Bring on the sexy bumble bees, cats, and pumpkins. It’s Halloween (well, almost)! For a guide to the best seasonal celebrations in Dallas, read on.
A Gourd for All Seasons (Pumpkin picking and more)
Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch. The original fall fun fest, so don’t be fooled by impostor patches. Take the kids for a photo shoot, and stay for a hayride, Pumpkin Patch Train, hay bale maze, bounce house, pumpkin picking, and food sold by various vendors. Parking is five bucks, but all the activities are free. Through Oct. 31.
The Great Pumpkin Festival. Many towns have a pumpkin patch every fall, but Dallas has a whole pumpkin village. We admit it’s kind of insane to build even one house out of pumpkins, let alone four. But you know what? It’s also kind of awesome. Each home in the Storybook Pumpkin Village represents a children’s book that features pumpkins, and as always, there’s the Tom Thumb pumpkin patch where you can pick up a cute one to take home. New this year is Cinderella’s Pumpkin Village (along with her carriage), keeping with the fairy tale theme. Helpful hint for larger groups: Wednesdays are buy one, get one free, with a coupon you can find on the Arboretum’s website. Through Nov. 12.
Pumpkin Patch at Irving Mall. Irving Mall might not look like much anymore, but the Halloween pumpkin patch that’s set up shop outside the Barnes and Noble is a pleasant surprise. Find all sizes of pumpkins (for carving, eating, and decor), gourds and squash, chili ristras, straw bales, mums, and other seasonal items. Through Nov. 12.
Fall Festival at Yesterland Farm. Every year, Yesterland Farm opens its barn doors and becomes a family-friendly fall attraction. While the rest of the world goes green, the farm turns into an orange pumpkin field with a corn maze and amusement park for the little ones. Delicious food and drinks will keep you happy as a clam as you enjoy this old-fashioned festival. Through Oct. 31.
Pumpkin-carving contest at The Libertine. We know. Sometimes punching a pillow just doesn’t cut it. Take out your excess rage on an unfeeling, though cute, fruit. The Libertine supplies the gourds and knives, and you supply the artistry. First, second, and third place winners get $100, $50, and $25 bar tabs. Carving starts at 7 p.m., and judging starts at 10 p.m. Oct. 24.
Skeleton Parade (Family/Kid Stuff)
Halloween Nights at the Dallas Zoo. For three nights, the Dallas Zoo will close at 4 p.m. and reopen at 5 p.m. so costumed boys and ghouls can meet Zoohilda and her wacky sisters, trick-or-treat around ZooNorth and the Children’s Zoo, take a backwards ride on a haunted carousel, and more. Oct. 27-29.
Hextor Howl Run & Carnival. This race offers participants two options. For the Dedicated Runner: a 5K run that winds through the Old Lake Highlands neighborhood. For the rest of us: a 1K fun run/walk that also includes a costume contest. After you’ve crossed the finish line, you might want to check out the carnival for food (sausage on a stick, anyone?), a rock-climbing wall, and other attractions. Proceeds benefit Hexter Elementaryl, which will use the funds to update the school’s literacy materials. Oct. 29.
Monsters of Film Music. Just in time for Halloween, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has a spooky evening of music all lined up. Dress in costume and come early for treats. Kids and their young-at-heart adults will recognize selections from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Monsters Inc., The Dark Knight, Ghostbusters, and more. Oct. 30.
Night of the Living Dead at the Dallas Children’s Theater. The only thing scarier than flesh-eating zombies are teenage flesh-eating zombies with rampant hormones and about eight hollow legs. George Romero’s black and white B-movie was adapted for the stage by Lori Allen Ohm, and this particular production is entirely student-run. Now, if you would be so kind as to fork over your brains, one of these kids has a hankering for a snack. Oct. 21-30.
Simply “Spook-Tacular” at Museum of Nature and Science. Boys and girls can don their Halloween costumes five days early for a morning of non-scary, educational fun. Kids can chant along with the story Go Away Big Green Monster by Jacqueline Kilmer and help keep the ghouls far, far away. Afterward, there’s crafts and treats. Oct. 26.
Totally Mad Scientist After Dark: Halloween Sleepover at the Museum of Nature and Science. Science is so much cooler in the dark. Kids and their parents can learn all about ghosts, goblins, and explosions during an all-night Halloween party. Compete in a costume contest, participate in a flashlight scavenger hunt in the shadowy exhibit halls, and perform an eyeball dissection. (Don’t worry, they’re not real.) Don’t forget your sleeping bag and toothbrush for a night at the museum. Oct. 28.
Dia de los Muertos at the Museum of Nature and Science. The Day of the Dead doesn’t mean a day for spooks. See dancers from the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico studio perform a traditional dance in celebration of loved ones who have passed away. Then drop in on a workshop from 3-4 p.m. and make your own candy skull. Oct. 28.
Trek or Treat at Watters Creek. The holidays often shape up to non-stop eating. We know. We’re not judging, and we’re just as guilty. But help yourself feel just a teeny bit better about it by getting in a jog before you cash in on the candy. Choose from a 5K or a one-mile fun run, and feel free to participate in costume if it won’t trip you up. After an awards ceremony, there’s a full day of family-friendly fun, including hay rides, a petting zoo and, of course, trick or treating. Oct. 29.
Dia de los Muertos at the Latino Cultural Center. The dead have gone green. Celebrate the lives of loved ones with a day of crafts–using recycled and found items only, of course. There will also be two special presentations of El Viaje de Tina by Cara MÃa Theatre Co., and you can also check out at an exhibit of calaveritas, or little skulls, that are synonymous with the Mexican holiday. Oct. 29.
Dia de los Muertos at Bishop Arts Foundation. We know the image usually associated with Dia de los Muertos is a spooky skeleton mask, but don’t confuse this Mexican holiday with Halloween as we know it. It’s less about angering your dentist and more about remembering and honoring family. The Bishop Arts Foundation is hosting its first-ever celebration complete with a traditional offering that kids and adults alike can decorate to remind them of deceased loved ones. There will also be a “graveyard” filled with altars created by local schools, live music, arts and crafts, and ballet folklÃ³rico performances. And of course, authentic Mexican food available for purchase, just in case your skeleton– er, stomach—gets hungry. Oct. 29.
Trick or Treating at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum. The thing we really liked about Halloween was that the candy was free (to us, anyway). Here, parents will have to fork over museum admission. But think about the experience: treat or treating in a safe environment while taking in the Cavanaugh’s incredibly cool collection of warbirds from both World Wars, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam. Can’t beat that. Oct. 30.
Carnival of Creativity Family Celebration at the Dallas Museum of Art. This day of family-friendly activities centers around the DMA’s African Headwear exhibit, a perfect connection to all sorts of non-scary Halloween festivities. Enjoy music from the Mariachis Rosas Divinas, see a Dia de los Muertos-inspired performance, and participate in a costume contest, museum tours, sketching in the galleries, and more. Oct. 30.
On Stage with Caravaggio: Family Festival at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth. In case you feel like you missed out on the 17th century, here’s your chance to revisit the Renaissance (in costume, should you so desire). Kids can enjoy artsy activities inspired by Baroque paintings, and there will also be a petting zoo and live music. Admission to the museum’s exhibits is free. Oct. 29.
‘Til Midnight at the Nasher. Last one ’til next summer. The band The Bright will entertain, and stick around for a screening of the original version of Tron. Oct. 28.
Aurora 2011. Find beauty in the strangest places around the Arts District. Installations, lights, and sounds will make a statement at this free public art event, where both emerging and established artists show off their work after dark. Oct. 28.
The Dark Arts (Scary Movies)
Hitchcocktober. For some people, Halloween is but one day a year. For us, it’s a holiday season unto itself. Apparently the good folks at the Angelika Film Center Dallas agree. Each Thursday in October, guests can watch spooky movies outside on the mezzanine. Some seating will be available, but you’re invited to bring your own lawn chairs or blankets. Oct. 27.
Night of the Living Dead. The Texas Theatre has come up with a super-rare 16 mm print of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. The cult classic features plenty of black-and-white gore as a group of unlucky people take refuge in a farm house to escape a bunch of hungry zombies. Can anyone say, “Happy Meals on legs?” Oct. 27.
Night of the Demons. No, not an episode of Most Eligible Dallas. Kevin Tenney’s 1988 filmÂ Night of the Demons became an instant Halloween ritual for horror junkies. Shot on 35mm film, it tells the story of a group of teens who decide to have a Halloween party at a funeral parlor and accidentally awaken a demon during a sÃ©ance. When the demon possesses one of the teens’ bodies, the nightmare begins. Kevin Tenney will be in attendance at the Texas Theatre and answer questions following the film. He’ll even sign some stuff, so bring your favorite disembodied hand. Oct. 29.
Zombie: Midnight Movie at the Inwood. A woman named Ann (Tisa Farrow) travels to an island in search of her missing father, accompanied by Peter West (Ian McCullough), a journalist eager for a story, When they arrive, the strangers encounter a doctor desperately searching for a cause and cure for a recent epidemic of the undead. The still-living try to make it off the island as flesh-eating zombies close in. Oct. 21-22.
Brains (Holiday-Themed Events)
A Samurai Nosferatu. What do you get when you cross a samurai with a vamp that makes Edward Cullen look like a Beanie Baby? Blood. Lots of it. Level Ground Arts’ artistic director, Bill Fountain, has penned a new-old tale of good vs. evil complete with giant swords, kabuki dancing, and silk aerial work.Â Oct. 21-29.
Tarot Card Dinners. Looking for something Halloween-y to do that doesn’t involve dressing up or shoveling fistfuls of candy corn in your mouth (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? Consider celebrating All Souls Eve with a sinfully delicious, five-course dinner at Hotel St. Germain, which will be decorated for the occasion. After you’ve supped, learn what your future holds with a candlelit tarot card reading in the hotel’s library. Oct. 27-29.
Halloween Devil Beer Dinner at The Libertine. Dracula did not drink beer. But if he did, we’re assuming “Halloween-themed devil beers” would be high up on his list of favorites. Come in costume, or not, and taste five beers paired with five different courses. Oct. 26.
Fall Block Party. While it might be tempting to spend Halloween mindlessly shoving candy into your face, pining for the days of youth, here’s a less self-destructive plan: head to One Arts Plaza for a day of cooking demonstrations, art exhibits, farmers market vendor booths, and live music. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, the fine folks at Screen Door have come up with bacon-flavored cotton candy. Eek. Oct. 30.
Zombies in the District. Heads up, walkers. Zombie shuffle yourself to the Arts District for Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” dance performed by Booker T. Washington students, then stick around for an outdoor screening of Night of the Living Dead, the cult favorite that started all this “starving for human flesh” stuff. Need help getting zombiefied? Check out the Dallas Theater Center’s web series that has tips for looking and acting your undead best. Oct. 30.
Graveyard Smash (Bars and Parties)
Ghostland Observatory at Palladium Ballroom. Technically, not a bar. But every year, Ghostland Observatory comes to town to celebrate the night of the spook, and it always turns into a giant fÃªte. Wear your costume, or you’ll feel left out–even the electro-dance duo on stage get dressed up. Oct. 29.
Terror at the Texas. Kick off Halloween week (that’s right, we said it) with a giant dance party backdropped by a bunch of psychotronic movie trailers. Costumes are encouraged. Come to dance, as DJs JukeboxMafia and Sir Scott Mack promise the “grittiest, greasiest, craziest, sickest and sleaziest 45s” the night of the spook has to offer. Oct. 21.
Dia de los Muertos at Prophet Bar. We have it on good authority that this Halloween bash is worth a stop, even if your dance card is nearly full. Latin rock band Mayta headlines a line up of other local acts. Oct. 29.
Halloween Party at the Nodding Donkey. Haunt Uptown in your most creative Halloween get-up, plus enjoy drink specials and Fishr Price spinning tunes all night long. It’s your almost-to-last chance to catch this talented local DJ before he heads to Vegas to compete as a finalist in the Red Bull Threestyle competition. Read Hunter Hauk’s interview with Price on FrontRow for a little more background on your entertainment. Oct. 29.
Halloween Party at the Ginger Man. Think your costume is killer? Take a shot at the grand prize and head out to The Ginger Man’s Halloween party where the Drop Top Rockets will play live from 8 p.m.-midnight. Oct. 29.
Something Strange featuring Ge-Ology. Strangeways (yeah, we get the reference) is fun on a regular night, so we’re basically tingling with anticipation for an all-out dance party two days before Halloween. JT Donaldson will spin the opening set, then Ge-Ology (I Love Vinyl / NYC / Great Weekend) takes over. The night is hosted by Barney’s New York concierge Gary Jackson, and all you zombies are encouraged to dress your weirdest. There will be a door prize for best costume. Oct. 29.
See many more Halloween nightlife options here.
For more Halloween events (we’ll be updating), go here.