Halloween is lurking around the corner, promising another year of spooky good times and monstrous spending. The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual consumer spending survey projects Halloween spending could reach total sales of $7.4 billion this year, up from $6.9 billion last year.
According to the NRF survey, people spend the most on costumes, with candy, decorations and cards rounding out the list. Adult costume spending ($1.4 billion) is expected to top spending for children’s costumes ($1.1 billion) this year. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay attributes this year’s increase in celebrants to the holiday falling on a Friday.
In the Twin Cities, the Halloween season already kicked off in a big way, with 15,458 zombies attending the Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis Oct. 11, setting a Guinness World Record for the “largest gathering of people dressed as zombies.” Check out 2014 Zombie Pub Crawl for a ghoulish photo recap.
Below we’ve compiled a little something for everyone –- from allergy and gluten-free family fun to howling haunted houses and Día de los Muertos highlights. Weigh in on the festivities by taking our poll and sharing your favorite haunts and discoveries in the comment section. Also, make sure to check out twincitiesfrugalmom.com for Halloween restaurant freebies and deals!
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See: Pumpkins, caramel and more; Twin Cities fall fun if you’re strictly looking for fall ideas. If you know of upcoming seasonal/holiday events, spread the word by adding them to our calendar or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This year, the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) launched the Teal Pumpkin Project, a project that encourages households serving non-food treats to display a teal pumpkin for trick-or-treaters with allergies. In lieu of pumpkin painting, you can also download a poster to show your participation. Find allergy and gluten-free Halloween fun below, along with other family-friendly events.
1500 block of York Avenue, St. Paul | Dusk – 10 pm
The Halloween razzle-dazzle is back and bigger than ever on York Avenue, with five houses displaying lights every night on both sides of the street. Free.
1900 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis | Times vary
Youth Performance Company’s upbeat and humorous rendering of tales from 505 Transylvania Avenue are sure to please the little ones. The show is recommended for ages 7 and up; $ 5 – $15.
France Ave S & W 50th St., Minneapolis | 11 am – 1 pm
Enjoy a full day of family fun, including trick-or-treating at 10:30 am, followed by face painting, a cake walk, horse drawn trolley rides, pin the face on the pumpkin and more.
Como Lake, 1360 Lexington Parkway North, St. Paul | 9 am
Before digging into the sweets, try a festive holiday run! Now in its 6th year, the run also includes motivational theme music and a healthy post-race treats. Register here.
42nd Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis | 6 – 9 pm
This popular evening ride lasts 20 minutes, and features the talents of live actors. The event is fun and not-too-spooky, but may be too scary for very young children. No advance tickets or reservations necessary. $4 per person.
2204 Snelling Ave., Minneapolis | 1 – 4 pm
Fun City Dogs is throwing an open house and doggie costume bash! Festivites include family and pet portraits, themed grooming, free nail trimming and treats for dogs and kids!
42nd Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis | 12:30 – 4:30 pm
Kids are encouraged to dress up for this silly and fun ride, hosted by Count Karl the Vampire Motorman. The ride is about 15 minutes and no registration is required. $2 for kids 3 & under.
Wolfe Park, 3700 Monterey Drive, St. Louis Park | Pumpkin Drop Off: Oct. 24, 12:30 – 5:30 pm; Display: Oct. 24 & Oct. 25, 6 – 10 pm
Calling all pumpkin lovers! Turn your pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns and drop them off at the Rec Center. The carved pumpkins will be on display for two nights to light up the amphitheater at Wolfe Park, and then composted. Free; No registeration required. Go here for a $10 off coupon for a large pumpkin.
1225 Estabrook Drive, Saint Paul | 4:30 – 7:30 pm
Advertised as “a night without fright” for kids and families, this annual event features 200 live costumed characters that interact and entertain the kids, plus other surprises. $ 6 – 7
Nickelodeon Universe, Mall of America, Bloomington | 5 – 10 pm
Nickelodeon Universe’s Blackout is back and offering a night of glow-in-the-dark fun, plus costume contests, black light t-shirt making and more. Go here for tickets and prices.
Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul | 12 – 4 pm
Bring the family out for a night of spooky science! Enjoy a variety of hands-on Halloween-themed science activities for all ages; Kids 12 and under gain free entry into permanent exhibits with costumes.
2520 Dale St. N, in Roseville | 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Storytelling, goblins and ghosts, animals, nature programs and a colorful and educational Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) hayride, are just some of the fun festivities offered at Spook-tacular. This event is especially recommended for kids 10 years and younger. Children must be accompanied by an adult. $6 per person. Call 651-792-7110 to register.
13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley | 5 – 7 pm
The big HowlZooWeen event is full, but there are still plenty of educational programs, animals enjoying Halloween-themed treats, face painting, live musicians to enjoy.
Hidden Falls Regional Park, 1313 Hidden Falls Dr. St Paul | 7 pm
If you love puppetery and spectacle, you’ll Metamorphosoup, the 21st annual Halloween Extravaganza by Barebones Productions. This community-created event celebrates and honors the seasons and cycles of life through song, fire, stilting, drama, dance and of course, the magic of puppetry. Tickets: $10 – 20 suggested donation.
Landmark Center, Building Wide, 75 West Fifth St., St. Paul | 1pm
Landmark Center is hosting family friendly Halloween fun with live entertainment, crafts and a costume parade! Free.
4345 101st Avenue North Brooklyn Park | 7 – 9 pm
How about some Halloween fun on a 1900-style farmhouse? Enjoy a bonfire, toasted marshmellows, live music, stories, a barn dance and other activities, under the soft glow of kerosene lamp lighting. Admission: $6 adults, $4 for children 3-12.
Burnsville Center, 251 Civic Center Pkwy, Burnsville | 12 – 1:30 pm
Skate in the holiday at the Burnsville Center! Enjoy door prizes, free private lessons and trick-or-treating around the rink. Free admission; $3 skate rentals.
8400 France Avenue S., Bloomington | 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Bring your kids out for some gluten-free fun at the Celiac Center’s fourth annual pre-Halloween bash. Kids will enjoy worry-free treats, fun holiday arts and crafts, and a short Halloween play. Organizers ask that you RSVP with a quick email.
2140 W. 7th St., Saint Paul | 4 – 7 pm
Pearson Candy Company is hosting its annual pre-Halloween celebration, advertised as its biggest ever. This year’s festivities include trick-or-treating, games, magicians, a pumpkin-decorating station, a bounce house, a photo booth and more! Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase candy in bulk for a worthy cause: Pearson’s will donate $2 for every $1 spent to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Upper Midwest.
Mall of America (Rotunda), 7104 East Broadway, Bloomington |10 am – 12 pm
Take your toddlers to the Mall of America for a morning of spooky games, activities, and candy. Costumes encouraged! Free.
920 East Lake Street| 4 – 6 pm
Enjoy an afternoon of sweets at Midtown Global Market’s trick-or-treat event. Go up to any vendor with a pumpkin in the Market to get a Global treat!
Sears Court Mall of America, 60 E. Broadway, Bloomington | 5 – 8 pm
Enjoy an evening of non-food fun with activities and games, perfect for kids with allergies. The event is sponsored by Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAA).
Now that we’ve covered the family-friendly fun, scroll down for the frightful delight…if you dare!
Landmark Center, Building Wide, 75 West Fifth Street, Saint Paul | 6 pm
Infamous gangsters return to haunt the third annual gangster ghost tour. Reservations are required by calling 651-292-3063. $5 per person.
1420 S Washington Ave, Minneapolis | Times vary
The Twin Cities Horror Fest is back to haunt the Southern Theater stage. This year’s lineup of horror includes: Frankenstein by Dangerous Productions: RawRedMeat, Dance with the Devil by Erin Sheppard Presents, Doll Collection by Four Humors and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Dr. Jekyll by Ghoulish Delights, to name a few. See the full schedule here. Also check out the free late night series that runs throughout the fest.
42nd Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis | 10 pm
Learn “The Gravedigger’s Secrets” at this frightening 30 minute trolley ride for adults. Order tickets here. $5 per person.
1 Valleyfair Dr, Shakopee | Time vary
Experience the transformed grounds of Valley Fair with the unnerving mazes, creepy scare zone and live entertainment. $30.99 – $32+.
408 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis | Times vary
Taking place above the Gay 90s, Fear-gasm is a 20 minute haunted experience brought to you by the producers of the Zombie Pub Crawl. Tickets are $20 and include a shot of Tequila for your troubles.
215 Wabasha St. S., St Paul | Times vary
Take a deluxe motor coach ride and hear stories of haunted sites, graveyards and historic murders in St. Paul. The Cave & Graves is a two hour tour that includes ghost stories and a trip to the caves. The Ghost & Graves excludes the caves and lasts 1 ½ hours. Reservations are required. $20 – $25 per person.
514 2nd St SE, Minneapolis | Times vary
The Soap Factory’s haunted basement is back and boasts better production with “Unhinged,” an all-new show sure to creep you out. After your fearful experience, unwind at the Exile Lounge with live music and activities. $25 – $27 per person; $20 for Soap Factory Insiders. Buy tickets in advance as shows sell out quickly.
Fort Snelling, 200 Tower Ave, St Paul | 6 – 9 pm
A night of spooky intrigue awaits you at the Historic Fort Snelling’s murder mystery program. Be ready to visit crime scenes, talk with witnesses, examine evidence and team up with other sleuths to nab your suspect. $22 per person, $20 MNHS members. This is an ages 14+ event.
1444 Reaney Avenue, St. Paul | 5 – 11 pm
This year’s Butcher Shop is back and stocked with new corpses, gory effects, and other ghoulishness, sure to inspire a few nightmares! $7 per person (cash only).
1029 Hudson Road, St. Paul | 5pm – 11 pm
This hour tour guides you around the building to experience paranormal activity, along with two experienced paranormal investigators and a small group of up to 10 people. You’ll learn the history of the building and have the opportunity to ghost hunt yourself. $20 per person.
3258 Minnehaha Av. S., Minneapolis | Times vary
Throughout the month of October, Trylon Mirocinema has been offering campy, self-aware horror flicks that reference other movies. Bring a friend and enjoy the fun. $8 per person.
Oct. 24-26: “The Cabin in the Woods”
Oct. 31-Nov. 2: “Hausu”
13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley | 7 – 10 pm
The Minnesota Zoo invites you to a new 21+ Halloween party. The festivities include music, a strolling magician, creepy animal encounters and more! Dress up in costume to win exclusive prizes. $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
Select bars along Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis| 8 pm – 2 am
If you missed the Zombie Pub Crawl, you can still get your pub crawl fix along Hennepin Avenue Halloween night! Participating bars include: Uncle Buck’s, The Pour House, Jackson’s Hole, 508 Bar & Restaurant and The Depot. $10 per person. Buy tickets here.
2020 White Bear Avenue North, Minneapolis | 7 pm – 11 pm
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Haunted House is back with new theatrical scenes and ghoulish fun. Advertised as offering “twice the scare for half the price,” all of Fright Farm’s proceeds go towards funding community programs such as D.A.R.E. and Canine (K-9) programs. $10 per person.
The Secret of Gravethwait Manor, Oct. 31 – Nov. 1
Bryant-Lake Bowl, 801 W. Lake Street, Minneapolis | 7 pm
Who you gonna call? Ghost Grabbers! Troy and Kevin of Ghost Grabbers, LLC, get a call to investigate the spirits of Gravethwait Manor, and find a little more than they bargained for. Presented by Fearless Comedy.
$15 – $17; Buy tickets here.
Muse Event Center, 107 3rd Ave N, Minneapolis | 9 pm
Enjoy Halloween festivities, including dancing, puppets, drinks costumes and spooky shadows, for a worthy cause – all proceeds go towards In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre! This is a 21+ event.
$20; Find tickets here
Halloween @ Day Block Brewing, Oct. 31
1105 Washington Ave S., Minneapolis | 9 – 1 am
Celebrate Halloween with live local music and craft beer! The musiial lineup includes: Sarah Streitz (9 pm); Ryan Holweger (10 pm); and The Long Odds (11pm).
701 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis | 8 pm
Come in costume and be ready to party and win prizes. The event is hosted by Ian Rans, and features DJ FooLProoF, Mc Cloud (Forever Young), DJ Espada and Mike 2600, and others. $5 in advance; $10 day of; $15 at the door.
2601 Sunset Blvd., Minneapolis | 7:30 pm
Continue your Halloween celebrations at the fourth annual Phantasmagoria, presented by Rock the Cause Records, Schell’s Brewing and Saint Croix Vineyards. Dress in costume and enjoy haunted themed mansion and music by Johnny James and the Hall of Fames, Sammy Brown, War Poets and Fred Montana. Proceeds go towards furthering the cause of Rock the Cause 501(c)3, which aims to make the world a better place through music. $30 – $75. Buy tickets here.
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a traditional Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives and memory of the dearly departed. Read on for Dia de los Muertos events around the Twin Cities.
Interested in learning more about the Día de los Muertos holiday? See: Facts and Misconceptions About Mexican Día de Muertos.
2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, Gallery 110 | TBA
Minneapolis Institute of Art and Minnesota schools team up again for this award-winning collaboration that inspires students to explore the art and traditions of Mexico’s Day of the Dead, and create personal ofrendas or shrines to honor deceased loved ones. Selections of student ofrendas from each school will be on display from October 22 through November 24. Free.
920 E Lake St #G10, Minneapolis | 12:30 – 2 pm
Midtown Global Market invites you to celebrate Día de los Muertos with live music, a traditional Aztec dance performance by Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue, games, crafts and more. Free.
El Rio Vista Recreation Center, 179 Robie St E, Saint Paul | 1 – 9 pm
This community celebration features a full day of festivities, beginning with an opportunity to build an ofrenda (alter) in honor of a deceased love one, plus face painting and mask making, a procession through the neighborhood, a festival, arts & crafts and vendors, a free dinner, and piañata fun for kids. The evening concludes with a bonfire and sweets. Visit the Facebook page for updates and more details.
345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul | Noon – 4 pm
The Minnesota Science Museum’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration offers an afternoon of traditional Mexican games, music, folk dancing, puppet presentations by Teatro del Pueblo and more. While visiting, make sure to take in the exhibit by Mexican printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada entitled, “La Muerte Tiene Permiso” (Death Has a Permit) on view until Nov. 2. The exhibit is presented courtesy of the Consulate of Mexico, St. Paul, MN. $6 – 11; Free for kids 5 and under and MHS members.
Bedlam Theatre Lowertown, 213 E. 4th St, Saint Paul | 7 pm – 12 am
Sweet 317’s Día de los Muertos celebration offers an evening of works from artists and performers in the Lowertown arts district, plus live music, poetry, storytelling, face painting, dancing and food. The public is encouraged to wear a piece of clothing of a departed loved one, and bringing items to place on an ofrenda.
1224 Quincy Ave NE, Minneapolis | 7 – 9 pm
This will be Altered Esthetics 8th year commemorating Dia de los Muertos, and this year’s festivities begin at the Q.1 gallery, moving over to Logan Park at 8 pm. Revelers will enjoy cookies and other refreshments, face-painting and flower-making. The event is free and open to the public.
Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave S Minneapolis | 12 – 2 pm Workshop; 8 pm Concert
Tlalnepantla Arts and the Zenteotl Project present the 2nd Annual Festival de las Calaveras Day of the Dead, a daylong multimedia Latin music and arts festival. The evening includes a community dialogue and a family ofrenda workshop from 12 to 2 pm, and is capped off by a concert featuring guest artist BOCAFOLOJA at 8 pm. RSVP via Facebook.
175 Cesar Chavez St, Saint Paul | Family Day: Satuday, 12:30 – 3 pm; Sunday Dinner: 5 pm
El Burrito Mercardo’s celebration includes Family Day, Saturday, Nov. 1, with face painting, pan de muerto sampling, and an official ofrenda display. The festivities continue Sunday, Nov. 2, with a special dinner, music, sugar skull painting and more. Visit the Facebook page for more updates and details.
319 W 46th Street (46th & Grand), Minneapolis| 2 – 6 pm
ColorWheel Gallery is offering a fun afternoon of sweets treats and art making based on Mexican folk art. Also enjoy works from featured artists Tammy Ortegon, Gordon Coons, Eddie Ortegon, and Eileen Espinosa, and ColorWheel’s selection of art inspired by Latin America, Día de los Muertos and Frida Kahlo.
Updated 10/30/2014 3:15 p.m.
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.