Events

15 Spooky Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Philly This Year

Mask up!

As one of the oldest cities in the country, it’s only natural that Philadelphia might have a few ghosts lurking around. As Halloween approaches, you may be looking to get into the spooky spirit with bar crawls, dance parties, and haunted houses. But alas, the spooky season may look a bit different this year for safety’s sake. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a few good scares and seasonal activities. Here’s how to get your tricks and treats while staying safe, through outdoor, socially distanced, and virtual events.

Go on a spooky walking tour of a suburban town

Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31
Haddonfield, New Jersey
Just a quick trip over the bridge in New Jersey is the picturesque town of Haddonfield, where they’re holding haunted 45-minute walking tours. You’ll stroll through a cemetery, on brick paths, and by historical landmarks, learning about the spooky tales of the suburban town’s past. Tours are limited to 25 people and you must wear a facial covering. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight!
Cost: $10-15

See if a Revolutionary War fort is really haunted

Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31
Fort Mifflin
One of the only intact Revolutionary War battlefields is home to many ghosts—meet them face-to-face in the attraction’s popular candlelight tour. The hour long tour traverses the grounds and barracks. New for this year: You and a group of 15 to 25 people can take a candlelight tour and hang out in the soldiers’ barracks for an hour and a half. Advanced ticketing is highly recommended, as are costumes on Halloween.
Cost: $15-20

Tour a colonial house after dark

Friday, October 30
Betsy Ross House
The abode of the country’s first flagmaker hosts Friday night twilight tours which includes true, gruesome tales of bloodletting, smallpox, yellow fever in the city, and details how 18th-century Philadelphia was such an infectious place to be. 
Cost: $10

Head to South Philly for fall fun

Through Saturday, October 31
East Passyunk Avenue
Instead of the massive festivals of years’ past, the businesses on East Passyunk are opting for a socially distanced way of celebrating Halloween. In the week leading up to Halloween, wander up and down the Ave for a digital scavenger hunt, looking in the windows of various businesses for clues. Then fill up on seasonal meals and bevs at local restaurants. On Halloween itself, kids can pick up free prepackaged goodie bags at Society Hill Dance Academy and the driveway of the South Philadelphia Older Adult Center.
Cost: Pay-as-you-go

Delight in a Scream Queen-themed drag show

Wednesday, October 28
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
It’s Halloween and the looks are sickening. RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Ariel Versace hosts a seasonal drag show at Vera featuring Chasity St. Cartier, Volkie Versace, Asia Monroe, and Vickie Versace. Expect tricks, treats, and death drops. Masks are mandatory except when you’re at your table.
Cost: $15 cover

Go to the orchestra without leaving your house

Friday, October 30
Online
For something more symphonic than scary, the Philadelphia Orchestra perform its annual Halloween family concert featuring a program of familiar seasonal tunes. While the orchestra will perform live at the Kimmel Center, audiences will have the opportunity to stream the concert from their homes, which means costumes are more than encouraged. Ticket holders will have 72 hours to watch the performance on demand, too.
Cost: $15

Stream some mythological stories about monsters and demons

Friday, October 30
Online
The Penn Museum is famous for informing guests about ancient cultures and artifacts (it is home to the largest ancient Egyptian sphinx in the Western Hemisphere) and for Halloween, they’re throwing a virtual storytelling event detailing the origins of monsters like vampires and werewolves. Get the link for the two-hour streaming extravaganza after you sign up.
Cost: $10

Get your scream on at a local haunted attraction

Select dates through Sunday, November 1
Various locations
The pandemic is scary enough, but it can’t stop the fear from flowing at these local haunted attractions. Among this year’s offerings are the terrifying Bates Motel in Glen Mills, Night of Terror at Creamy Acres in Mullica Hill, Fright Factory in South Philly, Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres in Newtown, and Pennhurst Asylum in Spring City. All haunted attractions have new safety precautions, such as temperature checks at the door, mandatory masks, limited capacity, and advanced ticketing.
Cost: Prices vary

Pretend your life is The Nightmare Before Christmas

Through Sunday, November 1
Washington Square
Tinsel, the holiday-themed pop-up bar which made our days merry and bright this summer, returns for the Halloween season as Nightmare Before Tinsel. Expect spooky-themed food and drinks, over-the-top asylum-themed decor, tricks, treats, social distancing, and more. You’ll have to buy tickets ahead of time, which include a drink and food item (like the appropriately named cocktail Blood Bag), and a set time limit for your dining experience.
Cost: $15-20

Sip on boozy potions

Through Sunday, November 1
Midtown Village
For another themed drinking experience, Midtown Village’s Haunt Halloween cocktail bar returns with a menu of spellbinding concoctions, stellar decorations, and plenty of opportunities to dress in costume. Just remember the most essential Halloween accessory of all: a mask.  
Cost: Pay-as-you-go

Let the kids show off their Halloween costumes to lions and monkeys

Weekends through Sunday, November 1
Philadelphia Zoo
Only once a year can the little ones dress up in their Halloween costumes and explore the zoo. Boo At The Zoo, the whimsical tradition of animal gazing while in full costume, returns for three weekends in October, complete with candy, a not-so-spooky safari, pumpkin displays, and seasonal food and drink. Yup, you’ve got to wear a mask, adhere to social distancing, and purchase a ticket ahead of time.
Cost: $19-24

Swap candy for wine

Through Sunday, November 1
Online
In the Before Times, Halloween at Chaddsford Winery meant trick-or-treating around the vineyard for some wine. This year, you’ll have the opportunity to create your own experience at home. First, order your Adult Trick-or-Treat Wine kit online any time before November 1 and pick it up at the winery or their Peddler’s Village tasting room. Then, take your pairing guide and pick up the recommended treats you need to pair with your three included wines (Spiced Apple, Traminette, and Harbinger). Snack away!
Cost: $49

Lean into the season at Pumpkinland

Through Sunday, November 8
Linvilla Orchards
Nothing says Halloween quite like picking up a pumpkin and going on a hayride. Linvilla Orchards’ annual fall extravaganza, Pumpkinland, returns again this year for hayrides through the orchards, apple picking, corn maze, a jack-o-lantern exhibit, and tons of other seasonal goodness. Advanced tickets are required for hayrides, pony rides, mazes, and other activities, but if you’re just coming to see the sights, pick apples, or pumpkins, come at your leisure. Masks, of course, are required.
Cost: Pay-as-you-go

Explore the abandoned cell blocks of the world’s first penitentiary

Through Sunday, November 15
Eastern State Penitentiary
Ordinarily, Eastern State’s Terror Behind The Walls, famous for its terrifying actors, costumes, and eerie atmosphere (not to mention the fact that it’s based in a former prison), draws a huge turnout. Due to the pandemic, however, they’re opting for a more low-key affair, offering self-guided audio tours through the cell blocks after dark. The imposing structure will be lit by dramatic lighting, large-scale videos will be projected on the walls, and more. Just remember to buy your tickets ahead of time and wear your mask.
Cost: $19-32

Learn about the city’s haunted past

Through Monday, November 30
Various locations
If you ever thought Historic Philadelphia might be home to a few spirits, you wouldn’t be alone. This nighttime ghost tour takes you through back streets and secret gardens of Independence National Park, Old City, and Society Hill for an evening of historical ghost stories about sites like Independence Hall and the Powel House. The tour departs nightly through November from 5th and Chestnut Streets. 
Cost: $12-19

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Allie Volpe is a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn't slept in days. Follow her on Twitter: @allieevolpe.