Every October 31st, the pumpkins are carved, costumes are readied, spooky decorations are set and it is time to head out for some trick-and-treating fun all over the United States. It is the time to celebrate Halloween. A holiday extremely popular with kids of all ages, Halloween festivities bring out the kids in many adults who also join in on the fun. And Philadelphia is filled with fun ways to celebrate Halloween. From delightful corn mazes to the scariest haunted houses, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the city. Here’s a scoop of all the Halloween fun you can be a part of when you visit Philadelphia around this time of the year.
Explore the spooky cellblocks of Eastern State Penitentiary during an all-new Halloween event
For thrill-seekers, the Eastern State Penitentiary, America’s most historic prison and the world’s first true penitentiary that had inmates like Al Capone, is the place to be. During Halloween, this attraction will be hosting a festival-style event called Halloween Nights (September 24 – November 13, 2021), which will feature 15 different attractions spread throughout the historic cellblocks, including two haunted houses, four themed bars and lounges, four immersive walk-through environments, two live performances, and a new audio tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi and recorded just for Halloween Nights.
Trick-or-treat with science
Visit the Franklin Institute and trick-or-treat your way through the exhibits of one of Philadelphia’s top science attractions, with costumed treat-givers hidden behind a series of spookily decorated doors as part of the Franklin Fright events. There are Costumed performers that entertain guests with several Halloween-inspired live science demonstrations each weekend, such as experiments led by Dr Victoria Franklinstein and her sidekicks in a Pumpkin Lab, which features a 12-foot-tall structure made from pumpkins and robotic contraptions. Adults aged 21 and up are also invited to The Franklin Institute’s Science After Hours: Fright @ Night, where you can explore the museum’s exhibits after hours while enjoying live music, dancing, drag performances, a planetarium lounge with projections and music, speciality cocktails and more Halloween-themed fun.
Nothing says Halloween quite like picking up and carving a pumpkin and a hay maze
Enjoy festive fall decorations, a beer garden with a fall-themed food and drink menu, professional pumpkin carving demonstrations, apple cider making, live music and more at Dilworth Park. Visitors young and old can also explore a hay maze on the park’s Greenfield Lawn from October 1-10. With riverside restaurants, bar and event space, which rests atop a deck overlooking the Delaware that is festively decorated around Halloween and a new lineup of fall menu items, seasonal beers from local breweries, there are more than plenty of autumnal activities for guests to enjoy.
Embrace the spookier side of the Historic District
Around Halloween, the miniature golf course at Franklin Square receives an eerie makeover, decked out in spider webs, large spiders, creepy lighting, and other seasonal decorations. You’re invited if you are brave enough to put your way through the 18-hole course. Visit the Betsy Ross House for a ghostly good time that offers Spooky Twilight Tours and navigate the 18th-century former home of the patriotic seamstress while also learning more about Philadelphia’s macabre past and history of infection and inoculation with tales of bloodletting, smallpox, yellow fever.
Discover the eerie past of Philadelphia’s most historic sites
Halloween is the perfect time to spend the cool autumn evenings learning more about Philadelphia’s haunted history on one of Ghost Tour of Philadelphia’s candlelit walking tours. 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. You can also explore other popular haunted sites in Philadelphia, including the Hill-Physick House and Edgar Allan Poe House.
Enjoy plenty of treats (and a few tricks) at Candytopia’s Halloween celebration
The incredibly sweet, immersive, and Instagram-worthy Candytopia attraction at the Fashion District Philadelphia is celebrating Halloween and featuring theme days from October 22 through November 1. The Candytopia team members will be sporting their own playful and spooky costumes as they hand out extra candy to young, costumed visitors.
Face your fears and sip spooky cocktails at a Halloween-themed pop-up
During Halloween, a century-old former jewellery shop along 12th Street in Midtown Village is transformed into a creepy pop-up bar and decorated with gory, scary and sometimes funny decorations. The Nightmare Before Tinsel invites guests to enjoy its spooky collection of creative cocktails and seasonal fall beers while overcoming their fears as they explore the bar’s devilish décor that includes creepy dolls, retro horror designs and scary photo ops.
Enjoy dining, shopping, murder mysteries, and plenty of scarecrows at Peddler’s Village
Peddler’s Village is home to a collection of local vendors and restaurants and is a beautiful destination to visit around Halloween. A 42-year fall tradition, the Village displays a collection of over 100 creatively designed scarecrows assembled by locals, with new categories and themes each year. You can bring out the detective in you and take part in one of the Village’s Murder Mystery Walking Tours in the evening that tasks participants with scouring the grounds for clues to solving centuries-old crimes, with ghostly versions.