Bayou City Haunts: The 2014 Houston Halloween Guide

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There's nothing quite like All Hallows' Eve falling on a weekend night, and this year, the costumed chaos will be especially rowdy, since that lucky Friday date will give party-goers plenty of time to recover from the revelry. And with Halloween falling on prime calendar pickings, there's quite a bit of trouble to be had. From the naughty parties to the nerdy museum celebrations and the family-friendly festivals, this year's holiday will have it all. There's even a horror convention thrown in for good measure.

Through October

Boo on the Boardwalk 215 Kipp, Kemah, $5 to $20, kemahboardwalk.com.

Things will get a bit more eerie in October around the Kemah Boardwalk as the annual Boo on the Boardwalk kicks into high haunted gear. Kemah will come to life with plenty of Halloween-themed fun, and visitors of all ages will be spooked to their heart's content. The haunting good time takes place nightly, and the Boardwalk is offering up wicked ways to scare yourself silly, from haunted houses such as the Dungeon of Doom and the Little BOO fun house to more silly escapades like scary-oke karaoke. Weekends are even more awesome, with plenty of free activities -- Freaky Friday Movie Night, anyone? -- and creatures and costumes galore. Kemah Boardwalk knows just how to make things come alive by conjuring up the dead, and you really shouldn't miss it. After all, what good would a boardwalk be if it's not haunted for Halloween?

Houston Funeral Museum "Dracula Cemetery Exhibition" 415 Barren Springs, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, $10, nmfh.org.

Take the ultimate Halloween-selfie at the "Dracula Cemetery Exhibition" at the National Museum of Funeral History. The exhibit doesn't have any actual, authentic relics from Vlad "The Impaler" Tepes, the real-life 15th-century bloodthirsty royal who's the inspiration for the infamous Dracula character of Bram Stoker's 1897 horror novel. But there is a coffin set up where visitors can pull on a Dracula-like cape, stuff some fake fangs in their mouth and pose for photographs.

There's also a copy of the original Dracula novel on display, and an explanation of some of the terms and phrases that we use today that originated back in Vlad the Impaler's time. Everyone will recognize terms like "dead ringer" and "saved by the bell." Both come from the practice of tying a string to a bell and to the corpse's hand -- you know, in case the dead person wasn't really dead but just in a really deep coma ("dead" was apparently a relative term back in Vlad's time). Visitors will also recognize "the graveyard shift." It grew out of the need to have people sit in the graveyard at night listening for any bell-ringing by the buried.

Don't forget to visit the museum's annual haunted house and catch the 7th Annual Halloween Car Show.-- Olivia Flores Alvarez

Through NOVEMBER 2

Monsters' Museum of Houston 1500 Binz, 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays , 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and all day weekends, cmhouston.org.

Oh no! Monsters on the loose! For three weeks prior to Halloween, the Children's Museum of Houston will be taken over by some prank-loving monsters, who will transform the place into their makeshift mega-lab. These naughty monsters will be turning the museum upside down, and it's all up to the children to figure out how to "catch" them in the act. But don't worry; they'll be leaving plenty of clues to keep your little Frankenstein in the spooky spirit. And with trick-or-treat monster hunts to go on, pumpkins to paint and hair-raising slime blobs to explore, your little sleuth will learn everything there is to know about those misunderstood monsters. He or she may even get a chance to party with them during Moe's Monster Mash Bash, where DJ Frankenstein will bring the kid-appropriate party to life on the ­turntables.

October 16-19 and October 23-Novermber 1

Nightmare on the Bayou 1515 Studemont, $20 to $40, nightmareonthebayou.com.

If you've ever wondered what causes all those traffic jams on I-10 and Studemont, look no further than Nightmare on the Bayou. It's a ridiculously scary haunted house located right next to an old graveyard and is known as Houston's only actual haunted house. As in, this place is known to have some real spirits lurking about, along with those freaky actors. Lines wrap around the building as Halloween inches closer, which means you should probably check it out. Just watch out for the ice-cold hands; it'll be hard to tell whether the thing that grabbed you is still rocking a steady heartbeat or lacking a pulse. Either way, it's a guarantee that you'll be shaking in your boots for days after.

October 30

Fanatical Change Presents Hollywood Halloween 501 Crawford, 7 p.m., $20 to $75, fanaticalchange.org.

Glamour -- not ghoul -- will be running the gambit at this year's Fanatical Change Hollywood Halloween party. Fancy schmancy guests will enjoy live music, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, an auction and the company of like-minded professionals with an interest in philanthropy. The party kicks off at Minute Maid's Diamond Club, where you'll be partying for a cause in your Halloween Hollywood-themed best. But you can always switch out playing dress-up for cocktail attire; this Halloween party allots for it, so if you're a bit shy about your dress-up skills, stick to what you know, and just throw on an extra diamond or two. You'll fit right in.

Seniors Monster Mash T. E. Harman Center, 226 Matlage Way, Sugar Land, 5 to 8 p.m., $5 for members, $10 for non-members, sugarlandtx.com/teharmon. Halloween fun should hardly have an age limit, and luckily, at the Seniors Monster Mash, they know this quite well. Our more seasoned friends are invited to a Halloween bash all their own -- complete with costume contest -- so be sure to pull out all the stops on this one. The T.E. Harman Center is home to the Sugar Land senior adult programs, ages 50 and up -- and also the home to this Monster Mash -- which means there will be plenty of costumed senior guests to gallivant with. They're even serving up some awesome treats -- no tricks -- so if you're looking for a more mature way to ring in the holiday, this is your place.

October 31

8th Annual Bayou City Outdoors Haunted Hike and Pizza Party Memorial Park near rugby parking lot, 6:30 p.m., free, bayoucityoutdoors.com.

Outdoor fanatics can get their fill of Halloween festivities while keeping it old school in Memorial Park at the 8th Annual Bayou City Outdoors Haunted Hike and Pizza Party. The folks at BCO will be your spooky guide as you strap on a costume and some sturdy shoes and hike (or slither) your way through Memorial Park Halloween night. Should you make it out of the woods alive, you'll be rewarded with pizza and beverages, and you can stick around for the after-party in the parking lot. Just make sure to bring bug spray -- those blood-sucking mosquitos are more dangerous than the vampires around these parts.

Factory at Mkt Bar 1001 Austin, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., free (RSVP required), phoeniciafoods.com.

That hip little place downtown, MKT Bar, does just about everything with style, and their Halloween bash, Factory, is no different. When you step into MKT on Halloween, you'll be stepping out of this decade and back into the '60s art scene, where you'll find the iconic fashion, music and art from the era of free love. MKT Bar will be transformed into a '60s party, filled with artsy accoutrements, awesome mod fashion and, of course, gourmet trick-or-treats from their esteemed partner in artisan crime, Phoenicia. And true to Factory form, the Halloween bash is also a bit of an art crawl, too, with more than 70 original art pieces being displayed -- so be careful about the height of those platform shoes, a'ight? All you have to do is slip on that terrible Austin Powers accent and those go-go boots you've been dying to wear, and flash back to a time when it was all about rockin' out, feelin' groovy and rebelling against The Man.

Haunting of the Americas Halloween Party 2040 West Gray, 8 p.m., free.

Américas River Oaks may seem like an unusual venue for a Halloween party, but this place is all about the costume party. This year is the restaurant's third annual Haunting of the Americas Halloween Party, and the party's specialty cocktails and DJ E-Rock's tunes will be all you need to get right into that Halloween spirit.

Montrose Pub Crawl Crawl starts at 2604 Dunlavy, October 31, 7 p.m., free admission, montrosecrawl.com.

Described as "Vampire Mardi Gras, it's Satan's Fourth of July," the Montrose Pub Crawl is one of the very best events to plan your Halloween festivities around. The crawl makes a pit stop at 12 restaurants and bars between Dunlavy and Montrose on Westheimer -- starting at Brasil and Poison Girl and heading to Pistolero's, Boondocks, Stone's Throw, Etro Lounge, Catbirds, Royal Oak, Doc's Motorworks, Slick Willie's, El Real Tex-Mex and Hay Merchant -- with special appearances by Koagie Hots and The Golden Grill food trucks along the way. And with such an epic bar lineup, we can pretty much guarantee food will be in high order. While the alcohol and delicious food-truck appearances would be enough to sell us, there's an added bonus: costume contests! Prizes will be awarded for the best outfits at each stop, and the grand costume prize will be awarded by this year's honorary Grand Crawler, Chris Shepherd. It's like bar trick-or-treating at its best, this one.

Pegstar Halloween Show with Gogol Bordello 813 St. Emanuel, 8 p.m., $23 to $27, warehouselive.com.

It makes sense to throw a Halloween party with the likes of Gogol Bordello, considering the band's penchant for costumes, theatrics and general across-the-board antics. But this time it won't just be the band getting in on playing dress-up; you'll be expected to as well -- if you want to meet the band, that is. The winner of the costume contest wins the chance to meet the group post-show, which just ups the ante for an already competitive holiday. Better start sewing now.

Saints and Sinners Halloween Ball 2014 9 p.m., Silver St., $46.46 to $1,500, eventbrite.com.

Touted as Houston's "Premier Adult Halloween Party Event," the Saints and Sinners Ball sure lives up to the name. This Halloween bash is all about the debauchery -- in a good way. Partygoers are encouraged to bring out their inner desires -- don't worry, the open bar will help -- and IDT Band, one of Houston's hottest cover bands, will be providing the soundtrack for part of the night, with DJ Bizonee and DJ Red taking control later in the night.

Spirits & Skeletons 5555 Herman Park, 8 p.m., $25 to $35, hmns.org.

It may seem a bit odd to be partying your costumed socks off in the middle of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, but don't worry your pretty little Elvira head about it: Halloween at HMNS is an annual -- and awesome -- occurrence, and Spirits & Skeletons, which takes place right among the ancient dinosaur relics, is one of the best places to be this Halloween season. The entire museum is open to costume-sporting revelers, and we can guarantee you'll feel downright naughty and nerdy about tipping back and cutting a rug in the midst of those sparkling gems and prehistoric creatures. But isn't feeling a bit naughty what Halloween is all about?

Super Scary Fun Land 3801 Polk, 8 p.m., $6.66 to $19.00, superhappyfunland.com.

Super Happy Fun Land is about the most random, off-the-wall venue out there, which means it's pretty perfect for a Halloween party. And this one is a dance party, no less, with performance artists and a costume contest that will benefit Stonewall Culture, which provides the tools to LGBT groups to maximize fundraising dollars. We don't know exactly what you'll come across at Super Scary Fun Land -- it's always a coin toss at this place -- but if we had to bet, we'd place our chips on something incredible.

Vampire's Ball featuring MAKJ 6400 Richmond, 9 p.m., $15 to $25, stereolivehouston.com.

If you're looking for the ittiest and bittiest of costumes Halloween night, there's no better place to be than Stereolive for MAKJ's Vampire's Ball. Events at Stereolive are kind of like Halloween year-round, with those silly club kids dancing around in the raciest and most unique outfits they can find. Halloween is turned up a notch or ten on this scene, which will only be fueled by the hot electronic producer MAKJ running the show. We have a feeling that his single "Let's Get F*cked Up" may be the theme of the night at the Vampire's Ball, where the music, and the partygoers, will be bouncing off the walls all night long.

November 1

Halloween 3014 5020 Kirby, 10 p.m., $20 to $350.

If you're heading to Halloween 3014 at Lumen Lounge, you're going to need to think outside of the box. Like way, way outside of the box. This is Halloween in 1,000 years, after all. Futuristic costumes will be necessary if you're going to play along at this Future World Party, so maybe just pull up some old photos of Will.I.Am and get to creating. He always looks like he stepped off of a sci-fi movie, right? Or if the Black Eyed Peas don't serve as inspiration, perhaps conjure up some of Lady Gaga's more avant garde outfits, since this Halloween the party stars GAGA, America's No. 1 Lady Gaga Tribute Artist direct from NewYork City.

The Purge 2014 Halloween Costume Rave 4601 Clinton, 10 p.m., $10, eventbrite.com.

Listen, if you're going to go to one rave for the year, it might as well be on Halloween night, and it might as well be The Purge 2014. After all, these guys know how to do this scene right. Smashfest and The Alliance are teaming up to help you purge away all your cares as you embark on a journey that will take you well beyond the mind's -- and Halloween's -- confines. The Purge is Halloween high-octane, which is sure to make this a night you won't soon forget.

Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays in October

Hotel Galvez Ghost Tour 2024 Seawall, Galveston, 6 p.m., $229 per night and up.

One of the coolest things about Galveston is the island's haunted history. Those spine-chilling anecdotes about the historical area's hauntings are what makes Galveston the perfect Halloween destination. And when it comes to spirits, Hotel Galvez knows a thing or two. The Galvez has had legendary reports about ghostly activity in the hotel by not only guests but also employees. The thing is, while guests are to convey their otherworldly sightings, the hotel does not offer a ghost tour very often. They are this Halloween season, though. On the hour-long tour, the Hotel Galvez concierge will guide guests through the historic hotel's ghostly past using popular spirit-hunting tools to conduct a paranormal investigation. There's even a "Ghosts of the Galvez" overnight package, should you be so inclined, which includes the ghost tour and dinner and a deluxe guest room. But don't blame us if you can't sleep. You've had fair warning about the chilling visitors that hang around those parts.

Fridays and Saturdays in October

Ghost Tours on The Strand 8 p.m., $20, ghosttoursofgalvestonisland.com.

Looking for a proper ghost tour this Halloween season? Well, you're in luck. Galveston's haunted history will be brought to life by the nationally recognized paranormal expert Dash Beardsley, who leads the Original Ghost Tour on The Strand. It includes a stop at The Tremont House -- the very haunted sister property to the Hotel Galvez -- and offers a Secret Society Cemetery Tour, Restless Spirits Tour and Jack the Ripper Mystery Island Tour for ghost enthusiasts. No matter the theme, there's bound to be a tour on The Strand that'll suit your ghost-lovin' fancy.

Nightmare on 1960 404 Possum Park, Humble, Fridays in October 7:30 to 11 p.m., Saturdays in October 7:30 p.m. to midnight, $20, nightmareon1960.com.

If you want to scare yourself silly, head to Nightmare on 1960. The haunted house is focused on living up to everyone's worst nightmare -- whatever that nightmare may be. Hate clowns? Check. What about faceless, nameless creatures? Check. Chainsaws? Psycho killers? Chupacabras? Yep, yep and yep. The twists and turns of this haunted house are endless, and you'll never know what's lurking around the next corner. And no, we won't go with you. We'll just stay out here where it's safe.

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October Putt-Putt FunHouse Super Hero Halloween Adventure 806 E. Nasa Pkwy., Webster, Fridays 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 8 p.m., admission varies, puttputtfunhouse.com.

Everybody loves a little putt-putt, even in street clothes. But mini-golf is going all Halloween-style at Putt-Putt FunHouse, Houston's coolest course, which only makes things that much cooler. The name of the game is the Super Hero Halloween Adventure, where players will have the chance to find the six infinity crystals and save the universe. Should you live up to that crystal-gathering challenge, there are prizes to be had and plaques to be hung. Goodie bags and treasure maps will be handed out to all, and if you complete your mission, a visit to the loot crate is in order. And you thought it couldn't get any better than regular old putt-putt, huh?

Weekends in October

Creepy Hollow Haunted House 12872 Valley Vista, Rosharon, $30 to $40, creepyhollowhauntedhouse.com.

The drive out to Rosharon, just south of Houston, isn't so bad, especially if you're heading to Creepy Hollow Haunted House. Time will fly as your brain races with the thought of what could be happening in that place. The three attractions -- a genetic lab gone wrong, a zombie apocalypse and a haunted woods -- are about as terrifying as one could hope for from such a place. Creepy Hollow has perfected the art of scaring after nine seasons in business, and the things you'll encounter -- cannibal squatters, killer clowns and the like -- will feel like they've been pulled from the fibers of your nightmares.

Phobia 18777 Hwy. 290, $15 to $40, darke.com.

Should you want to purposely find yourself lost in a maze of bloody chainsaws, brain-swilling zombies and whatever other terrifying images you can conjure up, you can always head to Phobia, Houston's mega-­screampark. This place is three bone-chilling attractions in one, and while you can opt to dare yourself into all three, we suggest you take it slow. Phobia is not for the faint of heart.

Screamworld 2225 North Sam Houston Pkwy. W., $17 to $29, screamworld.com.

This insanely scary attraction stretches over five scary-as-hell courses and incorporates everything from a bloody slaughterhouse to a strobe-lit maze guarded by killer clowns. The strobe lights and turns are disorienting, and the actors are terrifying, so it's pretty much everything you need to scare yourself half to death, if that's what you're into. Adrenaline abounds when you step into this place, and should you dare to go, you'll quickly see why it's touted as Houston's best haunted house. It's that scary.


Frankel's Costume Co. frankelscostume.com 2801 Polk St., Houston 77003, 713-228-9445 There's a line around Frankel's every Halloween for a reason; this place stocks anything and everything costume-related.

Southern Importers & Exporters southern-importers.com 4825 San Jacinto, Houston 77004, 713‑524‑8236 Southern Importers may have the widest selection of costumes -- from the bagged up, ready-to-wear versions to the enviable high-end stuff. If you're looking for something specific -- and also really hard to find -- this is your place.

Arne's Warehouse & Party Store arneswarehouse.com 2830 Hicks St., Houston 77007, 713-869-8321

Costume Cauldron costumecauldron.com 14781 Memorial, Houston 77079, 800-890-0409 The Costume Cauldron kicks into high gear every Halloween, stocking one of the widest variety of characters, accessories and sizes in the city.

Spirit Halloween spirithalloween.com 9633 Westheimer, 713-783-1497 7911 FM 1960, 281-970-6902 The entire Spirit store is lined with costumes, organized with choices for the smallest of tots to the grown folks, in just about every price range.

Spirit Halloween Superstore spirithalloween.com 10500 Katy Fwy., Houston 77043, 832-571-9492.

Erotic Cabaret Boutique eroticcabaret.com 1222 Westheimer, Houston 77006, 713-528-4565 As one would expect from an adult novelty store, Erotic Cabaret has some of the more risqué choices of costumery -- and the selection is second to none in that department.

Party Boy partyboytexas.com 1515 Studemont, Houston 77007 713-861-9080 Need to pick up some party supplies and a Halloween costume? Go to Party boy because this massive warehouse will be your one-stop shop.

Party City partycity.com 20260 Katy Fwy, Katy 77449 2525 S Texas 6, Houston 77082 5466 West Grand Pkwy. S, Richmond 77406 6819 Highway 6 N., Houston 77084 9525 Westheimer, Houston 77063 2525 Town Center Blvd. N., Sugar Land 77479 13760 Northwest Fwy., Houston 77040 3225 Southwest Fwy., Houston 77027 6452 FM 1960 Rd. W., Houston 77069 Party City is a bit more toned down than the two Halloween go-to stores in Montrose, which means that chances are they'll have what you're looking for when everything else is sold out.

Halloween City halloweencity.com 2703 Hwy 6 S., Houston 302-268-7353 415 South Fry Rd., Katy 77450, 302-268-7063 1421 Spring Cypress Rd., Spring 77373, 302-268-7340 3700 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena 77504, 302-268-7072 1101 West NASA Rd. 1, Webster 77598, 302-268-7166 This Halloween superstore is filled with a selection of costumes that can stand up against any of the costume outlets, and they've got all sorts of lawn decorations, some of which are really, seriously scary.

Spookers Halloween spookershalloween.com 10739 Gulf Fwy.,Houston 77034, 713-910-3411 11803 Westheimer, Houston 77077, 281-920-3250 16020 E. Fwy, Channelview, 281-860-9800 Not only does Spookers have every costume ever -- from stuff like the Avengers to the sexy and scary stuff -- but they also have a Tardis. Dr. Who fans should make their way there posthaste.

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