The Coolest, Spookiest Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Atlanta

A terrifying time or a terrifyingly good time.

Halloween may fall on Monday this year, but in response to that unfortunate circumstance, we have two words: so what? Like Christmas, Halloween is best celebrated all month long, and if you do so, you’ll realize that it’s really not so bad that it takes place on a school and work night. To help you make the most out of this Halloween season, here’s an early heads up that lays out some of Atlanta’s biggest, coolest, and spookiest Halloween events and activities over the next few weeks, from festivals and parades and haunted houses to special touring exhibitions and special touring exhibitions. Whatever you ultimately choose to do, don’t let “Halloween is on a Monday this year!” convince you into downplaying the most haunting time of the year to the fullest. With that said, here are 13 spooky things for you to do this Halloween in Atlanta.

Parents looking for fun and family-friendly Halloween activities should look no further than the Home Depot Backyard’s latest event, the Fall-O-Ween Fest. From Friday, October 28, to Saturday, October 29, the Fall-O-Ween Fest will supply Atlanta families with plenty of fun Halloween-themed activities—from festive 360 photo booths, Tarot card readers and psychics, and hay rides to a costume contest, appearances from Freddie Falcon and the Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders, and an epic obstacle course. The two-day event is free, but RSVPs are suggested.

Inman Park
Part of what makes Halloween so great is that it doesn’t have to actually be scary. Regardless of whether you’re super into slasher film villains or popular cartoons, you can celebrate Halloween by dressing up as whatever you want to be, and if you’re leaning in the superhero direction, Hampton + Hudson is calling your name this Halloween weekend. On Saturday, October 29, the Inman Park bar and restaurant will be hosting its “MARVELous” Halloween Party, it’ll be the perfect place to feel super this Halloween. From 8 pm to 1 am, Hampton + Hudson will have a live DJ on-hand, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies playing on the tv screens, and a comic arcade room where guests can play games. The costume contest will take place at 11 pm, so in addition to making sure you arrive at a good time, be sure to don the most MARVELous superhero costume that you can find.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition
Harry Potter: The Exhibition

From Six Flags Over Georgia’s Fright Fest to the Fernbank Museum’s Fright Night, there are some pretty great Halloween events and attractions that you can look forward to every single year, and in addition to checking those type of events out, locals should also have their eyes on temporary, one-time-only experiences—like this fall’s highly anticipated Harry Potter: The Exhibition, for example. As you would probably guess, the interactive and in-depth touring exhibition is inspired by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and it will officially open on Friday, October 21, and continue on for the next handful of months. Essentially, everyone who planned on wearing their Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, or Ravenclaw house paraphernalia for Halloween should stop by Harry Potter: The Exhibition at 200 Peachtree and really get into their witch or wizard vibe.

The best Halloween movies have certain elements and qualities that help make them so iconic, and there’s no doubt that corn mazes have become one of the most recognizable Halloween clichés. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t as cool as they appear on-screen. In fact, visiting Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch—which is a great corn maze for beginners of all ages—is an incredible way to celebrate Halloween this year, especially for friend groups. For one, it’s a considerably healthy Halloween outing that champions physical activity over eating candy, and if you visit after dark, you’ll truly understand why spooky corn mazes make it into so many classic horror flicks.

Little Five Points Halloween Parade | NateTheApe21/Flickr

Little Five Points
There’s perhaps no better neighborhood for a full-fledged Halloween festival than Little Five Points, so it only makes sense that Atlanta’s edgiest nook is the home of the city’s favorite annual spooky celebration. On Saturday, October 22, and Sunday, October 23, the Little Five Points Halloween Festival & Parade will bring ghost tours, a Bizarre Bazaar artist market, drag queen karaoke, live performances, a monster scavenger hunt, and a parade to the groovy eastside neighborhood.

Candler Park
One of the few Halloween-themed events taking place this year that will actually be held on October 31 is the Lazy Betty’s Halloween costume party, and it surprisingly makes for a great date. The 21+ event will shift away from Lazy Betty’s renowned six- and eight-course tasting menus and invite ghouls and goblins to enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres and desserts, food stations around the restaurant, a live DJ, and an open bar complete with beer, wine, and cocktails. There will also be an intuitive energy practitioner doing readings and—as the event’s name suggests—a costume contest, so you and your date can enjoy a night of good vibes, have as much great food as you can stomach, and potentially see each other in costume for the very first time. And who says Halloween can’t be romantic?

Park Tavern in Piedmont Park
Park Tavern in Piedmont Park

Park Tavern’s Maskerade Halloween Party returns on Saturday, October 29, so get ready to find the perfect mask from one of your nearby Halloween stores. The event will kick off at 9 pm and wrap up by 1 am, and there will be a pretty lucrative costume contest. With a grand prize of $500 in cash, the first-place winner of the costume contest will leave the party with way more money than they had when walking into the event, and the runner-ups in second and third place will both be awarded $150 gift certificates to Park Tavern. Attendees can also expect drink specials, a live DJ, and a live musical performance by Mo Lowda & The Humble. The first 100 tickets to this party have already sold out, so don’t wait too long before you secure tickets of your own.

Cocktails and costumes make for a great combination, so if you planned on celebrating Halloween with a cup of witch’s brew in your hand, you should seriously consider going to the Georgia Aquarium’s Halloween-themed Sips Under The Sea event. On Friday, October 28, aquatic animal lovers and Halloween fanatics can suit up in costume and head over to the Georgia Aquarium. The 21+ up event will take place after hours from 7 pm to 10 pm, and in addition to exploring the galleries and grabbing themed cocktails, attendees will get to move their bodies to the sounds from a live DJ. The super spooky overnight sleepover tickets are already sold out, so you should definitely get your VIP and general admission tickets—priced at $42.99 and $56.99, respectively—while you still can.

Ponce City Roof
Ponce City Roof

Old Fourth Ward
In recent years, The Roof at Ponce City Market has truly become a family-friendly Halloween staple in Atlanta, yet while the rooftop trick-or-treating from 11 am to 4 pm is great and all, nothing beats The Roof’s thrilling 21+ event that rages on from 5 pm to midnight. This year, Halloween on The Roof takes place on Saturday, October 29, and the adult-only party that evening is slated to be one to remember. In addition to the gorgeous views and the immediate expertly crafted cocktails—like the Spooky Smash, for example—that you’ve come to expect from The Roof, attendees will be treated to mind reading and fortune-telling activities, and tickets will also grant attendees access to Skyline Park’s fun carnival-style games.

West Midtown
Vampires and other similarly spooky monsters may typically drink blood—like loads of it—but that doesn’t mean that they don’t crave sweet treats every once in a while. That’s why Saint Germain’s mouth-watering Halloween Dessert & Wine Tasting event later this month makes for such a ghoulishly great move during the lead-up to Halloween. On October 27, the West Midtown bakery and café will be hosting a two-hour tasting from 6 pm to 8 pm, during which participants will be able to sample pairings of tempting chocolate confections and incredible French wines. Tickets are $50.

Netherworld Haunted House
Netherworld Haunted House

Creep yourself out with a Halloween classic

Stone Mountain
Of course, one of the most timeless Halloween night excursions is going to a haunted house. There’s something fun about willingly entering a creepy place that was solely created to scare you, and that’s why you should make sure you hit up a local haunted house sometime this Halloween season. Those who are comfortable with being absolutely terrified can visit 13 Stories in Newnan while horror fans with a keen interest in Stranger Things can pull up to Escape Woods in Powder Springs, and for an all-around great Halloween experience that encompasses haunts, escape rooms, and interactive spooking opportunities, look no further than Netherworld Haunted House in Stone Mountain.

Months after its Atlanta debut earlier this year, MovieBuster is back this Halloween season with Save the Video Store 2.0, a Y2K-themed horror experience. For those who didn’t attend the wonky interactive theatrical production, Save the Video Store features live actors who bring an independent movie store—and its caricature-like staff—to life, but unlike most plays or movies that you’ll see this Halloween season, you actually become a part of the production as well. Your knowledge of classic 90s and 2000s horror flicks will be tested as you experience zany plot lines and do your best to protect Atlanta’s coolest pop-up video store. Be sure to arrive thirsty, too—Cosmos, Jello-O shots, and more will be available at its 2000s-themed pop-up bar, Ruby Friday’s.

Even though Halloween falls on a Monday this year, the Halloween in the Highland Block Party in Virginia-Highland is ensuring that all local party monsters will still be able to fully let loose during Halloween weekend. On Saturday, October 29, ViHi’s Block Party will stretch from 6 pm to 2 am, and if you’re down to see if the freaks really do come out at night, make sure you pull up to Halloween in the Highland later this month. Tickets include cover-less admission to 10 Virginia-Highland establishments, complimentary shots, food and drink specials, live music, and the opportunity to enter a $500 grand prize costume contest. If you’re interested in attending, it is currently more cost-efficient to buy packages of two or more tickets than to buy solo tickets, so save some money by securing yours while they are still available at this great price.

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Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist, and Halloween is easily his favorite holiday of the year.