Every October, haunted houses and other spooky attractions begin to pop up all over Indianapolis, meaning that there's no shortage of frightening things to do for all ages. If you're interested in more family-friendly holiday events, don't fret. There's plenty of options geared toward younger kids as well, such as Halloween at the Children's Museum or at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Many events have been scaled back or canceled in 2020. Check the official event webpage or social media for the most up-to-date information and any special guidelines.
Step back in time in a spooky experience based on Washington Irving's story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" during the Fall Festival at Conner Prairie. The highlight of the festival is the haunted hayride, where guests ride a wagon around the grounds and receive a terrifying visit from the Headless Horseman himself. There are also two corn mazes at Conner Prairie, a smaller one for younger kids and a larger one that's designed to scare. You can also listen to ghost stories, ride the attractions on the Midway, or sit back and watch a Sleepy Hollow marionette show.
The Fall Festival takes place every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening from October 1 through October 30, 2020. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are only valid for the day you choose. In addition, masks must be worn by all guests over 5 years old at all times.
Bring the family to the Children's Museum, the largest of its kind in the world, to celebrate Halloween during the Monster MASKarade every Friday and Saturday in October 2020. This special event takes place outside with all kinds of social-distance activities geared toward children, such as the Mummies in Motion dancy party, a Broom Ball tournament, a Monster Mash musical chairs game, and more.
Kids older than 2 years must wear a face mask and are encouraged to decorate it so it's part of their Halloween costume—there's even a competition for the best costume and a MASKarade parade for all attendees to join in. Depending on the time of your visit, breakfast or dinner is included with the ticket price.
Bring your little ones in their cutest Halloween costumes and spend the day having fun at the Indianapolis Zoo. Throughout October, the zoo grounds will also be decorated for the season, providing some great photo backdrops for your vacation album. Kids can enjoy the obstacle course, costume parade, rides, pumpkin rolling, and trick-or-treating. Plus, you won't want to miss a chance to ride the carousel backward or see the Elephant Pumpkin Smash.
ZooBoo is included with general admission and takes place every Wednesday to Sunday beginning on October 7 and lasting until November 1, 2020. Allergy-friendly snacks are available for kids who go trick-or-treating around the park, and parents can enjoy it too at a special adult trick-or-treating event on Fridays and Saturdays hosted by the Chicago-based brewery, Goose Island.
Get Scared at an Indianapolis Haunted House
If you're truly looking for a thrill this Halloween season, you and your family can head to one of several haunted houses around the Indianapolis area, such as Fright Manor and Haunted Acres. The city has many haunted attractions that will leave your blood-curdling, which include everything from traditional haunted houses, insane asylums, corn mazes, and much more. Most of them are open from late September up until Halloween or even the beginning of November. In 2020, many have special guidelines in place such as timed-entry advance tickets and mandatory use of face masks, so be sure to confirm details with the individual business.
Every year, the Eiteljorg Museum hosts an event that celebrates all things related to the Mexican holiday of Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. In 2020, the festival is taking place all online with a week-long itinerary of virtual activities, such as Folklorico dance performances, conversations with Mexican and Mexican-American artists, and the presentation of a typical altar, or ofrenda. The festival runs from October 28 to November 2, 2020. All of the events are free to virtually attend, but advance registration is necessary to do so.
All events and tours—both public and private—are canceled at Crown Hill Cemetery in 2020.
For something unique to do this Halloween, head to Crown Hill Cemetery, the third-largest in the U.S, for its Music of the Night concerts. Performed in the Gothic Chapel, the concerts feature an organist who portrays the Phantom of the Opera and accompanying superb vocalists. Music performed includes favorites from "The Phantom of the Opera" and popular television and movie theme songs.
Following the concert, the Skeletons in the Closet tour of the cemetery begins. The historical walking tour includes stories about some of the famous people buried at the cemetery—such as the infamous gangster John Dillinger—but is not a ghost tour. Tickets go quickly every year, so make sure to get yours early.
Other Halloween events hosted by the cemetery in October include the Tombstones & Fall Trees morning walking tour and Saturday evening Ghost Stories. Events take place on the last two weekends in October.