There's lots and lots to do this Halloween in Houston, from family-friendly festivals to adult-only parties. Here's a look at our picks for the top 10 Halloween events this season.
10. Halloween Mixer! Spirits and Skeletons 2013 8 p.m., October 25 Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. 713-639-4629, www.hmns.org
Move over, dinosaurs - it's time to dance! Molly & the Ringwalds (six time Houston Press Music Award winners for best cover band) provide the music at the annual mixer at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. DJ Gracie Chavez and magician Ben Jackson will also be on hand. There's a cash bar inside the museum and food trucks dot the parking lot offering ghostly treats. $15 to $25.
October 26, 2 to 10 p.m. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. W. www.somethingwickedfestival.com
We can forgive the long-ass list of things you can't bring in to the Something Wicked 2013 music festival (although we're not sure why they ban stuffed animals, electronic cigarettes and open packs of tampons) and we don't even mind the price ($80 + fees for general admission), because the festival is crazy fun. There are more than a dozen dance music acts on the roster, roaming costumed performers, Halloween decorations, food, drinks and promised "spooks and thrills at every turn." Be smart, check the list of banned stuff before you go (the festival has a super-strict zero tolerance policy on both drugs and balloons, go figure) and wear some comfortable shoes.
8. Hermann Park Ghost Tour Hermann Park, 6100 Hermann Park Dr. 877-604-0888, www.houstonghosttour.com
Okay, these are some ghosts we didn't know about: the opera singer who died at Miller Theatre, the civil war cemetery was once at the site of the present day park and people who have died on the park's hill (where ghost children have reportedly appeared to visitors). There are lots of shadows in the tree-filled park, so being there after dark can get spooky on a regular day; being there after dark while someone is recounting ghost kids that play on the hill should get outright scary.
7. Ghostly Gardens October 27, 2 p.m. Moody Gardens, One Hope Blvd., Galveston www.moodygardens.com
Moody Gardens presents their annual Ghostly Gardens event for families. Trick-or-treat stations are spread throughout the complex with a kid's Halloween costume contest, face painting, Creepy Crafts tables and more - all for free.
6. The 10th Annual Houston Halloween Erotica Party October 26, 2 p.m. Ritz Houston, 10520 Gulf Frwy 713-949-6445, www.desirousparty.com
The Halloween Erotic Party lives by the guideline "There's nothing too wild or too mild," so everyone should fit in fine, from half-naked witches to naughty maids and dominatrix nurses. The party features three DJs, dance poles and dance cages open for use by guests, three full bars, drink specials all night long, a full dinner menu, an on-site body painter and more. For guests staying at the host hotel (the Marriot), there's a pre-party mixer, limo transportation, a breakfast buffet and deep discounts on rooms. Single women get in for $10, couples are $50 (no single men, sorry).
5. The War of the Worlds by Stark Naked Theatre Company October 31, 7:30 p.m. Spring St. Studios, 1824 Spring 832-866-6514, www.starknakedtheatre.com
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. $10.
4. ScreamWorld Through November 2 2225 N. Sam Houston 713-914-1313, www.screamworld.com
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.3. Dash's Halloween Submarine Ghost Hunt & Sleepover
October 25 or October 26 www.ghosttoursofgalvestonisland.com
If there's one attraction on our list that might make us pee in our pants, it's Dash's Halloween Submarine Ghost Hunt & Sleepover on the Cavalla. The schedule includes a tour of the submarie, which saw battle in WWII, a ghost hunt on the sub and the USS Stewart, a destroyer, the chance to stay overnight in one of the vessels (ghost sighting have been reported on both) and a round of spooky ghost stories by host Dash Beardlsley, called the Original Ghost Man of Galveston. $75.
2. 2nd Annual National Museum of Funeral History Halloween Haunted House Through October 31 415 Barren Springs 281-876-3063, www.nmfh.org
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October 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.
1. 2013 Houston Zombie Walk and Halloween Party October 19, 2 p.m. Jones Plaza, 600 Lousiana 713-237-1439, www.houstonzombiewalk.org
Zombies, vampires, witches and other associate monsters will flock to Jones Plaza for a .75-mile shamble around downtown Houston, all in the name of charity. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Houston Children's Charity, the Houston Humane Society and the Dove Key Ranch Wildlife Rehab. The family-friendly event will include food, beer and wine service, and live entertainment performed by The Reverend Horton Heat and the Dolly Rockers. Donated costumes and volunteer make-up artists will be there for anyone who didn't have time to pull together the appropriate spooky attire.
Abby Downing-Beaver contributed to this post.