This year, Halloween falls into the awkward category of the almost-weekend, but you can make it work with help from some of your local museums, restaurants, parks and bars. Whether you're going for the tried-and-true classics like zombies, vampires and superheroes; doing your best Miley at the VMAs; or bringing Bryan Cranston's Walt from Breaking Bad back to life, one of these events is sure to fit your needs.
Children's Museum of Houston
1500 Binz, 713-522-1138
From October 12 through 31, the Children's Museum will be transformed by its newest residents — monsters. They will set up lairs, roam the halls and happily greet visiting children. The experience will include a number of activities, such as the opportunity to trick-or-treat every day, examine monsters' slime deposits in the Crazed Chemist Lab, play mix and match with monsters' expressions, and paint pumpkins, among other things. On Halloween itself, children will get to party with a DJ during Moe's Monster Mash Bash.
Haunted Trails and Nature's Nightmare
11500 Antoine Dr., 1734 N. Sam Houston Parkway, 713-618-3323
Every weekend in October, as well as on the two Thursdays leading up to Halloween and all of Halloween week, thrill-seekers can experience the pleasure of facing their nightmares by visiting one of two locations, Haunted Trails or the more recently opened Nature's Nightmare, where they will roam through constantly changing trails in a deep, dark forest worthy of any horror movie. Keep in mind that the events are all outdoors, so weather problems can lead to cancellation. General admission for each attraction is $17, a speed pass may be obtained for $23 and the VIP survival package costs $35. There are also package deals available for those who wish to visit both attractions. The fun begins at 8 p.m. and ends at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and at approximately 10:30 p.m. on other days, excluding Halloween, when the attractions will be open until 11 p.m.
The Health Museum
1515 Hermann Dr., John P. McGovern Building, 713-521-1515
From October 1 through November 3, The Health Museum will host its fifth annual Siege of the Skeletons, an art project that exhibits contributions from across the Houston community. This year's theme for the papier-mâché skeleton display is "Super Skeletons," a very broad topic that allows for skeletons to be superheroes, super scary or super silly, so there should be quite a variety this time around. Visitors will vote for the skeleton to be awarded the Visitor's Choice Award, and judges will select winners from each of the school levels as well as from the open category. All winners will receive a $50 gift certificate and a membership or guest pass to the Health Museum. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Houston Haunted Houses
1500 Elton St., 713-946-2266
For the 15th year in a row, Houston Haunted Houses is open to provide chills and thrills to its visitors with six haunted houses — the Castle of Doom, La Casa de la Llorona, Industrial Nightmare, The Graveyard, the Texas Chainsaw Maze and the Sanitarium, all of which boast movie-worthy monsters. In fact, the new La Casa de la Llorona ties into the legend employed in the soon-to-premiere horror film Her Cry, and the stars of the film will be on location on October 11 to sign autographs. Other new attractions include the Paintball Zombie Shoot and the Scream Factory, both of which allow visitors to shoot at attacking monsters. Entertainment includes live concerts and stage shows, entry to Club Blood (for of-age visitors) and free vendor booth spaces. The fun takes place from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. except on Sundays, Thursdays and the night before Halloween, when the attractions close at 10:30 p.m., and Halloween, when the fun ends at midnight. Cost is $29.95 per person for general admission, which provides access to all attractions in the park, although an additional charge of $10 is required for the paintball-based attractions in order to rent the marker and balls; bringing your own paintball equipment is not permitted.
6200 Golf Course Dr., 713-533-6713
Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo is back this Halloween. Children can dress up in their favorite costume and show it off in the costume parade, paint 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 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 11, 18 and 25. Special attractions will include the Tatzoo Parlor, where kids can get a temporary tattoo, the Monster Mural, where they can paint to their heart's content, the Candy Cave, where kiddies can feast their eyes (but no other body parts) on larger-than-life pieces of candy, the game stations at the Festival of Fun, and the Monster Mashquerade, where children can sing and dance around the Reflection Pool before joining in for the costume parade. Also included this year are the Zoo Boo Mystery Boxes, into which brave zoo visitors can place a hand while trying to guess what the box contains. All Zoo Boo activities are included with paid zoo admission. Zoo Boo is free for zoo members. Regular admission is $14 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $10 for children ages two to 11. Children two and younger will be admitted at no cost.
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. In addition, younger children can enjoy The Little Boo Haunted Fun House Thursdays through Sundays, as well as the Boo on the Boardwalk event proper, which will involve pumpkin decorating and trick-or-treating. The Little Boo Haunted Fun House is open Thursday through Sunday ($5 admission) and the Dungeon of Doom is open all week with varying hours ($15 per victim with $10 Student Night on Wednesdays with ID and $12 group rates).
Lawndale Art Center
4912 Main, 713-528-5858
Lawndale Art Center is presenting its 26th 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 runs from October 21 to November 9 and includes the following events: the Retablo Exhibition, community and musical ofrendas (offerings), a papel picado (paper cutting) workshop, a sugar skull workshop, a Family Day Fiesta, and the Gala and Retablo Silent Auction.
The National Museum of Funeral History
415 Barren Springs Dr., 281-876-3063
This month is, understandably, the busiest one for The National Museum of Funeral History, and it's hosting a number of events throughout October. The first of these is a family-friendly haunted house designed to give goosebumps to young and old alike while providing a look at the very serious issue of death. Children below the age of 12 are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult. Admission to the haunted house is half off when you purchase admission to the museum. At the Dracula Cemetery Exhibition, visitors can learn about the history of the Dracula myth, including the real-life inspiration for the character and the terminology involved in vampire lore. They will also have the chance to get their picture taken in a coffin. The 6th annual Halloween Car Show will take place for one day only: October 26. In addition to the opportunity to see decorated cars, there will be a full-on fall festival atmosphere with face painting and arts and crafts for the kids, great food including barbecue and cupcakes from local vendors, a live DJ and a silent auction.
18777 Highway 290, 713-526-3323
Phobia Haunted House is back with five haunted houses, all of which are staged in one convenient location. Darke Institute, Mind Control, ClaustroPhobia, Dawn of the Machine and Simon Fowler Woods are all ready and waiting every weekend in October, as well as on the Thursday before Halloween and the night before Halloween. The fun runs from 8 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 8 to 10 p.m. on Sundays, with longer hours as Halloween approaches. Ticket prices range from $13 to $50, depending on how many houses participants choose to visit, and reduced rates are available for groups of 25 or more.
2225 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., 713-914-1313
Consistently voted into the higher ranks of horror, ScreamWorld is looking forward to another season of scaring people half to death. This fright factory is actually a park composed of three haunted houses and an outdoor maze and cemetery. Among the attractions are Maze of Maniacs; Edge of Darkness; the Skull Cave (complete with Voodoo Swamp); Mummy Hall, the Psycho Farm House; a Giant Skull Monster; The Zombie Graveyard with its Vortex Tunnel; and Jake's Slaughterhouse. The park will be open from 8 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays and 8 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays throughout October. During the week of Halloween, ScreamWorld will be open from Monday through Thursday. General admission tickets are $25 per person online or $32 at the gates and include admission to the haunted attractions. VIP Fast Passes, which keep you from waiting in line at ScreamWorld, are $29 online or $40 on-site. Select Sundays and Thursdays are Super Discount nights, with tickets costing only $17 online and $20 on site.
3700 Main, 713-529-9899
The Continental will be celebrating Discoween with Disco Expressions. Costumes are required. Tickets are available for purchase online and cost $12.
East End Studio Gallery
708C Telephone Rd.,
The East End Studio Gallery will be holding a special one-night group event, "Drawn to Death." It begins at 6 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Dr., 713-639-4629
HMNS is getting into the Halloween spirit with a mixer titled "Spirits and Skeletons." Events will include dancing, cash bars, food trucks and a performance by master magician Ben Jackson. Musical entertainment will be provided by the cover band Molly and the Ringwalds as well as by DJs Gracie Chavez and Dame Hype. Costumes are encouraged. The event will take place from 8 p.m. to midnight and is open only to those 21 years of age or older. Tickets are $15 for museum members and $25 general admission.
300 Westheimer, 713-526-6551
Head over to Numbers for a Classic Numbers Halloween celebration, which will feature entertainment by DJ Wes Wallace. The event begins at 9 p.m. and will include drink specials through 11 p.m.
6400 Richmond, 832-251-9600
Stereo Live will be celebrating with Phantom at Stereo Live. Prizes will be awarded for Sexiest Costume, Scariest Costume, Best Couple Costume and Best Group Costume. Special guests include DJ Charles Bell, DJ Yetti, VJ Crazylegs and many others. The event will feature three decorated theme rooms. The party will begin at 8:30 p.m., and creatures 18 and older are welcome. Tickets range in price from $15 to $60.
901 Town & Country Blvd., 713-868-1444
ComedySportz will be holding two improvisational matches, Frankenstein Friday and Superhero Saturday. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a half-time costume show for each event. Those who come in wearing costumes will receive discounts on tickets, which cost $18. The events begin at 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
Alvin Community College
3110 Mustang Rd., 281-756-3686
Alvin Community College hosts its annual Fall Festival on the school's campus. The festivities include food booths, fun activities and a costume contest. Activities begin at 6 p.m. and run through 9 p.m.
215 Kipp Ave., 281-535-8100
The Kemah Boardwalk will be holding a costume contest on these two days to encourage children 12 and younger to dress up for a chance to win spooky prizes.
801 St. Emanuel, 713-522-2010
SportsMonkey is bringing some extra flavor with its newest Halloween tradition — the Undead Fest. It begins at 8 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. This year's festivities will feature entertainment by DJ Johnny of the Boothpimps and $3,000 in cash and prizes for the costume contest, which will include awards for Best Undead and Best Original Costume. The party will include drink specials and costs $9.45 in advance and $15 at the door. If you're looking for VIP treatment, try an "Undead Fest RIP ticket" for $35 (in advance). It gives you access to a separate bar, complimentary beer and tickets for three cocktails. However, supplies are limited, so hurry.
Orange Show Center for Visionary Art
2402 Munger St., 713-926-6368
For a family-oriented Halloween, visit the Orange Show Center's annual Pumpkin Carving and Scary Mask Workshop. As the name suggests, guests will learn how to carve pumpkins and make masks, with guidance from local artists. Supplies are limited, so come early and feel free to bring your own materials as well as your own pumpkin. The event takes place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
2302 Strand, 409-762-0062
The whole family's invited to the third annual Saengerfest Park Mini Monster Bash from 1 to 4 p.m. The free Halloween carnival will include assorted games and prizes, trick-or-treating at participating downtown businesses, and a costume contest for children 11 years old and younger. Kids will compete for prizes in the following categories: Scariest, Cutest and Most Creative costumes. The park will be decorated to provide the ideal backdrop for Halloween photos. In addition, Haunted Mayfield Manor is hosting scary stories as well as kid-friendly tours.
2302 Strand, www.Facebook.com/ZomComInc
Zombie enthusiasts are invited to the park from 6 to 9:30 p.m. for live entertainment. The rock/reggae band Idiginis will set the mood for the Voodoo dance party, followed by the gypsy rock band Come See My Dead Person. The event will feature fire jugglers, zombie makeup artists and many surprises. ZomCom makeup artists will be applying realistic zombie makeup and prosthetics so attendees can experience the full undead experience.
Seventh Annual Montrose Pub Crawl
The Montrose Pub Crawl is back for its seventh year. This event combines 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. There are 11 separate venues taking part in this year's event, including Brasil; Poison Girl; Pistolero's; Boondocks; Etro Lounge; Catbirds; Royal Oak; Slick Willie's; El Real Tex-Mex; Mo Mong; and The Hay Merchant. All participants are asked to wear costumes and to assemble at Brasil or Poison Girl at Dunlavy and Westheimer at 6 p.m. Costumed participants will enjoy drink specials and Halloween activities at the bars, as well as no cover charges. The Crawl will award prizes for best costumes throughout the evening. To qualify for a prize, participants must be at specified locations by a certain time, although they're encouraged to proceed at their own pace. Winners at each location will compete for the grand prize. This year's honorary Grand Crawler will select the grand-prize winner for Overall Best Costume. A portion of drink sales will be donated to the Houston Area Women's Center.
The 16th Annual Halloween House Party
2212 Woodhead, 713-364-8814
The 16th Annual Halloween House Party directly benefits Bering Omega Community Services, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to offering compassionate care to people living with HIV/AIDS. The party's official DJ, Danny B., will provide musical entertainment, along with guest DJ Lance Morris. There'll be an all-night open bar, and visitors must be at least 21 to attend. Costumes are required. The party begins at 9 p.m. and runs until 2 a.m. Tickets are available online, and donations are welcome.
Sam Houston Race Park
7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., 281-807-8700
This year brings the Something Wicked Music Festival to Sam Houston Race Park once again. From 2 p.m. until midnight, guests will be able to watch performances by DJ Tiësto and more than 20 other artists. Guests must be 18 years of age or older, and there will be open bars available for those 21 and over. General admission is $80.
Texas Renaissance Festival
21778 FM 1774, Plantersville, Texas,
Make your way to the Texas Renaissance Festival for a slightly older take on Halloween in the All Hallow's Eve Adventure, which will feature a Banshee Screeching Contest, a jack-o-lantern carving contest, a costume contest and a kettle-corn-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.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
531 South Mason Rd, 281-492-6900
Alamo Drafthouse will celebrate Halloween with a screening of the fan-favorite film Hocus Pocus. Guests will receive bags of candy and are encouraged to wear costumes, as the best one will win a prize at the night's end. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and costs $7.
Stark Naked Theatre Company
1824 Spring, Studio 101, 832-866-6514
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Orson Welles radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, and to celebrate Halloween, the Stark Naked Theatre Company will present a live reading of the broadcast's original script, followed by a Survivor's Champagne Toast. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31
Absolve Wine Lounge
920 Studemont, Suite 150, 281-501-1788
Absolve is holding an event featuring live music, food specials and fall-themed cocktails all night long. The event begins at 8 p.m. and ends "whenever they feel like it."
8150 Washington, 832-661-3348
The Boneyard Drinkery is hosting the 2nd Annual Boneyard Boo Bash, an event created to benefit Corridor Rescue Inc., an organization dedicated to rescuing dogs from cruelty and abandonment. All money raised at the event will go to Corridor Rescue. Animals and their humans are invited to participate in a costume contest, and gift baskets will be awarded to the wearers of the best dog costume, best human costume, best dog duo or trio and best group. Pet psychic Petrene Soames will be present for ten-minute readings at a cost of $20 a reading. Visitors can make their pets safer and prettier with help from $20 microchipping services, $5 nail trims and $2 face painting. The event will also include a raffle and silent auction, a photo booth and a food truck. The fun begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.
Brenner's on the Bayou
One Birdsall St., 713-868-4444
Head over to Boo on the Bayou for the Boo on the Bayou Spirits Dinner, a Halloween-themed four-course meal with alcohol pairings. $75 per person. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes, and must be 21 or older to attend.
The Concert Pub (Galleria)
5636 Richmond, 713-278-7272
The pub will be celebrating with the Big Halloween Party, featuring cover band Flicker System.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose, 713-284-8250
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is kicking off its new exhibition series, "Outside the Lines," the season opener for its 65th anniversary and a celebration of its history, with a Halloween-themed party. Dress is "Halloween Art Chic" and the night's entertainment will include a food truck, performances by a DJ, Hope Stone and surprise guests. It begins at 6 p.m. and entry is free.
From 6 to 10 p.m. at Discovery Green, Houston will hold its sixth annual citywide costume contest. The party, dubbed Scream on the Green, will feature prizes, music and a showing of the film Frankenweenie starting at 7 p.m. Other activities include Scary-oke, Mad Science, Living Statues, entertainment by a DJ, caricature artists, fortune-tellers and face-painting.
Bayou City Theatrics will be performing "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" this All Hallow's Eve. The event will take place from 6 p.m. through 11:30 p.m. General Admission is $30. The event includes a pre-party with catering from El Tiempo and a prize draw, as well as an after-party complete with light desserts; a costume contest with prizes for Sexiest Costume, Scariest Costume, Funniest Costume, Best "Rocky Horror" Costume; and Best in Show Costume; a Time-Warp dance contest; and an additional prize draw.
Halloween Masquerade Ball Cruise
#8 Kemah Boardwalk, Suite G,
At 7 p.m. on Halloween, head out to the water for a buffet meal, a cash bar, the Captain's Costume Contest and live entertainment courtesy of a DJ, complete with dancing on an open-air dance floor. Costumes are encouraged but not required. The event ends at 10 p.m. Admission is $79.99 for adults, $74.99 for seniors and $71.99 for members of the military.
Numbers will be celebrating Halloween with a costume contest featuring a large cash prize, drink specials, prize-filled balloons and a discounted cover early in the evening. Doors open at 9 p.m. for all ages.
1230 Houston Ave.
Guests can enjoy a spooky night of improv at Station Theater's annual Halloween Show featuring three Halloween-themed performances: "Youngbloods," a costumed student-run performance; "Are You Afraid of the Tales from the Dark Zone?" including improvised ghost stories from students and alumni alike; and "This Infinite Closet," an improvisation performed completely in the dark. Following the show, Station will host a Halloween costume contest with prizes for Best Male Costume, Best Female Costume and Best Group Costume. The event begins at 8:30 p.m. and is BYOB. Doors will open at 8:10 p.m. Admission is $6. You must be 18 or older to attend.
Sugar Land Town Square
15958 City Walk,
Children, adults and animals alike are invited to Sugar Land Town Square to celebrate at its annual costume contest. Guests can participate in the fun at several activity stations and attractions, including a photo station, extreme face painting, haunted horse and carriage rides, and a pumpkin patch. Admission is free.
House of Blues, 1204 Caroline
The Rocking Dead Halloween Extravaganza, Houston Press's contribution to the haunting season, is a veritable House of Blues takeover. There's a lineup of appropriately named entertainment including Here Come the Mummies, an R&B/funk band that performs in full mummy regalia; The Graceland Ninjaz, an indie band with a wildly diverse repertoire (covers of Pitbull, Elvis Presley, Eminem and The Clash, with a few originals thrown in for good measure); and Houston Press Music Awards Best Rock Band nominee the Bayou City Outlaw Band, which will display its signature mix of rock and dirty blues. The bands go on at 8 p.m., and all ages are invited to this event in the Music Hall. Later that evening, beginning at 10 p.m., the Naughty Nightmare Burlesque and a slew of DJs perform in the House of Blues' Crossroads and Foundation rooms in shows that are strictly for guests 21 and older. Drink specials, food, treats and costume contests with cash and prizes going to the winners will round out the evening's offerings.
Stats Sports Bar and Grill
10850 Louetta, #1700, 281-257-8287
This year's party at Stats is a little late, but it promises to be suitably Halloween-ish, with the quintessential costume contest at midnight and a cash prize for the winner. There will also be themed drink specials and, starting at 9 p.m., an appearance by the Cuervo and Patrón Promo girls, who will offer up their latest liquors for guests to sample.
COSTUMES & PARTY FAVORS
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 string dolls. Order online or visit www.kamibashi.com.
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, 713-228-9445
Frankel's is available to meet all your costume needs, both online and off.
1515 Studemont, 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.
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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 costume and supplies. Want to go to your party dressed as a king from the Middle Ages? How about as Elvis or a contemporary celebrity? Southern Importers is the place for you.