13 Spooky Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Atlanta This Year

Mask up!

The one day when ghouls, goblins, ghosts, and children can all have a blast is steadily approaching. The backbone of October and the peak of spooky season, Halloween is one of those holidays that get everyone excited—from kids yearning to go trick-or-treating to adults braving the horror of haunted houses. 

Although we’re several months deep into a pandemic, the spirit of Halloween is strong this year, so even as we all continue to adapt to the health and safety guidelines encouraged by the CDC, rest assured that there are still plenty—in true Halloween fashion, 13 to be exact—of virtual, outdoor, and socially distanced shindigs for you to get into the spirit. This year is the last time that Halloween will land on a Saturday until 2026, so take advantage of the moment and safely enjoy the holiday with these FOMO-inducing events and activities.

Bring the family to a Halloween festival

Buckhead Village
One of the major concerns that many parents likely have this Halloween is how to leverage the safety of trick-or-treating and the candy-fueled desires of their little ones. But Buckhead Village is making things a bit easier for families by hosting a Halloween festivities from 12-4pm. Kids can enjoy pumpkin painting, pre-packaged candy stations, and complimentary Halloween cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes. There will also be live music, retail pop-ups, Halloween-themed cocktails for adults, and even your pup can get in on the action and participate in the dog costume contest. It’s a chillingly good win for everyone.

Trick-or-treat on the roof of Ponce City Market

Old Fourth Ward
In all honesty, there’s likely no escaping the anticipation of dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating from your children altogether, so quench that thirst for sugar by bringing them to the Ponce City Market’s Roof. From 11am-3pm, families can come enjoy complimentary popcorn and cotton candy, real deal trick-or-treating, and other fun Halloween activities spread throughout Skyline Park. Come dressed up in your Halloween best and prepared to pay admission—$15 for adults and $7 for kids.

Head back to Ponce City Market after you drop the kids off

Old Fourth Ward
After the kids have their fun on The Roof, it’ll be your turn to celebrate Halloween in a more mature, alcohol-fueled fashion. For those 21 and up looking for an open-air costume party, head back to Ponce City Market and travel to The Roof for great food, drinks, complimentary popcorn and cotton candy (sweets aren’t just for kids!), and live DJing courtesy of DJ Xavier Blk. Admission is $20, so get ready to dance all night in your “mature audiences only” costume.

Take a tour of Georgia’s creepiest ghost stories

For some, Halloween isn’t Halloween with a fair share of scares. Sure, you could stay home and  face the scariest movie that you can find on Netflix, but where’s the fun in that? Rather than diving head-first into a fictional world of horror, you can take a virtual tour of the ghost stories and creepy tales that originated only a few miles away from where you sleep. For $15, Unexpected Virtual Tours is offering a special virtual Halloween tour that introduces participants to the horrors of Georgia—from Oakland Cemetery to Lake Lanier. You can also upgrade your tour experience with their crafted Trick-or-Treat Box for $29.99. 

Try to escape an inevitable doom

Five Points, Mall of Georgia
In that same vein, there are few things scarier than being trapped in a confined space for an hour, so for those looking to test their survival skills in the face of Halloween horrors like evil witches and viscous zombies, you owe yourself a trip to Paranoia Quest. With two locations, people from all over Metro Atlanta can easily access Paranoia’s hour-long scares. In adherence to new health and safety guidelines, all escape room sessions are now private games, meaning it’s all up to you, your family, and your close friends to brave a zombie apocalypse, solve a murder mystery, or succesfully hunt down a group of evil witches. Slots will sell out fast, so act quickly to secure your session.

Willingly let people scare the sh*t out of you

Stone Mountain
If all else fails, trained Halloween professionals can definitely get a scream out of you, and no haunted house does it better than Atlanta’s beloved Netherworld. Although it’s making a return this year with reduced available tickets and timed entry due to the pandemic, Netherworld is still bringing the scares with two haunting attractions—Halloween Nightmares and Cyborg Shock. With tickets starting at $35, you can’t go wrong with exploring either attraction at Netherworld’s new Stone Mountain location.

Pull up to a drive-in drag show

If your costume inspiration is somewhere between Mean Girls and The Conjuring, then the Shalloween drive-in drag show is calling your name. From 8-10:30pm, attendees can pull up to Edgewood to enjoy horror-inspired drag from local performers such as Ada Manzhart, Dotte Com, Iv Fischer, Molly Rimswell, TJ Maxxx, and many more. Food and drinks will be handled by Ammazza and, at intermission, attendees can get in on the action and participate in Shalloween’s costume contest.

Party all night at a virtual music festival

Halloween is a holiday that’s practically made for partying, and Lotus Rosery—the city’s favorite underground music platform—is hosting one of its own on Halloween night. Its virtual Halloween festival will feature new pre-recorded performances from artists such as Kalen Bree, Cam The Artisan, Tahj Keeton, Lord Bones, Mercury and Seline Haze, and there will also be plenty of sponsored giveaways and contests for virtual attendees. For those looking for a safe at-home music experience, Lotus Rosery’s Halloween Festival is sure to be a hit.

Go camping and vibe out to live music

Another nontraditional music event happening on Halloween—and all weekend long, in fact—is Camp ‘n Trip, a small outdoor music festival in the woods 45 minutes north of Atlanta. The woods are a recurring motif in scary movies, so the festival’s setting is as Halloween as it gets. Raury, the local indie artist behind 2015’s massive hit “God’s Whisper” headlines the festival, and great supporting acts like Trent in the Trees, Willie Hyn, and Mika Means round out the line-up. In addition to the musical performances, it’s literally a camping trip, meaning relaxing activities like swimming, nature hikes, yoga, and meditation are also on the docket.

Stunt in your spookiest Halloween costume 

West End
If you’re a Halloween fanatic, cosplay aficionado, or a real-life superhero in disguise, then sporting an intricate and well-done costume is probably your main objective on October 31. Best End Brewery’s Halloween event boasts one of the city’s most thorough costume contests. From 6-10pm, contenders will compete to win prizes and the titles for the spookiest costume, funniest costume, and best dynamic duo costume. Even if you don’t want to enter any of the contests, sporting a costume earns you a $3 pilsner, so head over to  the brewery to enjoy a night of live music, ghoulish grub, and bubbling beers.

Solve a horrific mystery over dinner

For those who value actual food over candy, the Iberian Pig is bringing back its fourth annual murder mystery dinner to Zoom. Instead of piling into the Buckhead location, attendees can pick up the Halloween Tapas food and drink package and head home to remotely enjoy the thrilling murder mystery live-stream. The one-day special—which packs the meeting link, a bottle of wine, broccolini, kale salad, patatas bravas, Ibérico mac and cheese, and pork cheek tacos all for $100—serves two, making it a great date night for you and the special Halloween enthusiast in your life.

Watch a burlesque show at RoleCall Theater

Old Fourth Ward
Another Halloween experience at Ponce City Market worth checking out is RoleCall Theater’s Roxie Roz Burlesque Show. From 9pm to midnight, there will be stand-up comedy sets, drag performances, and a costume contest. Tickets are $25 when purchased online in advance and $30 at the door on Halloween, so act early if you wish to experience the striptastic fun of the Roxie Roz Burlesque Show.

Cover your face for a spooky maskerade

No, that’s not a typo! Considering that all of us are (hopefully!) wearing our masks on a daily basis, Park Tavern decided to give its Halloween masquerade party a title worthy of the times. Following COVID-19 safety guidelines by only offering a limited amount of tickets, the 21+ Maskerade takes place from 9pm-2am, with a modest $20 entry fee. Park Tavern looks to prove that wearing a mask can be fun with a Halloween party that has it all—drink specials, live music, and Halloween-themed activities.

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Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist, who covers food, events, music, and culture in his home city.