Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, which means most of your partying will have to happen in advance. Don't worry, though, there's still plenty of spooky fun to be had, and with this summer's superhero movies and celeb gossip fresh in mind, you should have no trouble finding something to suit your style. Now, remember: Snooki, out. Honey Boo Boo, in.
11500 Antoine Dr., 713-618-3323
Weekends in October, as well as a couple of Thursdays, thrill-seekers can face their nightmares in the aptly named Haunted Trails, where they will roam through constantly changing forest trails in a deep, dark wood. Or, if you want to try a new challenge, visit the recently opened second location, Nature's Nightmare, at 1734 N. Sam Houston Parkway. Admission is $15.
The Health Museum
1515 Hermann Dr., John P. McGovern Building, 713-942-7054
From October 9 through November 11, The Health Museum will be hosting its fourth annual Siege of the Skeletons, an art project that exhibits contributions from all over the community. The museum showcases papier-mâché skeletons with this year's theme, "Funny Bones," so expect to see the silliest skeletons yet. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Houston Haunted Houses
1500 Elton St., 713-946-2266
For the 14th year in a row, Houston Haunted Houses is open to provide chills and thrills to its visitors with the promise of three separate attractions — the Castle of Doom, the Texas Chainsaw Maze, and the Sanitarium, all of which boast movie-level monsters. Entertainment will also include a free concert, a free live freak show and free vendor booth spaces. Those who are too afraid to enter the house themselves can now buy a ticket to observe others getting scared from the safety of an observation room. The hours are from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. except on Sundays and the night before Halloween, when the attractions close at 11 p.m., and Halloween, when it closes at midnight. The cost is $20 per person for both the Castle of Doom and the Sanitarium; the Texas Chainsaw Maze is free.
6200 Golf Course Dr., 713-533-6713
Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo is back again to provide family fun this Halloween. Children can dress up in their favorite costume and show it off in the Costume Parade, paint themselves a jack-o-lantern at the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treat at candy booths and enjoy music from a children's DJ. The event will be open on Saturdays and Sundays, October 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 12, 19, and 26. There will be special attractions such as the Tatzoo Parlor, where kids can get a temporary tattoo, the Monster Mural, where they can paint to their heart's content, and the Monster Mashquerade, where children can sing and dance around the Reflection Pool before joining in for the costume parade. All Zoo Boo activities are included with paid zoo admission. Zoo Boo is free for zoo members. Regular admission is $13 for adults, $7 for seniors, $9 for children ages 2 to 11 and free for children under 2.
215 Kipp Ave., 281-535-8100
Every day in October, Kemah will be serving up a side of scary with its Dungeon of Doom event. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 p.m. on Fridays. On weekends, it starts at 2 p.m. and goes until midnight on Saturday and 10 p.m. on Sunday. There will also be the more kid-appropriate Little Boo haunted Fun House at Joe's Crab Shack Thursdays through Sundays. $15 general admission.
Lawndale Art Center
4912 Main, 713-528-5858
Lawndale Art Center is presenting its 25th Annual Día de los Muertos events, a celebration of Mexican culture and the customs of El Día de los Muertos. This program gives artists from the area as well as students the opportunity to show their works to diverse audiences in a museum-quality setting. This year's celebration will go from October 22 to November 10 and include the following events: the Retablo Exhibition, community and musical ofrendas, a papel picado workshop and the Gala and Retablo Silent Auction.
18777 Highway 290, 713-526-3323
Phobia Haunted House is back again with its signature eight haunted houses, all of which are staged in one convenient location. Darke Institute, Mind Control, 3D Clown Phobia, Claustrophobia, Dawn of the Machine, Exile: Simon Fowler Woods, Mania and Darkeworld are all ready and waiting every weekend in October. Ticket prices go from $13 to $45 depending on how many houses participants choose to visit.
2225 North Sam Houston Parkway West Houston, 713-914-1313
Consistently voted into the upper echelons of horror, ScreamWorld is looking forward to another season of scaring people half to death. This fright factory is actually comprised of three haunted houses and an outdoor maze and cemetery. Among the attractions are Maze of Maniacs, Edge of Darkness, The Skull Cave, Voodoo Swamp, The Zombie Graveyard with its new vortex tunnel, and Jake's Slaughterhouse. The park opens at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays and 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays throughout October. General admission tickets are $27 per person to visit the five haunted attractions and $35 for a VIP Fast Pass, with no waiting in line. Sundays and Thursdays are Super Discount nights, with tickets just $17.
The 15th Annual Halloween House Party
2212 Woodhead, 713-364-8814
The 15th Annual Halloween House Party will directly benefit Bering Omega Community Services, a local non-profit organization dedicated to providing compassionate care to people living with HIV/AIDS. The party's official DJ, Danny B., will provide musical entertainment along with guest DJ J. Alan. There will be an all-night open bar; visitors must be at least 21 to attend. Costumes are required. The party will begin at 9 p.m. and go to 2 a.m. Tickets are available online only after registration, and donations are also welcome.
October 26 and 27
901 Town & Country Blvd., 713-868-1444
Guests who attend the ComedySportz Halloween-themed matches called Hysterical Horrors, which will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday and at 8 and 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, will receive discounts on tickets. Two teams of improvisational comedians will battle for points and laughs, all with a Halloween theme. There will also be a halftime costume contest with the opportunity to win prizes.
1900 Kane St., 713-802-9370
MECA's Day of the Dead event opens at 7 p.m. on October 26, and is followed by events on October 27 and 28 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., respectively. MECA will present Dia De Los Muertos: Honoring our Past, Celebrating Our Future once again this year and will feature Dia de los Muertos celebrations from throughout Latin America, with an altar exhibit competition, foods from the Americas, vendors selling authentic Latin American Dia de los Muertos arts and crafts, and a Calavera Fashion Show, all to represent as much of the festival's culture as possible. It is held at MECA's campus located at the Dow School in Houston's Old Sixth Ward. Opening night admission is $25 ahead of time and $35 at the door; the following days' admission is free of charge.
Saturday, October 27
Sixth Annual Montrose Pub Crawl
Sponsored by the Houston Press, the Montrose Crawl has come back for its sixth year. This event infuses a traditional pub crawl with the spirit of trick-or-treating as several hundred people dress in costume and visit bars and pubs on Westheimer in Montrose. This year's event will encompass 11 separate venues, including Brasil, Poison Girl, Boondocks, Anvil, Etro Lounge, Catbirds, Royal Oak, Slick Willie's, El Real Tex-Mex, Mo Mong and The Hay Merchant. All Montrose Crawl participants are asked to dress in costume and to assemble at Brasil and Poison Girl near the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer at 6 p.m. on October 27. Costumed participants will enjoy drink specials and Halloween activities at the bars, no cover, and the Montrose Crawl will award prizes for best costumes throughout the evening. This year's honorary Grand Crawler, Chef Bryan Caswell, will select the grand-prize winner.
The Concert Pub (Galleria)
5636 Richmond, 713-278-7272
The pub will be celebrating with a Halloween Bash featuring the songs of Ozzy and Metallica as performed by tribute bands OZZ and MTA.
3700 Main, 713-529-9899
The Club will be celebrating Discoween with Disco Expressions from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and invites all visitors to "get funky." Tickets are available for purchase online.
1500 McKinney Houston, 713-400-7336
From 6 to 10 p.m. at Discovery Green, Houston will have its fifth annual citywide costume contest. The party, dubbed Scream on the Green, will feature prizes, music, and a showing of the animated film Coraline.
801 St. Emanuel, 713-522-2010
SportsMonkey is bringing back its annual Pimp and Prostitute Ball for its 16th year. It starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. This year will feature multiple DJs, $3,000 in cash and prizes for the costume contest with awards for Pimp of the Year, Classiest Ho, and Best Overall Costume. In order to be part of the contest, you must register by 10 p.m. The party will include drink specials and costs $10 in advance and $15 at the door. You may also buy a SuperPimp VIP pass, which costs $40 in advance, but be aware that the supply is limited.
2nd Annual Momentum BMW Thriller Nights Halloween Party
10002 Southwest Freeway, 888-307-6030,
Enjoy an open bar party with Grey Goose and musical entertainment from DJ Bizz and DJ Alo. Tickets are $50, and the event is from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
300 Westheimer, 713-526-6551
Numbers will be holding its Underworlds Halloween Monster Bash on October 27, featuring entertainment by the DJs Mina and vv James, as well as musical guests Goth, Industrial and EBM.
Sam Houston Race Park
7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, 281-807-8700
This year will bring the Something Wicked Music Festival, Houston's first-ever Halloween dance music festival, to the Sam Houston Race Park. The event will feature Nero, Flux Pavilion and Zedd along with performers Danny Avila, Deorro, Jack Beats, Killsonik, Le Castle Vania, Modestep, Tritonal, tyDi, W&W and Zomboy.
The White Swan
4419 Navigation Blvd., 713-923-2837
The White Swan will be partying it up with Samhain Fest XI, which will feature musical entertainment from ZIKE, Chronophage, Serpent Sun, Blood Stone and TV Casualties. The festivities start at 8 p.m., and the cost of entry is $10.
October 27 and 28
Texas Renaissance Festival
21778 FM 1774, Plantersville, Texas, 800-458-3435
Make your way over to the Texas Renaissance Festival for a slightly older take on Halloween in the All Hallows Eve Adventure, which will feature a Banshee Screeching Contest, a pumpkin-carving contest, a costume contest and a candied-apple-eating contest as well as themed performances throughout the day, and the opportunity to trick-or-treat. The event will be open from 9 a.m. to dusk each day.
Tuesday, October 30
6400 Richmond, 832-251-9600
Stereo Live will be celebrating with its Third Annual Vampire's Ball featuring special guests Dada Life, and will include three decorated theme rooms. The party will start at 9 p.m., and ages 18 and up are welcome.
Wednesday, October 31
Brenner's on the Bayou
One Birdsall St., 713-868-4444
Head over to Boo on the Bayou for a night of cocktails, music and a full dinner buffet. Entrance is $50, but costume contest winners will have a chance to win a gift certificate for twice that at second and third place, while the first-prize winner will receive a $250 dinner for two. The event begins at 6 p.m.
300 Westheimer, 713-526-6551
Numbers will be celebrating Halloween with a costume contest with a large cash prize, drink specials, prize-filled balloons and a cheap cover earlier in the evening. Doors open at 9 p.m. for all ages.
Kamibashi Asian Art
Enjoy the fun of Halloween and autumn all year long with an abundance of cute but spooky Kamibashi products, including their Freak-O-Bags and handmade and fair-trade dolls. The latest addition to the Kamibashi gang is the female vampire string doll. Also available are Kamibashi cards that share the Halloween theme. Order online or visit the websites for stores carrying Kamibashi.
1222 Westheimer, 713-528-4565
For the trick-or-treater who's not so concerned with candy, Erotic Cabaret is ready with its more mature costume collection.
2801 Polk St., 713-228-9445
Celebrating its 60th year of business, Frankel's is available to meet all your costume needs, both online and off.
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1515 Studemont St., 713-861-9080
Party Boy provides the party and the costumes that go with it, so it's a good place to go if you'd like to take your celebration to the home front.
4825 San Jacinto, 713-524-8236
Like most costume places, Southern Importers is gearing up for the Halloween season, and has a wide variety of goods ranging from the Middle Ages to the '60s to the presidential race.