth is the perfect size for a weekend getaway. It’s walkable, has a good selection of restaurants and hotels and has beaches and hiking nearby to round out your getaway. You might catch some New England fall foliage, too.
Details: It’s back this year! (But it’s sold out!) Typically it’s on evenings the weekend before Halloween and you need tickets well in advance. For kids 14 and younger.
Get a head start on next year: Book a great ratea on a Portsmouth hotel
4. Event: Spooky History Tour at the National Building Museum
Where: Washington, DC
What: These evening tours explore the spooky side of the building’s history. Given it’s association with Union Soldiers, its cavernous main hall and its many dark corners, it’s easy to believe it might be haunted. This is a new event since the building reopened.
Details: It’s on! Look for it during the weekends leading up to Halloween and definitely book ahead. They recommend for ages 13 and up.
More Ghost Tours Around the U.S.
Southern Halloween Events
5. Event: Kremsernacht: Outsmart the Apparition at Old Salem
Where: Winston-Salem, NC
What: This evening of mystery-solving takes plaec in the rooms and basement of single brothers’ house (where local bachelors lived), known to the be haunted by former resident Andreas Kremser. it replaces the ghost tour the folks at old Salem have done in previous years.
Details: It’s on! Tours are running on Friday and Saturday nights on the weekends leading up to Halloween. They limit it to ten people recommend it for ages 12 and up.
Find seaonal hotel deals near Old Salem
6. Event: Krewe of Boo
Where: New Orleans
What: The Big Easy’ official Halloween party has scary floats, wicked costumes and jazzy marchers tossing candy along with beads. How can you go wrong?
Details: It’s on! Usually it’s on a Saturday a week or so before Halloween. All ages and outdoors. Make sure to check what NOLA’s Covid-19 protocals are for public gatherings.
Book a family friendly French Quarter Hotel to be near everything
Mid-West & Texas Halloween Events
7. Event: The Night of 1,000 Pumpkins
Where: The Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, IL
What: Exactly 1,000 LED-lit pumpkins blaze a trail throught the gardens. Arrive at dusk to appreciat the fall foliage and flowers along with the elaborately carved pumpkins.
Details: It’s on! But alas, capacity is still reduced and it sells out fast. It runs in the evening over two weekends in October.
8. Event: Williamson Museum’s Ghost Tours of Georgetown Square
Where: Georgetown, TX (near Austin)
What: Costumed docents lead tour-goers around the town, telling the stories of the ghosts who have haunted local places for more than a hundred years.
Details: It’s on! Tours are in the evenings on the Fridays in October and the First Friday in November.
Check in to a Georgetown Hotel with free breakfast and a pool
9. Event: The Dia De Los Muertos River Parade
Where: The River Walk, San Antonio, TX
What: Mexico’s Day of the Dead is celebrated with myriad festivals all over this southern Texas town. Floats with the brightly colors and giants skulls associated with the Mexican rendition of Halloween glide along the riverwalk bringing bright lights to the dark October evening.
Details: It’s on! It happens on the Friday evening before Halloween. Even though it’s outdoors you do need tickets. If you are bringing younger siblngs along be aware that strollers and carriers aren’t permitted.
Read More: 5 Top Family Attractions in San Antonio
10. Event: Pumpkin Nights
Where: Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
What: 3,000 synthetic pumpkins carved to fit various creative themes (think Great Pumpkin Reef and Dia de Los Muertos) along a half-mile trail. There’s food, seasonal movies, scavenger hunts and other activities.
Details: It’s on!! It runs at both locations in the evenings from late September through October 29. Arrive after dark for the best experience.
Some Pumpkin Nights cancelled again! Pumpkin nighst in California and Colorado cities are promising to return in 2022.
Rocky Mountains and West Coast Halloween Events
11. Event: Fall at Gaylord Rockies
Where: Aurora, CO.
What: Gaylord hotels make the most of their sprawling resorts when holidays roll around. Gaylord Rockies Resort has a full roster of Halloween fun, some of which you can buy tickets for even if you aren’t a hotel guest.
Tweens will be particularly interested in a Hiddent Treasure Escape Room, a haunted ghost tour of the hotel and showing of the classic thriller Poltergeist. Both you and the tweens can head to the Wicked Brews Spookeasy to sip Halloween themed cocktails (try the corpse reviver) and mocktails in pub where everything seems just a little bit off kilter.
Details: It’s On! Most of the activities are scheduled multiple times on weekends throughout October, so getting tickets isn’t as hard as for some other events.
Take advantage of all activities and a great pool: Book a room at the Gaylord
12. Event: Halloween Film Series at the Rooftop Cinema Club
Where: Rooftop Cinema Club outdoor theaters in Los Angeles & San Diego
What: Throughout the month of October RCC shows a wide range of movies that celebrate the mysterious, creepy, scary and just plain weird. Take your tweens to Jurassic Park, Back to the Future or give them a healthy dose of Tim Burton. Younger Tweens will still enjoy Harry Potter and Coco. Older tweens and teens can try the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Shawn of the Dead.
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Photos courtesy of the respective event organizers.