With its abundance of haunted attractions, fright fests, and gentle trick-or-treating events, Oklahoma City is one of the Midwest's most Halloween-loving cities. Whether you're looking for adults-only thrills or you have kids in tow, there's something to get into just about every day from mid-September to the main event. However, many have been altered or canceled in 2020, so check the websites of organizers for updated information.
Each fall, the Myriad Botanical Gardens—a 17-acre exotic plant paradise boasting more than 1,000 species of flora from six continents in downtown OKC—opens a special section of the gardens dedicated entirely to pumpkins. More than 16,000 of them help to transform it into a New England-themed town with fall decorations, harvest-themed vendors, a carousel, kids' games, and crafts. Although Pumpkinville has been canceled in 2020, the Myriad Botanical Gardens will instead host The Great Pumpkin Patch, an exhibition of six large-scale mosaics scattered around the grounds, from October 16 to 25. In addition, there will be trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating, and cornstalk mazes on the Devon Lawn.
Oklahoma River Cruises offers a variety of different outings, from regular river tours to offshore cocktail parties, but its Haunt the River offering is especially unique. Departing from the Exchange Landing on the south bank of the Oklahoma River, this hour-and-a-half-long voyage across the river on a decorated boat includes Halloween-themed music, appetizers, and a cash bar. Dress up and enter the costume contest, wear shoes that are safe for a boat, and bring your ID for 21-and-over revelries. Haunt the River Cruises usually take place on Fridays and Saturdays in October, but in 2020, none are scheduled.
Haunted houses are a non-negotiable part of Halloween and Oklahoma City has several. The Sanctuary and the Guthrie Haunts ScareGrounds are among the best. Both feature setups that could rival some Hollywood movie sets, with state-of-the-art special effects and chilling costumes. Neither is suitable for small children. The Sanctuary will remain closed for the 2020 season while Guthrie Haunts ScareGrounds will be open every Friday and Saturday through October, plus Sunday, October 18.
Storybook Forest is an appealing event for younger children. Little ones will adore collecting candy from characters from their favorite fables and seeing charming storybook scenes. In addition, the event features storytelling, a campfire for sipping on hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows, a hayride, games, and other kids' activities. Storybook Forest is located in Arcadia Lake's Spring Creek Park in Edmond, about 15 miles north of Oklahoma City. In 2020, the event will be held from October 23 to 30 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with limited capacity.
The Oklahoma City Zoo will host its 37th annual Haunt the Zoo Halloween event almost every weekend of October 2020. It typically includes a candy-filled trick-or-treating trail, a ghost train, DJ-led dance parties, feedings, and animal encounters, a recipe for non-scary, family-friendly Halloween fun. In 2020, Haunt the Zoo will be contactless and socially distanced. It will be held every Saturday and Sunday from October 10 to November 1.
The neighborhood of Bricktown, just east of the Downtown Business District, goes all out for the annual Brick-or-Treat event held on the last Monday of October. On this festive evening, owners and employees dress up in costumes to serve kids 14 and under—only those dressed in a costume are able to participate in the candy giveaways. Also included is a pumpkin-painting station and appearances from mascots from local teams. Events are centralized around Mickey Mantle Plaza at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. In 2020, this event has been canceled.
On weekends in October, Six Flags' western-themed amusement park Frontier City turns into a monster factory as part of its annual Fright Fest celebration. Featuring costumed ghouls, entertaining saloon and gunfighter shows, a trick-or-treat trail for kids, Halloween dance parties, and a spooky haunted house for older visitors, Frontier City is a thrill for the whole family. In 2020, Six Flags Fright Fests have been replaced by more socially distant, alfresco HallowFests throughout the country. Frontier City's event will be held on weekends from October 2 through 31.
Drive about 35 miles to Shawnee from OKC for the annual Boo on Bell block party if you're looking for more family-friendly Halloween entertainment. Held along historic Bell Street, this annual tradition presented by Safe Events for Families (SEFF) in conjunction with Visit Shawnee offers carnival games, live music, storytelling, costume contests (for dogs too), a car show, trick-or-treating, food trucks, and more. In 2020, the event will be held from October 22 to 24.
Get Your Thrills at Mustang's Spooktacular
Mustang is a quiet suburb of Oklahoma City not often the center of attention save when the annual Spooktacular rolls around. This festive carnival features a petting zoo, train rides, food trucks, games, a maze, and more—all for free. Held at Wild Horse Park and organized by the city's Parks and Recreation Department, it includes a special area for little ones and on-site concessions for purchase. Events usually take place the last Saturday evening of the month, but in 2020, the event has been canceled.
Each October, the Oklahoma Railway Museum serves up child-friendly scares aboard the Halloween Train. On October 30 and 31, 2020, trains will depart several times a day from the historic Oakwood Depot on the Oklahoma Railway Museum grounds. The vintage cars are bedecked with Halloween decorations for this event and kids receive a complimentary candy bag upon boarding. Off the train, there will be mini golf and a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. In addition, 2020 marks the event's first ever costume contest.