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Halloween Happenings


Halloween is a favorite holiday among American children and adults alike. With a plethora of costumes and candy, it’s no wonder it has become a multibillion-dollar industry in the United States. The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend $77.52 per person on costumes and candy, 46.2 percent will decorate, and 45.8 percent of Americans will dress up.

Last year’s most popular costumes for children included princesses, animals, characters from Frozen, Spider-Man and other superheroes. Adults opted for classics like witches, animals, pirates, zombies and Batman.

If you’re wondering how this all started, many believe it began 2,000 years ago in what is now Ireland, with the annual Celtic celebration of Samhain, a festival to ward off ghosts, which were thought to roam the Earth during the transition from summer to winter. When Irish immigrants came to America during the potato famine of 1846, they brought the tradition with them, according to the History Channel. By the early 1900s, the holiday had become secularized and began to resemble what is known today as Halloween.

From parades to haunted houses, here is a selection of Halloween events for families or just for teens and adults.


The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place

Through Nov. 2

Join the Count and other friends as Sesame Place turns into a Halloween spectacular, featuring a parade, a Halloween musical starring Elmo, a hayride, a maze and plenty more.

100 Sesame Road, Langhorne. Visit www.sesameplace.com.

Boo at the Zoo

Oct. 17-18, 24-25

Children and adults can wear their Halloween costumes to the zoo and enjoy hot apple cider or special “Witch’s Brew.” They can even go trick-or-treating. There will also be a Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt, with zoo animals as scarecrows. Activities are included in zoo admission.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. 3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia. Visit www.philadelphiazoo.org.

Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland

Oct. 17-18, 24-25, 31 and Nov. 1

Enjoy some of the last days of theme-park fun before winter at Dutch Wonderland. There will be over 30 themed rides and attractions, a trick-or-treat trail, entertainment and more. Guests can wear costumes to add to the fun.

2249 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster. Visit www.dutchwonderland.com.

Delaware County Halloween Parade

Oct. 24

Take part in the 51st annual Delaware County Halloween Parade in downtown Media.

Visit www.visitmediapa.com.

Halloween Extravaganza in Media

Oct. 24

Spend the early afternoon playing games and enjoying food. Children who dress up can compete for the best costume in the age categories of 0-5 and 6-10.

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 301 N. Jackson St., Media. Visit www.mediaborough.com.

Halloween Parade in Phoenixville

Oct. 24

Everybody can participate in this parade. Register at the Phoenixville Recreation Department.

123 Main St., Phoenixville. Visit www.phoenixville.org.

The Witches of Narberth

Oct. 24

Children can take to the streets in search of 13 witches around town in this free scavenger hunt. Prizes will be awarded. Costumes are optional.

1-4 p.m. Forrest and Haverford avenues, Narberth. Visit www.narberthonline.com.

Costume Parade at Linvilla Orchards

Oct. 25

Dress up your kids in their favorite or most creative costumes for this parade. Prizes are awarded to the top three costumes in each of the various categories, which range from under 1 year old to groups and families.

137 W. Knowlton Road, Media. Visit www.linvilla.com or call (610) 876-7116.

Halloween Parade and Trick or Treat in Chestnut Hill

Oct. 25

Chestnut Hill will again host its annual Halloween Parade for children. Come in costume, and stay afterward to trick-or-treat at select stores in the area.

Highland Avenue, Philadelphia. Visit www.chestnuthillpa.com.

West Chester Halloween Parade

Oct. 28

The borough of West Chester is hosting a Halloween parade, complete with marching band, cheerleader and dance team performances from local schools.  

7 p.m. Visit www.pa-westchester.civicplus.com

Narberth Halloween Parade

Oct. 30

Bring the kids dressed in their costumes for an extra night of Halloween revelry. The parade begins at St. Margaret’s and ends at Narberth Park. Children will receive goody bags and cider.

227 N. Narberth Ave., Narberth. Visit www.narberthfourthofjuly.com.

Trick or Treat at Wayne Art Center

Oct. 31

Head to the Wayne Art Center for a little extra trick-or-treating. Dress in costume and wander the studios for different treats, including hot apple cider and donuts. 

10 a.m.-1 p.m. 413 Maplewood Ave., Wayne. Visit www.wayneart.org

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Oct. 31

Old clay-animation favorites Wallace and Gromit hunt pests that are destroying the veggies for the Giant Vegetable Competition, albeit humanely. Spend the evening watching this family-friendly film at International House Philadelphia, and find out if the duo is successful in saving the day.

$5. 3701 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Visit www.ihousephilly.org.


The following attractions and events are not recommended for children and may have age restrictions.

Fright Factory

Select dates, Oct. 1-31

Wander the enormous 25,000-square-foot haunted factory that’s over a century old. Actors and props will add to the reality of the horror.

$13-$34. 2200 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia. Visit www.frightfactory.tv.

Ghost Ship Terror Cruise

Oct. 2-3, 9, 16-17, 23, 30

Listen to a variety of ghost stories from the likes of Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, as well as local lore about the Jersey Devil, while sipping on fall lagers.

Must be 21; ages 17-20 with parental supervision. $49.99. Penn’s Landing, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia. Visit www.grimphilly.com.

Ghost Tour of the Olympia

Weekends, Oct. 2-Nov. 1

Take a haunted tour of the oldest steel warship, the Olympia, which was first launched in 1892 and was used in the Spanish-American War. Hear ghost stories and paranormal activity around all three decks, the captain’s cabins, the galley and more.

Must be 12 and up. $19. Penn’s Landing, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia. Visit www.ghosttour.net.

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

Select dates, Oct. 2-Nov. 1

Looking for a truly frightening Halloween? Then you want a haunted house inside a prison and its 11-acre grounds. The 25-year tradition of Terror Behind the Walls is one of the top haunted attractions in the country. Discover what’s lurking in the shadows with an interactive experience and become part of the show, or simply take it all in.

$19-$45. 2027 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia. Visit www.easternstate.org.

Pennhurst Asylum

Select dates through Nov. 1

Meander the halls of an old haunted asylum that features animatronics, actors and scary props, or stroll through a labyrinth of old cells. There are also underground catacombs and a ghost hunt.

From $16. Church and Bridge streets, Spring City. Visit www.pennhurstasylum.com.

Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park

Select days through Nov. 11

This fall, Dorney Park turns from an amusement park into a haunted landscape, with “CornStalkers” wandering around. Check out the Chamber of Horror Wax Museum, Cut Throat Island and the Asylum, just to name a few, for a frightfully fun time.

3830 Dorney Park Road, Allentown. Visit www.dorneypark.com.

HorrorFest at Shady Brook Farm

Weekends through Oct. 30

Join in the four attractions at Shady Brook this year, including the Hayride of Horror and the Alien 3-D Encounter. The farm also features a field of carnage, full of blood and dismembered limbs. Those who need a break can enjoy entertainment and bonfires.

$20-$50. 931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley. Visit www.shadybrookfarm.com.

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