- 11 Halloween Things To Do Creepy Enough For Tweens & Teens
- 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 teens. They’re over face painting and crafts but the really creepy haunted mansions might be 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!
11 Halloween Things To Do Creepy Enough For Tweens & Teens
• Assume that you should buy tickets in advance—these events can sell sell out way ahead.
• Check the rules on face masks; some venues still require them.
• Be patient with the people working at the entrance; they don’t make the rules.
• Check the rules to see if costumes are encouraged or not allowed at all.
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 Halloween gardens 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: Plan your visit at dusk or later. The event runs from September until well into November.
• Book a room at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel & Convention Center so you can splash in the indoor pool before heading home.
2. Phantoms by Firelight at Old Sturbridge Village
Where: Sturbridge, MA (midway between Springfield and Worcester)
What: After dark find your way through the Colonial Village by waterlamp, torch or candle. Listen to spooky folklore and stumble upon a troupe of acrobats, conjurors and jugglers perfoming by firelight.
There’s seasonal food, bonfires and a candy themed treasure hunt for younger visitors.
Tip Costumes are encourage here and not just for the kids.
Details: every Friday through Sunday inOctober, plus Halloween
• After an evening of spooky merriment, rest your weary bones at the Publicke House Historic Inn
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: Typically it’s on evenings the weekend before Halloween and you need tickets well in advance. For kids 14 and younger.
• Enjoy a harbor view steps fromthe museum at the Sheraton Harborside 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: Look for it on select week nights annd weekends leading up to Halloween and definitely book ahead. They recommend these for ages 13 and up.
• 10 Fun Washington, D.C. Activities You Might Not Know About
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• The Historic Hay-Adams is the hotel most likely to add a ghost to your weekend.
Southern Halloween Events
5. 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: Usually it’s on a Saturday a week or so before Halloween. All ages and outdoors.
Book Omni Royal Orleans for a French Quarter architecture and a rooftop pool.
Mid-West & Texas Halloween Events
6. 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 runs in the evening over two weekends in mid-October. But capacity is still reduced and it sells out fast. If you snag tickets, be ready to pay for parking.
7. Event: Williamson Museum’s Ghost Tours
Where: Georgetown, TX (near Austin)
What: The museum is offering two different ghost tours ths year, plus a haunted happy hour for the 21+ crowd (do I hear date night?) The First Friday Ghost Tour is a “historically accurate” stroll through the spooky side of this small town.
For the Ghosts of Georgetown square, 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. Some of these might be Texas-tall tales (or not…who can say?).
Details:Tours are in the evenings on select Fridays through October and early November.
8. 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. But the most impressive is this parade where floats with the bright colors and giants skulls glide along the riverwalk bringing bright lights to the dark October night.
Details: 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.
9. 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 runs at both locations in the evenings from late September through the last Sunday night in October. Arrive after dark for the best experience.
Rocky Mountains and West Coast Halloween Events
10. 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 classic thrillers like 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: 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
11. 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 Beetlejuice, The Addams Family or Ghostbusters. Give the whole family a healthy dose of Tim Burton.
Younger Tweens will still enjoy Monsters Inc. or Coco. Older tweens and teens can try the Rocky Horror Picture Show and classic thrillers like The Shining.
Reserve a cool L.A. hotel room to make movie night part of a weekend mini-break.
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Photos courtesy of the respective event organizers.