Heading to Texas for Halloween gives you a great chance to find a fun event or scary setting for everyone. You'll find frightening and fun events at zoos, theme parks, and haunted houses that are sure to give both kids and adults a Texas-sized scare. For something really unusual, enjoy a haunting concert in a natural cave, and since Texas is so close to Mexico, you can join in on a traditional Day of the Dead celebration too.
In Mexico, the end of October begins a time-honored celebration known as “Day of the Dead.” Over time, the tradition has crept into the Mexican-influenced Texas border region. In fact, several towns across Texas now host their own version of the Day of the Dead celebration. One of the more unique events takes place in the historic South Texas seaport of Port Isabel.
Day of the Dead events run through November 2 in most Hispanic communities. In Port Isabel, you'll see fanciful skeletons placed in the highway medians and they'll be depicted as cycling, cooking on a bar-b-que, picnicking, fishing, and other surprising things. During the Day of the Dead celebration, there are street dances, food vendors, and a costume contest.
Held at Tablerock Amphitheater in Salado, the Fright Trail offers games, contests, and spooky tales for children. Adults can experience some of the "horror classics" (think Headless Horseman and Frankenstein), and everyone can expect the unexpected.
Take a trip 35 miles outside of Austin to a spooky 20-acre forest near Bastrop. This year-round scare park comes alive for Halloween in September and October, and the 18 buildings onsite include three haunted houses: Mansion of Terror, Lost Pines Zombie City, and Slaughter Circus. You'll also find music, a cafe and bar, merchandise, and movies.
Not for the faint of heart, each terrifying haunted house will provide you with at least 15 minutes of frightening experiences. You'll need to interact with this scary environment to find your way out. Children under 13 (if you think they can handle the thrills and scares) must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older.
Discount tickets are available online or at a higher price at the gate.
This annual event is always popular with kids and adults. Try to avoid the zombies and ghouls roaming the park, take some thrilling amusement park rides, and dare to enter the haunted houses. There are stage shows to entertain you and refreshments to keep you going from attraction to attraction. Be sure to come back after sundown when it's extra spooky and more ghouls are released and awaiting you in every dark corner of the park.
Here's something different: a night of performing arts in honor of Halloween. This annual family-friendly event features Victoria Symphony musicians and Victoria Ballet Theatre dancers. Come dressed in costume on October 24, 2019, and enjoy a family-friendly Halloween concert at the Victoria Fine Arts Center, about two hours southeast of San Antonio.
Statewide: Boo at the Zoo
At zoos across Texas, you'll find Halloween festivities that include candy, face painting, hayrides, carnival games, bounce houses, and haunted houses—all set within the zoo's unique environment.
- Fort Worth: Boo at the Zoo is included with regular admission from October 25 to 27. You can enjoy animal treat stations, carnival games, animal shows and more. It's a daytime event at the Fort Worth Zoo.
- Waco: At the Cameron Park Zoo, Halloween night brings Zoo Boo, an early evening event designed for children 2–12 years old. There will be Candy Stations spread throughout the Zoo, and themed exhibit areas spread throughout the park—and only a few are too scary for the little ones. Enjoy face painting, bounce houses, and plenty of fun games.
- Bryan: Aggieland Adventure Zoo and Safari Park holds Boo at the Zoo on October Saturdays. There will be special activities and costume contests.
- Houston: Zoo Boo invites kids to come to the zoo in costume toting their trick-or-treat bags. There is no separate ticket needed for the family-friendly event, which takes over the zoo Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from October 11 to October 27.
- Dallas: Halloweekend is the time to see creepy critters, have fun in the bounce house, go through the spider-themed hay maze, and hit the pumpkin patch. Adults can kick back at the beer garden. Entry is included with regular zoo admission for the event. Wear a costume to this Dallas Zoo event on October 26 and 27, but leave your mask at home.
The Houston Zombie Walk puts on an annual Houston Halloween Festival as a fundraiser. The festival is open to the public with a $10 donation and features entertainment and activities for the entire family including live music, food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, beer tents, a "fright zone," kids' costume contest, and more. There's something for all ages at this event, which takes place on October 19, 2019, in the 200-300 blocks of 19th Street.
At the Arneson Theater on San Antonio's River Walk, this party for those 18 and over will have live music, dancing, an adult costume contest, a haunted river parade floating by, and trick or treating to round out a not-too-spooky night of fun on October 25. The event and costume contests are free. Food truck fare and adult beverages will be available for purchase.
There is also a family-friendly Halloween event at the Shops at Rivercenter. The family party also has music, family and kid's costume contests, and the opportunity to go trick-or-treating along the Riverwalk. The spooky river parade, running from 8 to 9 p.m., can be seen from both events.
Held out at the North Texas Fairgrounds on Halloween, this festival provides fun for all ages just outside of Dallas. Halloween Fest features costume contests, a Halloween Drag Show, Halloween games for all ages, and plenty of food and beverages. If you don't win a cash prize for your costume, you might win a prize in one of the raffles. The event runs from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Head to downtown New Braunfels on October 26 for a Dia de Los Muertos Festival celebrating the holiday and Hispanic culture. This family-friendly community event just outside of San Antonio features kids activities, live entertainment, food trucks, arts and crafts booths, face painters, an ofrenda (traditional altar), shopping specials, contests, and more. Enjoy the vibrant scene with mariachis and Day of the Dead-costumed participants.
Located on the Scarborough Faire Site outside of Dallas, this seasonal theme park offers five full haunted houses, "scaryoke," a food court, and a tavern open on selected Friday and Saturday nights in September and October. There's live entertainment, games of skill, and you can even have your fortune read. No costumes permitted at this event, which is only for attendees 16 and older. Tickets are available online and at the ticket office.
On Halloween evening, take the family to Main Street in Temple, south of Waco, where vendors line the streets selling arts and crafts and food. Look for fun free activities for the kids such as ring toss and face painting. This is a safe, fun community Halloween event where you can wear your costume and indulge in some treats.
The family can all enjoy Halloween evening during the Boo Bash in Sealy, where there will be music, balloons, face painting, food and drink, contests, games, and plenty of treats. The little ones can go on a train ride and interact with mellow ghosts and goblins. Wear your costume to this one, and enjoy the holiday in this charming little town west of Houston.
The Haunted Show on October 26 at the Cave Without a Name features haunting music played inside the cave with the formations as a backdrop. Enjoy a family-friendly evening loaded with fun and surprises. Costumes are welcome at this event, which features a range of music from classical to jazz.
Cave Without a Name is a natural, living cavern with amazing formations of stalactites, stalagmites, and cave drapery. North of San Antonio, it's in the Throne Room where the beauty and natural acoustics enhances musical performances and lends a mystical feel to the Haunted Show each year.