Between the dressing up in costumes and the free candy, Halloween seems to bring out the fun-loving kid in everyone. For many people, however, Halloween isn't really Halloween without getting good and scared, and you'll have plenty of ways to do that when you spend part of October in Salt Lake City. In addition to the haunted houses, families will find plenty of kid-appropriate fall fun at the many pumpkin farms and other special children's events that happen around Halloween.
Many haunted houses and Halloween activities have special guidelines in place for 2020, including advance ticket reservations and mandatory use of face masks. Confirm guest policies with individual businesses before you arrive.
Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus
With big top horrors and haunted trailers, the Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus will shock visitors with the story of a devilish ringleader and his fearsome clowns at this circus-themed haunted house. If you make it through with your wits intact, you can accompany the thrills by buying a ticket to Eskaped, the on-property escape room. The Haunted Circus is open on weekends beginning September 11, 2020, and is then open every day of the week except Sunday beginning October 8 all the way through Halloween.
The Fear Factory is located in an abandoned cement factory, rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of workers who died in unfortunate accidents when the factory was in operation. The extremely creepy haunt includes underground tunnels, catwalks, twisty slides that are several stories high, and more. If the ghosts aren't scary enough, you can get your thrills on the zipline, tower jump, and virtual reality experiences. The Fear Factory is open from September 18, 2020, all the way up until Friday, November 13.
Nightmare on 13th
Nightmare on 13th is Utah's largest and most technical haunted house. Each year, the attractions get bigger and better with multiple themed rooms to keep you engaged. From the classic scary clown troupe to the Viking underworld, these haunted houses are extremely creepy and not intended for young children. Nightmare on 13th opens for the 2020 seasons beginning on September 11 and closes on November 13, and advance tickets with reserved timeslots are required to enter. A limited number of tickets for each time slot mean more space and less waiting, but tickets are likely to sell out so buy them early, especially as Halloween gets closer.
The Haunted Forest
What's scarier than the enclosed space of a haunted house? What about the uncertainty of a dark open forest? The Haunted Forest in American Fork—about 35 minutes south of Salt Lake City—is a longtime favorite haunted attraction in Utah, where visitors walk through a real forest with scary surprises. Because it's an outdoor event with extra-wide walkways compared to indoor haunted houses, it's an ideal Halloween experience considering health guidelines in place for 2020. The Haunted Forest is open from September 11 until October 31, 2020,
Frightmares at Lagoon
At Lagoon, an amusement park located about 15 minutes north of Salt Lake City by car, every Halloween brings the return of Frightmares at Lagoon. This seasonal event includes seances, trick-or-treating, haunted houses, and Halloween shows, so there's something for visitors of all ages whether you're looking for harmless fun or bone-chilling thrills. Plus, all of the rides at the amusement park are also available to enjoy. Frightmares at Lagoon begins on September 11, 2020, and the park is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until November 1.
Fall Festival at Hee Haw Farms
For more traditional Halloween fun, you can't go wrong with the Fall Festival at Hee Haw Farms, which lasts from September 14 to October 31, 2020. With something for kids of all ages, families can go pumpkin-picking, take a hayride, get on a pony, get lost in a corn maze, and more. One of the signature fall events is the Annual Giant Pumpkin Drop, when monstrously big pumpkins are lifted with cranes and dropped from above, scheduled for October 24, 2020. On Halloween Day, spend the afternoon at the farm with special holiday activities such as trick-or-treating, pumpkin painting, and more.
Pumpkin Days at Wheeler Farm
At Wheeler Farm, Halloween means the return of Pumpkin Days. Perfect for families with small children, this is a great place to pick your pumpkin and enjoy some fall fun with wagon rides and cow trains. You also won't want to miss out on the five-foot-high hay maze! Pumpkin Days starts on September 25, 2020, and runs daily all the way up until Halloween. Every Tuesday there's a $2 discount off the general admission price, making it an extra sweet deal for this seasonal Salt Lake classic.
Cornbelly's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Fest
Cornbelly's is a pumpkin patch with weekly Trick-or-Treat Parades and Halloween-night celebrations. With candy cannons, pig races, costumed characters, and terrifying haunted houses at Insanity Point, there's tons of fun to be had at Cornbelly's. After the Grand Opening on September 25, 2020, the park is open daily up until Halloween night, except Sundays. To close out the festive season, visit on October 31 and take part in the annual Pumpkin Smash, where pumpkins will be hammered, bowled, dropped, and even launched from a cannon.
Salt Lake Ghost Tours
Guided by a professional storyteller, these chilling bus or walking tours take visitors through the various haunts around Salt Lake City and nearby Ogden. With different types of tours that will take you through the local cemetery or down historic Whiskey Street, you'll be entertained with ghost stories and can also learn a little history about Salt Lake City and the early days of this frontier land. Tours are available year-round with Story Tours, but October is the most popular month and reservations fill up quickly.
Heber Valley Railroad Pumpkin Train
On the Heber Valley Pumpkin Train, families will love the costumed characters and pumpkin cookies while enjoying a scenic fall train ride. Your ticket even includes a pumpkin to take home! Before getting on the train, you can take a walk through the (family-friendly) haunted carriage for some light Halloween scares. The Pumpkin Train first embarks on October 1, 2020, and runs on select days throughout the month until October 30.
The Haunted Half
The Haunted Half is an annual race that celebrates the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos in Salt Lake City. Participants can choose to run a half-marathon, 5K, or a kid's run on October 24, 2020, and dressing up is encouraged for all racers. After reaching the finish line at Rotary Glen Park, take part in the festival area with the whole family for typical Day of the Dead fun, including face painting, a costume contest, and delicious snacks. In 2020, participants will also have the option to race virtually, where they can run from anywhere and then upload their time.
BooLights at the Hogle Zoo
Why not combine some trick-or-treating fun with a trip to the zoo? At Hogle Zoo, BooLights is the perfect event for kids 12 and younger—or anyone who enjoys seeing holiday lights. They can come in costume, trick-or-treat at the candy booths throughout the zoo grounds, ride the night train, walk through the bat cave, and more on most evenings throughout the month of October. Since the focus of this nighttime event is the lights, most of the animals are asleep and not available to see.
Garden After Dark
Garden After Dark is canceled in 2020.
At the University of Utah's Red Butte Garden, kids can learn a lot about plants and nocturnal animals at the Halloween-themed Garden After Dark event. With dance performances, light displays, and storytime sessions, this is a fun event not to be missed.